Often times, in this age of information overload, it’s very easy to get swept away. This blog says paleo, that trainer says carb cycling, Dr. Oz says buy this pill. The biggest problem often becomes that we make it out to be much harder than it actually needs to be!
Not to say that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t require some hard work and discipline, because it most certainly does. But so often, all that information becomes so jumbled and confusing that we start to believe that it’s really complicated and hard. We start to believe that the simple things, like eating slower or getting a little more sleep, are too easy to really make a difference. This is simply not true!
So I decided to put together 10 easy ways to eat better:
1. Use smaller plate and bowls
It’s been shown that we naturally eat less when using smaller plates and bowls, even if people have practice with portion control! For more on this, check out this interesting TED talk called mindless ways to eat more mindfully, which is what inspired this blog in the first place. 🙂
2. Use your “built in portion control”
If you don’t already have smaller plates, that can be quite an investment. However, you do have your hands! When filling up your plate, use your hand as an easy way to start building your awareness of portion sizes. (And this works for everybody because it is in proportion to your hand!)
Protein – Palm of your hand
Carbohydrates – Fist
Fat – thumb
3. Put healthy foods in front and in view.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping some treats in the house, but I’m sure we’re all aware of the dangers of the cookie jar. 😀 If sweets are sitting out or the first thing you see when you look in your pantry, it makes sense that you will naturally reach for them more often. Arrange your pantry and fridge so that your healthier food is in the front and easier to get to. If you have food sitting out, make it a pretty fruit bowl instead of a cookie jar. 😉
4. Slow down
Sometimes we get so amped up about food that we scarf it down in 30 seconds and then wonder why we want more.
In the video I linked to in #1, the speaker talks about how they asked Europeans and Americans how they know when to stop eating. Europeans said when they are not hungry anymore. Americans said when the food is gone. :-/ This is a problem.
It takes time for your body to actually “process” the food coming in and send the signal that it has enough for now. Slow down and try to make each meal last at least 15-20 minutes. Set your fork down in between bites. Chew a little extra. Savor the moment. 😉 This might sound too easy, but it can be a powerful practice! All we’re really doing is tapping back into our natural hunger and appetite regulation system, but when you think about it, what an easy way to lose weight while also enhancing your eating experience!
5. Prepare veggies ahead of time
I could eat fruit all day long, but veggies are one of the hardest things for me to consistently get enough of in my diet. The hardest part about veggies and salads is the just the prep, if ya ask me! Either buy them pre-cut or set aside 30 minutes to cut up your favorite veggies or throw together a big salad that you can eat off of for the next few days.
6. Always keep some frozen meat and produce on hand
It can be hard to figure out the right amount of fresh produce so that you use everything up before it goes bad, so I always like to have a stash of frozen varieties as a back up. Frozen fruits are great for shakes, frozen veggies are an easy side dish, and frozen meat can be thrown in the crockpot for an easy dinner! Which leads me to my next point….
7. Use your crockpot!!
Crockpots make it super easy to throw together a healthy dinner (plus leftovers!) for those who lack cooking experience or time….or energy…or money! Ha! 🙂 They are also a great willpower hack for those who struggle with preparing healthy dinners, whether it’s because you’re just too tired at the end of the day or by the time dinner rolls around you crave something a little less ideal. The crockpot takes care of that.
8. Keep a running grocery list on your phone
I love doing this because this allows me to keep up with my list and put things in order as I add them. This saves me extra trips to the store and time at the store because I already have my list organized according to how I go through the store.
9. Protein powder
Protein is another component that is sorely lacking from the typical American diet. While it’s good to aim to get the majority of what you eat from whole food sources, protein powder is a safe and very convenient way to get more protein into your diet. If you’re not a meat-lover, it also offers the added bonus of a lot more variety – everything from shakes, pancakes, breads, and desserts. There is protein version of just about everything nowadays! For those interested, Protein Pow is a great resource.
10. Find a community of support
The ideal situation would be to get the people you live with on board! It’s amazing how often it works out that when one is feeling weak, the other is feeling strong and is able to encourage their partner. It’s just so much easier and more enjoyable when everybody is going through it together and working toward the same goal.
Bonus. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night
I’m always amazed when people roll their eyes at me when I mention getting enough sleep. I mean, what kind of culture do we live in where people get upset at being told to rest and sleep more?! Ha ha! Honestly, I think it’s more because we don’t believe that it could be that easy. But let’s just say, your body needs sleep and getting enough of it can make all the difference in getting and staying lean.
**Sometimes you can do all the harder things right, but if you’re not doing these simpler things, you won’t see results. They may seem inconsequential, but the small things when done consistently really do start to add up. You are not the sum of your intentions, but your actions. What you do most consistently is what will show.