It’s that time of year when dieting and the bars, powders, and more that come along with it are in the spotlight. Engaging in these diets, which may or may not bring the results you’re looking for, takes a bit of learning and always leave you feeling like a tourist in your own “eating world” until it becomes natural to you.
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How about avoiding these diets altogether this year and just focusing on personal goals? After all, you know what you want to achieve, so why not set simple, strategic goals to get you there? Here’s what that might look like if your goal is to….
Eat fewer carbs.
Begin by understanding that consuming no carbs is very challenging. Consuming fewer carbs, however, is not. Start by eliminating the “extras” like the bread basket and unsatisfying snacks. Then minimize portions by using measuring cups to know just how much you’re eating. Aim for nutrient-rich carbohydrates that are high in fiber or protein so that you are choosing the right carbs instead of no carbs.
Fast or at least eat less.
Fasting or going many hours between meals is a popular weight-loss strategy. Adjusting to this way of eating takes a bit of time and may be difficult depending on your schedule. It also may not be safe for individuals that take daily medications, are at risk of dehydration, or have other personal considerations. Before going long periods without food, begin by significantly decreasing your intake but eating on a regular schedule.
Boost antioxidant intake.
Shakes and supplements tout their antioxidant power. While these artificial nutrient sources will benefit your body, so will colorful fruits and vegetables (the way nature intended!). Not only are the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables easy for your body to absorb, they come along with beneficial, filling fiber and can be enjoyed in a variety of convenient ways, just like those bars and shakes.
Consume more vegetable-based protein.
Vegetable-based protein continues to be a popular and healthy way to eat. Shifting to a plant-based diet not only benefits your body but is good for the environment too. Beans, soy, nuts, seeds, and ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth offer a nutritious way to maintain adequate protein intake while limiting consumption of animal protein.
Cut sugar intake.
The best way to cut sugar intake is to become a label reader and choose foods lower in sugar and especially lower in added sugar. Keep in mind that just because something doesn’t taste sweet that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain more sugar than you realize. You don’t need a diet book to tell you how to cut sugar. You just need to be more conscious of your choices and choose lower sugar alternatives to ensure you’re consuming less of it in your day.
Have you wondered if there is science behind popular fad diets? Join my colleague Kit Broihier and
me for our next free webinar: Weighing in on Weight Loss Diets: What Does the Science Say?