I've talked about what to stop doing in a previous post. The goal of this was to get you to be aware of less desirable habits in order to cut calories from your diet and begin thinking about healthier choices. But just to recap, the top 3 were:
- Stop drinking fruit juices and soft drinks
- Stop eating processed carbs and sugar
- Stop eating fried oily foods with unhealthy oils
Now as important as that is, and as hard as it is, it's time to begin substituting good habits. You can (and should) do both concurrently. Let's explore what we should start doing.
1. drink more water
This is practically a no brainer. Drinking lots of water has many health related benefits such as weight loss, waste removal and general wellbeing. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate should become your new mantra. According to recommendations, a normal adult should consume about 2 litres of water per day. Although the science behind that is a bit sketchy. What is important that you consume enough to never feel thirsty. If you are planning heavy exercise or it's really hot outside, you should consume more. Before and during a workout it's especially important as being dehydrated can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue and make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally. And it's tough enough as it is. So drink more water.
2. eat more whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables
As you cut out the bad, you need to substitute the good. So instead of white bread choose whole grain. Instead of white rice, choose brown rice or other grains like quinoa. (actually I posted an awesome recipe for southwestern style quinoa). This list is endless, the rule of thumb is substitute processed carbs for whole carbs. Remember your body does need some carbs for a normal homeostatic state. A low carb diet seems to work best. Eating some fruits and lots of vegetables will add tons of dietary fiber to your diet and are essential for good health. Fiber is incredibly good for you as it helps regulate your digestive system, keeps you full longer, and has been linked to certain types of disease control. So add as many vegetables to your diet as you can eat. As a guide, your plate should be 1/2 vegetable, 1/4 complex carb and 1/4 protein.
3. Eat healthy oils
With the many types of oils available at your average supermarket, it can be a bit confusing. What you want to do is avoid any sort of Omega 6 containing oils. And that's most of them. The best oils to consume are coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and butter fat. Use these for cooking at home. The hardest thing to do is avoid deep fried foods when eating out. The best thing you can do is minimize the amount you eat. Never, ever upsize and exercise strict portion and consumption control. I always try to have a salad with dressing on the side first, as it tends to start to fill you up so you are not tempted to eat so much fried food.
The journey to health is exactly that. A journey. You need to make changes. If you follow the advice of what to stop and what to start you are already on the way.
I have lots more content to come exploring food, fitness and health. I hope you join me. As always like, comment or share. We can do this together.