Short term diets don’t work. You give up your favorite foods, sacrifice hours on the treadmill, and see the weight slowly melt off – only to gain it all back the moment you return to your regular lifestyle. People often gain more weight than they lost, meaning they finish at a higher weight than when they started their diet. People can gain almost twice as much weight as they lost. Short-term diets don’t work. This is why many health enthusiasts talk about lifestyle changes rather than diets.
Small adjustments in your daily routine can have an enormous impact on your physique and emotional well-being. It doesn’t take much effort to begin feeling happier and healthier.
We’ve put together an easy 3-step plan to get you started with your healthier lifestyle. Each of these steps are small adjustment that requires little effort on your part. All you need is the commitment to make these changes last.
Step #1: Carry a bottle of water
Water is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. A strong, healthy body requires about 2 liters or 8 glasses of water per day to function at its maximum potential. The moment you deprive your body of water, things fall out of balance. Dehydration leaves you feeling tired, which makes you susceptible to the temptation of sugary treats. Since sugar is a quick source of energy, a tired body begins to crave processed sugars like candy, baked goods, and sugary drinks. Your brain makes this harder because it often confuses thirst for hunger. Before reaching for your favorite candy bar, try drinking a few ounces of water instead. You might find that it’s easier to resist snacks.
The Challenge: For step #1 we challenge you to carry a water bottle. Keep track of how much water you drink throughout the day. Many reusable bottles have measurements printed on the side. This makes it easier to track how much you have consumed and how much water you still have left to drink. Aim to drink the full eight glasses (eight ounces per glass) every day.
The Results: You might find that you crave snack foods less frequently. If you were dehydrated, you might find that your skin, hair, and nails are benefiting from the extra water. They’ll begin to look healthy and your skin will regain some elasticity.
Step #2: Choose Baked Over Fried
French fries. Potato chips. Deep fried chicken. Fried foods are common in the typical American diet, and are the culprits behind many failed weight loss plans. When food is fried, it absorbs boiling oil, which is high in trans fats. While certain kinds of fats are essential, trans fats provide no nutritional benefits. In fact, they have been linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity. While a fried treat is okay on special occasions, they should be avoided in daily life. Make our Juicy Faux Fried Chicken and become a convert.
Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to avoid fried food because the most popular fried foods are usually available in a baked version. You can get baked frozen french fries from the store or order baked fries at many restaurants. Most potato chip brands have a line of baked chips. Battered chicken can easily be baked instead of fried.
The Challenge: For step #2 we challenge you to always choose the baked alternative when it’s available. The less you eat fried food, the less you’ll crave it. Before long, it won’t even tempt you any longer.
The Results: Other than a shrinking waistline, your body will start changing from the inside. Your doctor might notice that your bad cholesterol has gone down. You’ll be taking a big step towards keeping your heart happy and healthy.
Step #3: Eliminate added sugars
The love of sugar is universal. Back when humans didn’t have a steady source of food, sugar was a nutritional blessing because it provided quick, easily digestible energy. Humans learned to crave it. However, society has advanced. Now that we have a constant food supply, sugar plays an entirely different role. We eat too much of it. When we eat products that contain refined sugars, our bodies respond with hormones that make us feel satisfied. This is why sugar is such an addictive substance. The more we eat it, the more we crave it.
The Challenge: For step #3 we challenge you to significantly reduce added sugars. This includes candy, sweets, sodas, snack bars, and cereals. You can cut back slowly, beginning with foods that you can easily give up. Replace your regular cereal and snack bars with brans that are lower in added sugars. Remember to take it slow! Cut the amount of sugar you consume slightly every week. When you’re craving something sweet, try eating fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate. Remember that each time you make the healthier choice, it becomes easier. Take our 30-Day No Sugar Challenge and get big results.
The Results: After you’ve cut out sugar for two to three months, you’ll notice that you don’t crave it as much. Instead, you’ll get more enjoyment from the natural sugars found in fruits. Without the frequent sugar crashes, you might even feel more energetic throughout the day.
Remember, this 3-step plan is meant to act as a guide to small changes that you can maintain long-term. Do it at your own pace, starting with the changes that come easier. Work up to those that prove to be a real challenge. If you waiver or break the rules, don’t treat it as a failure. Nobody is perfect. What counts is your overall effort. Aim to do better the next day.
For best results, pair this guide with a workout plan. Exercise can help boost your metabolism. Cardio burns calories, while weight lifting builds lean muscle that raises your Resting Metabolic Rate (the amount of calories you burn while at rest).