A friend’s complaints about her (imaginary — she’s a stick) muffin top, and my upcoming commitment to a boot camp has me thinking again about healthy eating.
These are the tips I picked up the last time I did that boot camp. Most of this is obvious, but sometimes it helps to have this stuff written down in one place. (And to be honest, this entry is probably more about reminding myself what I need to do, as I’ve backslid over the summer with stuff like ice cream and Vegas buffets.)
- Drink water, not pop or juice. Not even diet pop if you can help it. Avoid caffeine and alcohol if you can. Do not drink sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade unless you’re training for a marathon. Or the Olympics.
- Watch those flavoured coffees as the flavourings are usually sugared.
- Eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Probably more than you think you might need. Figure out how big a portion size really is. Canada’s Food Guide is very helpful with this.
- Read labels carefully — the serving size on a box is not necessarily the serving size you should be eating.
- Eat more fish and white skinless chicken, less pork and beef. Even better if you eat more vegetarian meals. If you want to gain muscle mass, you need more protein but if you want to lose weight limit it.
- If you’re looking to gain weight in a healthy way, don’t start eating high calorie sweets. You’re better off speaking to a dietitian and a doctor. Eat more lean protein and lift some weights to gain muscle, as muscle is heavy. Drink caloric beverages like Ensure if you have to.
- Eating natural foods helps you to avoid corn syrups and artificial sweeteners.
- Whole grains and fibre (which you can get from the fruits and veg) is your friend.
- Chicken wings have a draw-dropping amount of calories. You’re better off just staying away from them unless you’re making them yourself and taking off the skin.
- Try writing a food diary for at least a week and figure out the calories of everything you eat and drink. If you want to be really keen, figure out the fibre content as well. You’ll be surprised at how much we put in our mouths are really pointless, nutritionally-wise. And you’ll be shocked at how much (or how little) you’ve eaten.
- If you’re losing weight and limiting your food, you will start to crave stuff so don’t force yourself to avoid completely. Moderation is key. Forget about cheat days though; that’s just a convenient excuse to pig out.
- Don’t tie yourself to your scale. A better way is to take a measuring tape and record your measurements. Dropping dress sizes and inches mean more than pounds.