When starting or continuing a fitness program, it is important to balance your eating habits. Healthy eating can get you to that next step or goal that you are striving to achieve. Check out these 4 things to help get you started!
1. Eat regularly
If you know it has been over 4 hours since the last time you had something to eat, you need to eat something! Think of your metabolism as a fire. If you keep fueling the fire it continues to burn. If you stop providing fuel to the fire than it will eventually fizzle out. Your metabolism works the same way. Even if that food item is a piece of fruit or small handful of nuts. DO NOT SKIP MEALS!
2. Focus on Food Groups
Counting calories in the beginning is sometimes useful but that alone does not result in long-term life style changes. Counting calories is hard to keep up with and is not always the best method to achieve and maintain weight loss. Knowledge of portion sizes and food groups is a much better way to assess healthy eating.
3. Drink Water
Even if you do not feel thirsty, you should still push yourself to drink more water. As we age our bodies are not as great at telling us if we are thirsty or not. Water is key for metabolism and digestion. Any fluid that does not contain caffeine or alcohol can count towards what your body needs. However, there is very little nutritional value to sodas. I would recommend milk, water, and the occasional juice.
4. Measure Progress
Focus on fat loss not weight loss. If you are physically active and are improving your nutrition, you should see a change in your body and that does not always mean numbers on the scale. When we weigh ourselves frequently, we tend to focus so much on that number and forget about all the achievements we have made. This frustration can result in giving up, even though we may have made some great changes.
Be patient with yourself! Change is hard, and new habits take time. It is most important not to give up, and to be patient with your body. As we age our bodies slow down a bit and this is true even with fat loss/weight loss. Start slow, by making small achievable goals that will last a lifetime. One easy start is to journal. Track your eating and exercise to see where you are and where you would like to be.
Amanda Garant, MS, RD, CD