We’ve all been there: trying to eat healthy, but not always having the right information at our fingertips.
Here, you will learn how to create an environment that is conducive to helping you avoid temptation, and sticking to your goals. Most people overlook this, and as a result have to rely on ‘willpower’, which, for many reasons, will always ultimately fail.
You will learn the importance of ‘eating clean’, and how avoiding certain food types will not only make you healthier, but will make you feel more satisfied, and less hungry.
If letting go of sugar is a problem for you, you will learn what foods can satisfy your cravings in a healthier way. There is also a section on food cravings, and what they are trying to tell you.
Start Eating Clean to Lose Weight ...and get a clean, healthy body too!
Can you imagine a lifestyle that doesn’t require you to count calories or points in order to lose weight? You can live that life, and the secret to it is eating clean.
What does clean eating really mean? It means eating fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats and carbs.
In addition to drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise, you need to carve out time to eat six times a day, and your portions have to be correct. This will essentially reset your metabolism and turn your body into a machine.
Typically, experts recommend a weight loss of a pound or two each week. However, eating clean can help you lose as much as three pounds every week. In addition to weight loss, eating clean will leave you feeling energized and healthier. Of course, there’s the added benefit of enjoying food and not feeling hungry all of the time.
Additionally, there are visible benefits. You will notice a difference in your hair, skin, teeth, gums, and even your eyes. Ultimately, the philosophy behind clean eating is that your nutrition is more important when it comes to shaping your body than genetics or exercise.
Does Clean Eating Work?
There’s nothing fancy involved in eating clean. That’s why it has so many good points. Essentially, you are enjoying a balanced diet that remains focused on healthy fats, proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The crucial point, though, is the control of portion sizes.
For many of us, that is the biggest issue we have. We make the switch to healthy foods, but we keep feeding what feels like an empty hole and wonder why we can’t drop weight.
So, yes, it works. In addition to eating clean, you will need to keep up your physical activity, of course. There is no magic ingredient to successfully eating clean. It is what it is, and the most important factor here is that it’s a sustainable lifestyle choice.
You won’t feel as though you’re stealing joy from yourself; it won’t feel like a punishment. It’s what we should all be doing.
The Principles of Eating Clean
It is fairly simple, but that doesn’t mean easy. There are some issues that will require effort. You’ll need to avoid certain foods, and there may be certain things you struggle to let go of. If that’s the case, cut them out gradually to make the process a bit easier on you and your body.
There is flexibility with eating clean. Preparing your meals, you can save time and money on your supermarket visits.
Stick to your shopping list to avoid temptation! Remember, the middle aisles of the grocery store are filled with temptation and often low nutrition, shop the outer edges to keep it fresh.
You don’t need to go to meetings to eat clean; you don’t need to count calories. You simply need to exercise, eat well, and control your portions. It’s the perfect equation for leading a healthy, sustainable lifestyle — one where you lead a long, happy, and healthy life.
Create a Weight Loss Pantry (Tips & Hints on How To Do It)
The key to health and happiness is making smart choices that will support your body and wellness. You can have a well-stocked, abundant pantry – it just requires a wholesome grocery shopping list.
Think of the contents of your pantry as building blocks.
They all have their part to play in the recipes that you choose and the meals that you create. All of them should work together to create healthy options designed to help you lose weight and satiate any cravings you may have.
Are you familiar with the GI (Glycemic Index)? It measures how rapidly your body digests food and/or how much it increases your blood sugar after you consume it.
Typically, we think of the Glycemic Index as something diabetics have to worry about. However, it’s something that you should consider as well because foods low on the index will help you feel fuller for longer.
A bar of chocolate will give you a sugar high, but it will be followed by a crash and a craving. So, visit your pantry and replace sugar with natural sweeteners low on the GI. Don’t worry; we have some examples for you!
These are all different forms of sugar, so you will need to limit your use of them. However, these are preferable to processed sugars.
Ditch Your Dairy
Instead, embrace cheese and milk that is plant-based.
You will notice a major difference in your body when you make this change, particularly in terms of joint inflammation. Unsweetened plant milk can be used in eggs, baking, creamy dishes, and even in your hot beverages.
Almond milk is the most popular variety of plant milk. However, other nut milks are available. You can also find coconut and oat milk.
When it comes to cheese, this is a more challenging battle. Nothing tastes like real cheese except for real cheese. However, you can opt for crème fraiche, almond ricotta, or a bagged grated plant-based cheese.
Your body requires healthy fats, which you can get from a variety of sources. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the easiest ways to get that. However, you need to consider the calorie count if you’re serious about losing weight. Use these oils sparingly. You can use ghee instead of butter. It’s still butter, but it removes milk solids.
Use sesame oil, avocado oil, ghee, safflower oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil. Just be sure to note the temperature guide. You don’t want smoking oil. Other healthy fats include shredded coconut, avocados, nuts, nut butter, seeds, and oily fish like wild salmon and mackerel.
Only stock lean meat in your kitchen and always go organic.
You should always have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits on hand. More importantly, buy the ones that are in season. Eating with the seasons is a great way to make sure your body gets all of the vitamins and nutrients you need. It will also provide you with some savings on your grocery bill.
Your meals should include whole grains, beans, and legumes. They will keep you fuller for longer and also pack a hefty, nutritional punch. Dried beans are a great option for slow cooking soups and stews, however, canned is also acceptable for quick fixes.
Avoid white rice and instead choose options like quinoa. Couscous and rye flakes can also help you mix things up. In terms of flour, ignore all-purpose and instead use rye, spelt and/or buckwheat options.
Forget the normal condiments and sauces and utilize herbs, spices, and vinegar.
How to Stick to Your Diet Without Cheating
Now, rather than following a strict diet or following a fad, we suggest that you maintain your weight and health by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Nobody said it was easy. Unfortunately, no one ever told you it would be this hard either.
One of the largest obstacles to weight loss is cheating or the temptation to cheat. Your diet plan tells you to avoid deep-fried food, pizza, and sugary snacks. But, they’re calling you.
You can stick to your diet without cheating!
Plan Your Week
Spend 20 minutes of your weekend planning the week ahead. Include the time you will rise each morning, what you’ll have for break, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between, and schedule your exercise time, too.
By doing this, you know exactly what to do and when to do it to ensure you stick to your diet, stay healthy, and lose weight. It removes the temptation you might face if you have to make a snap decision.
You have to consider the obstacles you may face in advance. This allows you to create at least two methods in which to overcome each of them.
For example, you know that you have a meeting-heavy day on Thursday which will turn into a working dinner. You also know that you’ll miss lunch.
You’re going to be tempted to hit the vending machine. How can you beat those obstacles? You can take a healthy snack or two to work with you and try to grab an early (healthy) lunch before or in between those meetings. Where there’s a will… there is a way.
Only Shop Once
The more you find yourself in the supermarket, the more likely you are to give in to temptation. You spent some of your weekend planning the week ahead, from that you should have created the ultimate shopping list.
Get it all done in one and avoid supermarkets until your next weekly shop.
Since we’re already on the subject of planning in advance, let’s talk about food prep. This is something that you can do in order to stay on track.
Once you buy your shopping list, you can batch-cook certain products, chop and slice others, and have everything ready for when you need it. Plan the week, script your meals, shop your list, and prep your food.
Your social network can provide you with support to ensure you stick to your diet without cheating, whether it’s a close friend or someone else that will serve as your nutrition buddy.
This is someone who should hold you accountable when you slip up and encourage you to follow your plans.
This person should be someone who edifies you. Don’t choose someone who will throw obstacles in your path.
In fact, you need to create a plan to overcome the well-meaning people who do create obstacles, such as donuts in the break-room.
You have to prepare for these types of temptations and know how to say no.
Additionally, if there are people who treat you and your weight loss goals as a joke, then you need to ignore them.
Ideally, this person provides you with gym support, however, you can have different buddies for different parts of your journey.
Brush After Meals
There’s nothing worse than eating something too soon after you brush your teeth, right? That’s why you should brush your teeth after meals. It will help you avoid temptation.
Put these ideas into place, and you will soon see how easy it can be to avoid cheating on your diet. It won’t happen overnight, but every day is a small victory, and you can always make tomorrow your best day yet.
Best Diet Foods to Eat When You're Craving Sugar
Do you struggle with sugar cravings? You’re not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, humans as a whole struggle with cravings, particularly women. (That is not gender discrimination – it has been researched!)
If this is something that you deal with, then you know just how difficult it is to avoid temptation when you are faced with a craving and have access to the food. This may lead you to eat too many calories or binge eating.
If this is something that happens to you regularly, then you know just how difficult it is to overcome.
Luckily, we are here to recommend some of the best diet foods to eat when you’re craving sugar.
Fruit is sweet and those natural sugars are an excellent option if you are craving sugar. The greatest fruits to satiate a sugar craving?
Berries! Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and all of their friends. They’re delicious, they’re nutritious, they are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients your body needs.
So, instead of giving in to food that has no nutritional value, you kill two birds with one stone by reaching for fruit. You eradicate your craving, and you give your body a health boost. Mix up your berries to enjoy a delicious mixed bowl.
If you have hankerings for chocolate that you struggle to beat, then swap out your normal hit for dark chocolate.
A square or two should do, this 70% cocoa treat will curb your craving and it also packs an antioxidant punch.
It’s important that you carefully watch your intake, portion size is key here. A small amount will do the job, but if you overdo it you will lose out on the health benefits.
It’s creamy, delicious, and since it’s high in protein, it will help you stay fuller for longer. It’s also an excellent source of good bacteria, calcium, and the Vitamin B complex.
Combine it with your mixed berry fruit bowl, and you have a delicious dessert on your hands. Or, enjoy a portion of it shortly before you eat a meal. It will prevent you from overdoing it at meal time.
A Snack Bar
This is one you have to be careful with. Some diet snack bars are just junk. They are often packed with sugar. It’s important that you look out for healthy options that truly provide you with nutritional value.
Check the ingredients list for ingredients like oats and fruit. Ensure there are no added sugars and that it’s minimally processed. You may also find an easy, healthy recipe to make your own.
What’s more delicious than fruit? Fruit that’s been dipped in almond butter (other nut butters are available). It’s a delicious snack and is sure to satisfy your sugar craving.
Plus, you get plenty of vitamins and minerals, plus the fiber from the fruit, and healthy fats, too. It’s important to remember that nut butter is high in calories, though, so be sure to watch your portions.
A simple mix of nuts and dried fruit can serve as an excellent diet food to eat when you’re craving sugar. That combination of salty and sweet hits the spot, and there are health benefits to the ingredients, too.
The best part is you can use any creation of fruit and nuts that you like! Again, be mindful of your portion sizes. A small handful is more than enough, you’ll find around 650 calories in a cup.
This dried, pitted fruit is super sweet and high in sugar. That’s not all they are, though. They’re rich in fiber, iron, antioxidants, and potassium.
If you want something sweet, then a few of these beauties will absolutely curb your sugar craving. If you need a crunch with your treat, stuff yours with some almonds.
What Your Food Cravings Are Telling You
Cravings are one of the biggest problems we face as we try to eat well. They aren’t all bad. In fact, we should learn to understand them. Your body is asking for something. The problem is that we often answer its request with the wrong options.
If you can learn to understand what your food cravings are telling you, then you can learn to satiate it appropriately.
It’s rare to hear others talk about how they’re craving a head of broccoli or a giant salad. Yet, you will hear all about cravings for pretzels, chocolate, chips, and more.
The most efficient way to control your cravings is to understand what they mean. Is your craving physical, or is it emotional? Are you just bored, or are you truly hungry?
Are you accustomed to enjoying a spot of dessert once you finish your meal? Is that because you crave it or it is just a habit that you’re used to?
If you discover that your cravings are rooted in habit, then you can try to replace it with something else. If you know that you have a tendency to run for something sweet in the evening hours, instead enjoy a cup of fruity, herbal tea.
The entire process of boiling the water, steeping the tea, and getting comfortable on the couch with a hot mug will give you plenty of time to think about the craving logically. If the craving is still there, even after the tea, then there’s more chance your need or want is genuine.
You should also consider the characteristics of the craving. If you want chips, then think about what they offer. Is it the crunch? Have carrot sticks instead. Is it the salt or the fat? Swap it for a small portion of air popped popcorn.
Our cravings often stem from an emotional place. Do you feel angry, sad or happy before you reach for candy, chocolate or pizza? If you know that your craving(s) stems from an emotional place, then think about what you can replace it with.
Going for a walk, calling a friend, playing a game or writing in a journal might be helpful to distract you from the craving.
Cravings do go beyond emotions. If you have a specific craving, what does your body want?
Your brain loves sugar as fuel. We seek it out and so, it makes sense that many of our cravings are sugar based. Why does your body desire sugar at a particular point in time? There could be a number of reasons, such as tiredness.
If your body is running out of steam and needs an energy boost, you may feel a craving for sugar. If you have a craving like this, but you can reach for fruit instead. Pair it with protein or healthy fats to keep your blood sugar balance.
This is straightforward. If you are craving something fatty and greasy, then your body needs fat. How you satiate this craving is not as straightforward. Your body relies on fatty acids and to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, we need fat. You can still fill that need by eating something delicious. Ignore processed foods.
Instead, reach for an avocado. Grab a handful of nuts, enjoy some olives or seeds. There are plenty of healthy fats that are delicious and healthy. Have you ever sat down with a perfectly ripe avocado, with a drizzle of olive oil, plenty of fresh cracked black pepper and a spoon? You should.
If you crave salt, then maybe you need electrolytes or minerals. If you are fairly active, then this might be why. Often, long-distance runners will chew salt tablets to provide their bodies with a boost.
They are downright delicious when their body needs the hit, but taste disgusting when you’re in balance. It may also indicate a lack of hydration. Pregnant women often find themselves craving salty foods, and the reason for this can be a need for hydration.
This guide is not a compilation of re-hashed, trite ‘diet tips’. You now have the knowledge to help you make a success of lifelong weight management.
Knowledge without action won’t help you achieve your health and wellness goals!
While you are motivated, get started on creating your own weight-loss environment. Go through your cupboards and fridge, and banish the foods that cause you harm.
Commit to only buying foods that sustain your health, not detract from it. Make good health, and healthy eating, a lifestyle habit.