Think about the age-old question: How do you eat an elephant? Now think about the answer: One bite at a time. Some things in life can seem overwhelming considered as a whole component. Breaking things down into small steps to achieve, change or address something is much easier in bite-size pieces. This same approach holds true for health and fitness.
Instead of trying to make huge changes, think about improving your health and fitness by making small changes in your daily routine you can live with.
This month we’ll talk about nutrition and making small changes that reap big rewards on the scale.
Here are a few ideas to help you significantly cut calories:
Keeping a food log will help you identify what you are eating — both good and bad. Writing down EVERYTHING you eat and drink can help even the challenged dieter make better choices.
Limit your sugar intake. You might be surprised to find how many items contain sugar. Read product labels. Take coffee creamer, for example. For me personally, I want to drink my coffee as a treat. I didn’t realize my creamer contained as much sugar as I was limiting myself to for the entire day. By switching to sugar-free creamer, almond milk or black coffee, I was able to cut my sugar intake significantly each day. What I found was that I didn’t really miss it and moved closer toward my goal with just one little change.
Eating smaller “mini-meals” throughout the day will help curb hunger. It keeps your metabolism going and keeps you more alert and focused. As you might know, eating too little sends a signal to your body to slow down and conserve. Putting your body into starvation mode can produce weight gain as your body isn’t sure when you’ll re-fuel. Such smaller meals as an apple, celery with peanut butter or cut up veggies will keep you from getting so hungry between meals.
Changes take work and planning. Planning your food for the day or week helps to keep you on track. It’s easier to grab cut-up veggies and a chicken breast from the refrigerator before heading off to work. Without planning, it’s easy to make unhealthy choices when you get hungry.
Dressing and sauces contain hidden calories and can double the amount of calories in a meal. Try such alternatives as balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and reduced-calorie dressing or simply go without.
Keep in mind portion control. Plates seem to be getting bigger and everything is super-sized. By visualizing the size of ordinary items, you can better portion your meals. For example, a half cup of almonds looks like the size of a golf ball. A 3-ounce portion of cooked chicken breast is the size of a deck of cards. The more you use these visualizations, the easier it becomes. I now look at the size of a baked potato and see my computer mouse. That’s a much smaller portion than most restaurants serve.
Remember your water. By drinking water throughout the day, you not only hydrate your body, but keep it feeling satisfied. Hydrating, cleansing and refreshing are great ways to think about water.
Take the big picture of nutrition and break it down into smaller parts — literally bite-size pieces. Ask yourself which of these tips could work for you. Try them. These tips offer a few ways you can make small changes in your eating habits. By making small changes, you’ll be amazed at how big the results can be.