Exercise is certainly an important component of any fitness regimen, but it is largely overshadowed by diet. If you eat a thousand calorie surplus every day, chances are you will gain weight regardless of how much you work out.
This is why the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” rings so true. Your daily dietary choices strongly impact how likely you are to achieve your fitness goals. So where do you begin? You begin with simple adjustments and simple foods. Don’t put all of your faith into a “miracle” product. You’re far more likely to succeed if you stick with these basics.
When the original food pyramid was “constructed”, it was bottom-heavy on grains. Yet now modern nutritionists are arguing that such overconsumption of grains has led America into a world of obesity and other health problems. The devil is in the details, however, as there is a tremendous distinction between “grains” and “whole grains”.
Your white flour bagel, for example, contains a frightening amount of simple carbohydrates (that spike your blood sugar and trigger your body to store fat) and not much else. Whole grains, on the other hand, are a wonderful thing. They contain high amounts of protein and fiber, which in turn help keep you feeling full and lower your cholesterol. Replace white flour products with whole grains and you are almost guaranteed to lose weight.
The average American eats red meat three times a week in various forms. Often times, individuals think that the healthiest choice would be to replace beef with chicken or turkey, but there is a far better option out there. Fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are all high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help you lose weight. Fish also has considerably more flavor than turkey and chicken, and can be an interesting change of pace that helps fight diet boredom.
Dairy products, particularly milk, have been victimized as of late for their high fat contents. Yet research seems to indicate that whatever fat they may contain is actually offset by how much protein and calcium they have (which help individuals lose as much as 20% more weight).
Drink skim or 1% milk if at all possible, and you’ll reap all of the benefits of dairy without adding too much saturated fat to your diet. Low fat or non-fat yogurt is yet another great source of protein and calcium that also helps regulate your digestive system. Try the Greek kind for double the protein and half of the sugars.
Believe it or not, drinking water can actually help you lose as much as a pound or two a week. Individuals who had previously drank large amounts of soda or other sugary drinks lost significant amounts of weight when they began drinking water instead.
It will also ensure that you are always properly hydrated, which is crucial for your body to efficiently shed toxins and fat. Going from soda to water may be a drastic change at first, but your sweet tooth will inevitably adjust after a few weeks.