Next time your trainer tells you to drop and give him 20, tell him to get this: A recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests excess sugar and carbs are the primary suspects of the obesity epidemic, not physical inactivity.
However, don’t use this as an excuse to cancel your SoulCycle membership; research has shown, time and time again, healthy weight loss includes a balanced diet and exercise.
Exercising regularly has been linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
But, diet may be the crucial piece to the weight loss puzzle many may have been neglecting.
Here are eight simple strategies to help clean up your diet and get you ready for the summer months ahead:
1. Treat Snacks Like A Meal
Snacking is often the main culprit of weight gain. It’s practically become routine to grab a bag of chips on the way to work.
When you’re in that “snack mode,” it’s easy to mindlessly eat while you’re standing up or walking around. Try sitting down at a table, preparing your snack and taking a few minutes to enjoy it.
Acknowledging what you are consuming can help you savor and process what you are actually eating.
2. Drink Up
We often mistake thirst cues for hunger. If you’re eating and eating and still feel like you have an empty stomach, it’s a sign you need to hydrate.
If you have a headache or are feeling fatigued, these may also be warning signs of dehydration.
Try to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day (a 140 pound woman should get around 70 ounces of water, or almost 9 cups).
3. Shop The Perimeter
The outside aisles of grocery stores tend to have less processed food selections. Most whole and natural foods, like produce, dairy and meat, are on the perimeter of the supermarket.
As you delve deeper into the center of the store, you’ll find the more highly-processed and packaged goodies.
Shop for foods in their natural forms and always look for minimal ingredients on the food labels.
4. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Don’t keep junk in your apartment. Period. It’s that simple. If you have a box of Oreos staring you down every day, it’s not so easy to resist.
Eliminating those foods from your environment can limit your access to them and keep you in check.
Try stocking your apartment with fresh fruits and vegetables and make sure to put those healthy foods in visible places so you are more inclined to notice (and eat) them.
5. Meal Prep
On that meal prep grind! Take Sunday to do your grocery shopping and get down and dirty in the kitchen. Portion everything out, put on your favorite jams and get cooking.
This will make your week so much easier and it will help deter you from grabbing takeout between meetings. Your body and wallet will thank you.
6. Get Techy
Getting tech-savvy may help you get in shape by tracking your progress. Tracking your food can be a whole production, but weightless apps, like MyFitnessPal, can help make tracking easy and routine.
Weight loss and fitness gadgets are also super popular, and they are becoming seriously stylish (thank you, Tory Burch).
7. Go 80-20
Too much of anything is never good. Although healthy eating plans are great, they can sometimes make us obsessive.
Avoid this trap by taking an 80-20 approach: Eat clean, real and natural foods 80 percent of the time and leave a 20 percent buffer for when you are socializing or need a small treat.
8. Distract Yourself
When all else fails and you literally cannot stop snacking, try distracting yourself and your taste buds. Brush your teeth, go on the computer or do your nails.
Simple distractions can help you be more productive and keep you away from the kitchen.