Everyone is looking for a quick fix. Many people are under the misconception that all they need is to do a little exercise, eat salad, lose their goal weight and then they will be in the place they want to be. They think that once they are there, they can then go back to doing all the things that we do to our bodies that are unhealthy and defeat our best efforts to keep fit.
This is a really big mistake. I will elaborate on this fallacy in a future post, but for now, let’s just suffice it to say that you cannot go back to damaging behaviors. Fitness is a way of life. Fitness is a mindset. Fitness doesn’t come easily and it isn’t a short-term goal.
There are ways to improve our level of fitness quickly though. Most of these are through diet and getting rid of dangerous vices like smoking and drinking heavily. The changes to your body when you stop smoking are pretty immediate and only improve over time. The damage you inflict on your body by abusing alcohol is long-proven through research.
However, as a population, particularly in the U.S., we are so ignorant about food and what the consequences of not eating right will look like on our bodies.
Recently, we went out to dinner with some friends and the topic turned to diet and fitness. One of our friends does not like vegetables, but wants to lose weight. These two ideas are not compatible. Not. At. All. As I listened to them talk about the foods they eat, I realized, they have a completely skewed understanding of what is healthy and what is unhealthy.
Being fit is a lifetime commitment, but getting started can be difficult. To begin, it’s helpful to make changes to your diet that can make a significant impact in a short time allowing you to celebrate and motivate further toward your long-term goals. Let’s explore some options to set us on our way.
Four Diet Changes For Fast Impact
1. Stop eating sugar.
Recent research has shown that while we’ve been worried about fats for decades, sugar is actually the body’s worst enemy with regard to food. Sugar is addictive and can be the root cause of any number of diseases including cancer, diabetes, liver damage, and heart disease to name just a few. Sugar is everywhere and it’s important to learn the alternate names for it so you can recognize it on food labels. Most common include corn syrup, corn sweetener, fructose, cane juice, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, malto-dextrin, sucrose, and barley malt. There are many more, but you will find these on juices, coffees, cereals, packaged foods, soups, breads, candy, dried fruit, cookies and health bars, sauces, ice cream, and more.
How does ingesting sugar make you unhealthy? Eating sugar doesn’t make you unhealthy. Eating too much of the wrong sugars makes you unhealthy. Even the healthiest foods are broken down by your body into sugar. But once you exceed your daily need for energy producing sugar, your liver has to find something to do with it. And that something means that it turns it into fat and sends it all around your body through your bloodstream and stores it throughout your body. Your body stores it in case you need it at a later time. If you consume too much sugar on a regular basis, your body continues to store it and store it and store it until you are obese or worse.
Be conscious of how much sugar you are eating and what foods contain it. Stop eating these foods and find healthy alternatives that do not include “diet” foods, which are often misleading and unhealthy in the long run.
To find out how many teaspoons of sugar a food or beverage contains per serving, find the grams of sugar on the label and divide that number by 4. The result is the number of teaspoons of sugar per serving.
2. Learn to love water.
Unless you are drinking 2 litres of water a day, you probably aren’t drinking enough. Water helps keep your metabolism and digestion optimal.
- Pace yourself throughout the day by making it easy for you to grab some water and enjoy it.
- Prepare several bottles of water each evening so you can easily grab them and take the time to enjoy them throughout the day.
- Exchange one or two other beverages that you normally have with water.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal to help you with portion control.
- Keep a glass or bottle of water next to your bed. Waking in the night dehydrated is common. Having easy access to water allows you to drink right away and resolve this so you can get back to sleep more easily.
3. Stop drinking soda and juice.
Soda and juice can be so bad for our bodies. One reason is that they often contain too much sugar. One can of soda can contain more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. NINE TEASPOONS OF SUGAR! If you have some sugar, get it out of the cupboard, take out a teaspoon, put 9 teaspoons of sugar in a cup. Now eat it. How does that taste? How does that feel? Pretty gross, huh? Well, that’s what you’re ingesting when you drink ONE can of soda. And that’s not even the worst kind of soda.
A serving of name-brand orange juice contains nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar. Orange juice! You know, that juice we all think is so good for us?
I guarantee you will be shocked when you see how much sugar you are ingesting each day with just the beverages you enjoy. Perhaps when you line up all of those teaspoons of sugar, it won’t seem so enjoyable. Replace these sugary beverages with water and green tea, both have proven health advantages.
4. Slow down on the salt intake.
How much salt should we take in each day? Strive to keep your salt intake at about 1500 grams per day. This is a little less than a teaspoon, so you will need to be mindful of how much sodium the foods you eat contain without adding any more to them.
Salt causes water retention because our bodies attempt to dilute it and lessen its damaging effects by hoarding water. Too much salt can cause dehydration and kidney problems. Salt also causes high-blood pressure which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Other names for salt on labels include MSG (mono-sodium glutamate), sodium, baking powder, baking soda, and disodium phosphate to name just a few.
Use spices to enhance the taste of food naturally and more healthily. You will be surprised at how wonderful food can taste when you experiment with new spices, many of which are really good for you. Limit processed foods, sauces, and diet sodas as much as possible to avoid salt overload.
How can making these adjustments make immediate changes in your level of fitness? Your body will begin to function more effectively, storing a reduced amount of fat and water through sugar and salt reductions. These changes can lead to very quick loss of water weight and a solid start to fat loss.
Drinking more water will kick-start your metabolism, creating an opportunity for higher calorie burn and more effective use of your food. Plus, keeping hydrated is important in staying healthy and fit.
Limiting sodas and juices can drop your sugar and salt intake dramatically increasing your ability to lose weight and get fit.
Today, begin by reading the labels on the food you eat. Check out the sugar and sodium quantities and decide if your hunger could be better served by eating a salad, an apple, some greek yogurt, or a piece of chicken to name a few healthy choices. Just be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Visualize the teaspoons of sugar and salt as you eat your meals and snacks.
If you decide to make these changes, please do come back and let us know…good or bad…about your experience.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week. If you want to be sure to catch all of our posts, take a minute to connect with us. And as always, share any thoughts on this topic in the comment section. Your contribution is appreciated and important!