5 Rules For Optimal Eating In 2016
by Kathy Smith
Most people tend to get caught in a vicious cycle of dieting and then blowing the diet. It usually begins something like this…You’re unhappy with the way you look and feel. You seek a diet that promises instant weight loss through complete control of what, when, and how you eat. It feels safe, because you know exactly what you have to do to reach your goal. Soon enough you discover that you just can’t stick to it..and you end up right back where you started, with the exact same eating pattern that got you wanting to go on a diet in the first place.
And so the cycle continues.
The problem here is that those “diets” treat the dieter like a machine that can be programmed. But the truth is that eating well has to take into account the food’s less scientific side.
You may have already had an experience similar to this one. Maybe you, like millions of others, white-knuckled a liquid detox. If you did, then it won’t come as news to hear that the number-one reason people give up such diets is not because they reach their target weight. It’s because they couldn’t stand to go for so long without “real food.” Anyway, it’s simple human nature to rebel against such rigidity imposed from the outside. being told what we’re supposed to like, and be satisfied with it, will eventually create its opposite intended effect.
Most plans don’t take into account what food really means to us. They don’t consider how the flavor and color and texture and temperature and presentation of food can give us so much pleasure. They don’t consider how food is intimately entwined with our social and cultural customs. They don’t consider how food and the environment in which we eat comfort us. They don’t consider how eating foods that you don’t like leave you unsatisfied.
Eating well has to be seen as an ongoing process in your life. So in 2016, add these 5 eating habits into your routine for optimal eating:
SKIP SUGARY DRINKS
Liquid calories are often the most dangerous, especially when it comes to sugary drinks. That’s because liquid sugars hit our liver even faster than solid foods – and the faster fructose hits our liver, the higher the chances that the liver will convert it to fat. That’s why sodas containing high fructose corn syrup are to be avoided at all costs. But even freshly-squeezed fruit juice can wreak havoc on our blood sugar because of its high Glycemic Index, a system that calculates foods’ effect on our blood sugar. So while orange juice is a great source of Vitamin C, it’s completely stripped of the fiber found in whole oranges, which means when we drink it, a blood sugar spike is right around the corner.
Nothing beats water, of course – but if you’d like to “jazz up” your daily water intake, try infusing it with some fruit or veggies. Sliced lemons, limes, cucumbers, and even strawberries can lend some flavor to a pitcher of water without adding sugar and calories. Herbal tea is another great option – and if you’re craving juice, try cutting it with sparkling water so that you can still enjoy the fruity sweetness without putting yourself back on the blood sugar roller coaster.
AVOID HAPPY HOUR FOR 30 DAYS
While the occasional cocktail is fine from time to time, try steering clear of alcohol for 30 days. It’s a source of empty calories (there’s a reason they call it a “beer belly”), and it can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Not to mention that it’s harder to resist the temptation of unhealthy foods when there’s some alcohol in your system. So for now, skip that happy hour and use that time for a workout instead!
BONUS Reason: Alcohol can prevent fat burning by up to 73%!
When you do decide to indulge in a cocktail, it’s important to understand that your choices – right down to the mixer – can determine whether or not you’re adding dozens of empty calories to your day. Traditional margaritas are among the worst offenders, packing a whopping 700+ calorie count, and often much of those calories are coming from high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden sweet & sour mix. Put some salt around the rim and you’ve treated yourself to some additional next-day bloat. Instead, try a vodka with club soda and just a squirt of cranberry juice for a touch of sweetness.
FILL UP ON THE F-WORD
Chances are good that this isn’t the first time you’ve been told fiber is good for you. Grandmothers have implored us to eat more veggies, fruit, and whole grains for centuries. But an onslaught of new research and flashy media bites have given the classic f-word a sexy makeover. With yogurts, cereals and even chocolate bars boasting “added fiber” on their labels, fiber is suddenly the must-have diet product of the moment. And for good reason.
Because fiber helps you to absorb fewer calories by escorting them out of your digestive system before those calories can be transformed into fat, some diet plans consider high-fiber foods to be “freebies” – things you can eat in unlimited amounts. If you’re on a diet plan that tracks nutritional points, for example, these “freebies” might fall into the 0 point category. This is certainly true of many veggies, especially of the dark green, leafy variety. There’s no reason to practice portion control when it comes to kale.
TIME YOUR CARBS
Timing when you eat your carbs throughout the day can mean the difference between fat loss and fat gain. Here’s why…. When you exercise, sugar is shuttled to your muscles, instead of being stored as fat. And, exercise unleashes your muscle’s glucose receptors. So the trick is to eat most of your carbs in the hours after exercising. Remember… on days when you don’t work out, even a 10-Min HIIT workout or walk can help you process carbs more efficiently.
Here’s a ballpark range of what’s appropriate, safe and effective, depending on your level of activity –
0-50g Carbs Per Day: If you’re trying to lose a lot of water weight in a couple days, cut your carbs below 50/day.
50-100g Carbs Per Day: If you’re staying in this range, chances are good that you’ll achieve healthy weight loss.
150-300g Carbs Per Day: Even though this is represents the low end of a typical American’s daily carb intake, the truth is that this number can lead to gradual weight gain (depending on the types of carbs you’re eating, and your activity level).
Instead of grazing throughout the day, eat a smaller meal or snack every 3-4 hours. The weight loss math is simple: Three 400-calorie meals and two 200-calorie snacks equals 1,600 calories a day. Generally speaking, that’s a good daily caloric intake for weight loss, but of course these numbers vary depending on your body type and activity level.
The benefits of eating smaller portions of healthy foods every 3-4 hours include:
- Stabilized insulin levels
- Higher metabolism
- Preserved lean muscle mass
- Fewer mood swings
- Helps control cravings
- Prevents overeating
Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.