Some of the most common resolutions are to lose weight, eat better, and get in shape. If you’re ready to make some changes, visit the blog over the next month to follow the 4 Week Jump Start to a healthier lifestyle.
It’s amazing how small changes like cutting the junk out of our diet, going for a daily walk, and getting to bed on time creates an almost immediate improvement in our energy level and wellbeing.
So let’s get started right away: you are what you eat. In week one, let’s talk about the number one focus for a healthy diet, three mindsets that need to change, and five habits to implement this week.
FitNow Jump Start Week 1: Eat Whole, Natural Food
Although there is a ton of conflicting diet advice in this world, most meal plans contain common themes.
One of the main commonalities: eat more natural plant-based foods and less processed foods.
There may be logical, scientific arguments both for and against eating animal protein, but it’s hard to find someone who argues vegetables are unhealthy.
Foods to Eat
- Fruits: A variety of fruits from different colors and families. Because fruit contains sugar, 2-4 servings per day are recommended and whole fruits are preferable to juices because they contain fiber.
- Vegetables: A variety of vegetables from different colors and families. Eat starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn in moderation and include dark green, and leafy vegetables daily.
- Protein: Organic fish and meats, eggs, and dairy – all in moderation. Include a variety of protein from vegetable sources such as beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds
- Whole grains: barley, bulgar, brown rice, millet, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat
- Beans and Legumes: beans (black, pinto, kidney, cannellini), garbanzo beans/chickpeas, black eyed peas, peas, lentils
- Nuts and Seeds: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
- Fats and Oils: avocado, olives, flaxseed, grapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil
Always read the ingredient label. Just because a food comes in a package doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy, but a frequent rule of thumb is five ingredients or less, all of which you can recognize and pronounce.
If you pick up a package from the frozen food section and the ingredients include: “Broccoli”….then you are in good shape.
But if the ingredients list broccoli and 20 other unpronounceable ingredients including “…Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Whey Protein Concentrate, Corn Syrup Solids, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Alginate, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Xanthan Gum…” then put it back!
Try to limit or altogether avoid
- Processed foods
- Fried foods and any trans fat
- Baked goods and products made with white flour
- Sugar and sweeteners
3 Mindset Shifts to Eat Healthy For a Lifetime
- Foster eating habits that are an ongoing and indefinite lifestyle, not a temporary diet. Perfection isn’t possible, but an overall healthy lifestyle is.
- Focus on choosing healthy, nutritious foods – the quality of your food, rather than obsessively counting calories or grams of carbohydrates or following the latest fad advice.
- Food is fuel. Let go of emotional bonds and associations to food that elevate it to reward, stress relief, or enemy. Talk to a professional if food and body image issues are an ongoing struggle.
5 Action Steps to Take this Week
- Drink plenty of water every day. 64 to 96 ounces, or half your body weight. What feels like hunger is sometimes dehydration. Water helps fill you up, and even mild dehydration has a negative physical and mental effect.
- Have a plan. Plan your meals for this week using this Weekly Fitness and Meal Planner. Make a standard grocery list, go shopping, and prep your food (i.e. wash and cut fruits and vegetables so they’re ready for snacks or a salad).
- Write down everything you eat. You can use this All in One Daily Planner to track your water, sleep, and what you eat. Research shows the simple act of writing down what you eat is enough to improve your habits, although you may find it helpful to include more nutritional information until you’re knowledgeable about the content of what you’re eating.
- Include 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. Vegetables contain vitamins, fiber, phytochemicals and are essential to remaking your diet. Try eating a big salad or portion of vegetable soup each day and visit sites like Fruits and Veggies More Matters for recipes and ideas.
- Include a variety of protein sources throughout the day. Remember that protein does not always mean animal products! You’ll benefit from including a variety of plant-based proteins from beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. Protein is an essential building block in your body. You don’t need to overdo it, but make sure you’re getting enough; 0.8-1 gram/kg body weight is recommended.
Which of these steps sounds the easiest to implement, and which is the most challenging? Please share in the comments below!
This post was featured on the Wellness Wednesday LinkUp.