8 Food Rules I Followed To Lose Weight
I’ve had some reader questions about my diet and what I eat to lose weight. I don’t do any special diets! I had to totally overhaul my eating habits to find a way to eat healthy consistently. Here is a handy list of my food rules!
1. Count Calories
This has had a huge impact on how much I eat! When you log your food, you’re truly accountable for every bite you put in your mouth. I use the MyFitnessPal app to track my calories. Plus, I’m able to plug in my workouts and see how many calories I’ve burned. They have the biggest database of foods you can search including specific meals from restaurants.
2. Eat REAL Food!
When I started losing weight, we did a purge in our house. We went into our fridge and cabinets and threw out everything with High Fructose Corn Syrup or Partially Hydrogenated Oils. We couldn’t believe how many items had these ingredients in them! There are a lot of unhealthy artificial ingredients in everyday foods but these two are the worst. Now we are serious label-readers at the grocery store! We buy foods with simple, natural ingredients and the healthier options are usually a very similar price to the unhealthy versions. Affordable organic options are becoming more available too! Even at the Commissary! Unfortunately, yes, natural ingredient food costs a little more and it can start to add up. However there is a great quote that I have to remember from time to time: It may cost you more for food now, but it will save you some medical bills later. It’s really something to think about!
3. Eat Whole Grains
This is a pretty simple switch and the flavor is still good. Whole grain breads, pastas, tortillas, cereals, crackers, chips, etc! Health foods are more and more popular so there are tons of options these days.
4. Eat Lean Meats
We mostly eat boneless, skinless chicken breast because it’s the healthiest. I also like ground turkey for turkey meatballs, turkey chili, or turkey burgers. On occasion, I will get some 97% lean ground beef for tacos. Lean red meats are still higher in calorie count than white meats so I try to keep them to a minimum. I’m a big fan of seafood but my husband isn’t as big a fan as me plus seafood can be pricey. Once in a while I can get away with getting some shrimp, tilapia, or salmon!
5. Eat Fruits and Vegetables
I think this is the most important one. Not only do they have vitamins and amazing health benefits, but you can fill up on fruits and veggies with pretty much zero guilt! They are very low in calories. You just have to be careful with fruits and their natural sugar. I try to make my breakfasts half fruit and my lunches and dinners half vegetables, preferably green leafy ones! I can also get very snacky sometimes and a handful of grapes, baby carrots, or cucumber slices with hummus are a lot better than chips or ice cream.
6. DIY Seasoning
This one might seem strange but I wanted to add it because I used to be the biggest consumer of those convenient seasoning packets offered at the store. You know the ones with the spices mixed together for Beef Stew, Ranch Mix, Hot Wings, Taco Seasoning, etc? Do yourself a favor and make your own mix of seasonings. The packets are usually filled with extra unhealthy ingredients and tons of sodium. Plus, while an individual packet can be inexpensive, it’s actually cheaper in the long run to buy spices and mix your own. It doesn’t take much time and using your own spices tastes a lot better!
While I eat healthy most of the time, I find balance is very important! You should never feel deprived while you lose weight. You are loving and rewarding yourself by eating healthy! You are not punishing yourself with workouts! I do allow myself to have “cheat meals” once in a while because life is short and we should enjoy extra delicious foods sometimes! I just always have to make sure I’m telling myself “just this meal and then it’s back on track tomorrow!” It helps me because in the past, I would be too strict on myself to the point that when I finally gave in and had something like pizza or a hamburger, I would go totally off the rails. Now, when I know I’m going out to a restaurant, I either plan to eat a healthy option they offer (looking at a menu online and deciding beforehand what you’re going to order can help get it set in your mind so you don’t make an unhealthy decision on the spot) or I eat low calorie foods all day leading up to going out. Just make sure you don’t fall into a habit where you eat really healthy and “reward” your healthy eating with bad food on a regular basis. You will only be hurting yourself and wasting your own time and hard work!
8. Avoid These
In addition to artificial ingredients, I also avoid a couple other things. First, I don’t purchase anything labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” These products are usually filled with worse ingredients or chemicals to make up for the flavor. Second, I don’t eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners. This may mean I almost never have sweets but the potential health risks aren’t worth it for me. Lastly, I basically avoid any drink that isn’t water! This one is hard! I have one cup of coffee every morning with Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss creamer but otherwise, it’s just water (and a lot of it!) You don’t want to drink your calories. Save those calories for delicious food!
What are your food rules? Comment below!
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