Browsing the Internet I see so many people helping others with eating right and losing weight. It's great.
What's not great is the information they are giving out. Complicated eating schedules, crazy fad diet advice, and unrealistic expectations run rampant.
Related - 6 Tips for Healthy Eating on a BudgetSo what do you do if you want to lose weight the right way? It doesn't take changing everything up in your life, it doesn't take completely removing food groups from your life, and it certainly doesn't mean you have to develop OCD so that you eat every 2.12 hours.
Losing weight sucks at first, but once healthy habits start becoming natural, you'll start seeing how eating and living a healthy life positively affect the rest of your life.
The few changes that you need to do to start losing weight are simple, easy, and often overlooked. They are lost in the sea of bad advice and people who don't even lift.
So if you're trying to make 2018 different than other years, take a peep at these 10 tips and implement them into your life immediately.
Sustain Your Healthy Eating
Tip #1 - No More Packaged Foods
When you think of not eating carbs, you think of rice, pasta, pizza, and ice cream... Right? What if I told you ditching the boxed and heavily processed foods would help more than cutting out eating good carbs?
The hidden preservatives and fillers stuff you with sodium, sugars, and other carbohydrates that really screw with your metabolism. Not only that, these processed foods cause inflammation, digestion issues, and can make you feel like crap after eating it.
Empty the pantry and kitchen of the processed foods.
Learn to cook and prepare your favorite meals using fresh ingredients instead of opening a box and cooking it. This doesn't mean you can't ever have anything you like again... It means you need to grow up and start cooking like an adult.
Tip #2 - Fill the Pantry With Complementary Staples
Now that you have an empty pantry, let's get it stocked with some essentials. These essentials will help transform your dishes from healthy to "why haven't I been eating this all along?"
Buy healthy grains, herbs, spices, and ingredients that compliment the fresh ingredients you're now cooking with. Grab a nice bottle of olive oil, lemons, and anything else that will make a healthy dish amazing.
Knowing what to buy takes some time to get used to. I invite you to start coming up with meals that you would like to cook and then shop accordingly.
Planning out meals will let you get the best deals on food, keep waste to a minimum, and minimize your waistline.
Tip #3 - Strive to Eat and Shop Locally
While this is one of the "nice to do" tips, it's not necessary so don't get caught up in it. Get out in your community and search for local grocery stores that offer locally grown produce and meats.
When you shop at a big box store, the vegetables travel hundreds of miles in suboptimal conditions that diminish their nutritional value. While we can't really help this everywhere, being able to buy local not only gives you more nutritional value for what you buy, you are also supporting a local farmer and community.
Save money by buying in-season produce for tastier and more nutritious produce.
Don't be scared and try new ingredients. You never know what flavors you will come up with.
Tip #4 - Purchase a Few Pieces of Equipment
Another "nice to do" tip, I don't utilize this one too often yet. Buying a rice cooker, slow cooker, or an instant pot are easy hacks to making healthy "hands off" meals.
Rice cookers will cook your rice perfectly. Add some steamed or sauteed veggies and a protein and you have a healthy meal that is filling and will provide energy and you won't regret eating it.
Crock pots and slow cookers are easy to use and make amazing dishes. If you do a simple Google search for "crock pot meals," you will be inundated with outstanding recipes. No matter what you like to eat, I know you'll find plenty of crock pot dishes you will love.
I personally am a fan of pots and pans while acting like I am an iron chef. I turn on music and let the good times roll.
Fortunately, I already have a crockpot and making a roast with veggies or even cooking a full chicken to make shredded bbq chicken is easy.
Once you are done preparing your ingredients, throw it in there and in 6 hours or longer, you're going to have an extremely flavorful and nutritious meal.
Tip #5 - Strive for Colorful Dishes
I'm alright being a bland eater. Most of my meals are brownish colors and I sometimes add some veggies. This tip is something I'm working on, and I'll let you know what I'm doing here in a second.
Creating dishes that are full of different colors ensures that you are eating a balanced and nutritious dish.
If you can aim for at least four different colors in your dish, you are going to have a refreshing meal that restaurants wish they could cook. While having four colors in a dish may sound like a daunting task, it's easier than you think.
Adding colorful foods and interesting flavors will add a nice texture profile.
What I've personally done is find foods that I know I like and find a way to add something extra.
For example, if I were to make your trophy chicken and rice, I would want to add at least one or two chopped veggies to the rice. That may be caramelized onions and sauteed green pepper, I could add some red pepper flakes, and then add some cilantro on top of it all.
You've turned a basic meal into something you actually want to eat. Cooking isn't hard and it doesn't take many skills to cook basic food.
Creativity is key and being open to trying new foods will allow you to eat healthy without feeling like you're eating healthy.
Tip #6 - Bring a Lunch From Home
I recently started a new job and the office usually gets lunch out. Since my fridge has been broken for months, I've been losing a significant amount of weight while eating fast foods.
It's not fun, it's actually kind of expensive, and my stomach is ruined from it.
I managed to get a cheap working fridge and I've started bringing lunch from home. I don't get the meat sweats, I don't feel like I'm going to fall asleep at my desk, and I definitely don't have regrets eating what I bring.
I am a leftover lover so I generally will cook more food for dinner and package my lunch for the next day while I'm doing dishes.
Preparing your lunches will save you a lot of money, will help you lose a lot of weight, and you'll be the envy of the office.
Tip #7 - Meal Prep
Going along with what I just said, batch cooking food and preparing meals for the week is the next step you should take once you start cooking. If you spend an hour or two one day preparing and cooking meals for the week, you now have the time you normally would be spending trying to find something to eat.
You can plan, purchase your groceries, and prepare your meals ahead of time. Once you batch cook all of your food, you can store them in meal prep containers, Tupperware, or freeze them.
Be creative with your meals - just because you cook 10 pounds of chicken doesn't mean all you can eat is chicken and rice. Think of it as creating the basic ingredients and then create a few variations.
Cut some chicken breast up and toss it into a hearty salad for the extra protein you will need, shred a few breasts and make some shredded bbq chicken, and add in different veggies to different meals to change up the flavor profile.
Again, cooking isn't hard, it just takes creativity and not being afraid to beat Bobby Flay.
Tip #8 - Prepare Breakfast Ahead of Time
Just like figuring out what you will wear the night before helps with time in the morning, so does making your breakfast ahead of time.
I can't tell you how awesome it is to wake up to heat up my perfectly cooked steak that I made last night and whip up some scrambled eggs and red and green bell peppers.
Get all of your ingredients together, chop and prepare your veggies, and get everything ready. If you are really pressed for time, cooking everything at night so simply heat it up in the morning will help.
Tip #9 - Try a Hearty Salad for Dinner Occasionally
Salads have caught a bad rap since most people portray the only way to lose weight is to eat lettuce and other raw veggies. It's the furthest thing from the truth I've ever seen.
Having a nice salad for dinner is a refreshing and light way to end the day. You won't wake up with heartburn and you won't wake up immediately having to use the restroom.
There are so many different salads that include fresh fruits, avocados, nuts, seeds, and other greens that you can make whatever flavor profile you want.
One of my personal favorites is to grill up some chicken and as they come off the grill dust a little bbq sauce and hot sauce on the chicken and cut the chicken up with kitchen shears on top of the salad.
I like how some of the salad wilts from the heat of the chicken, the flavor from the spicy bbq kicks up the intensity, and the crunch from the greens is delightful.
I bet if you ate one of my salads, you'll wonder why more people don't eat like this.
Tip #10 - Ditch or Swap Your Sweetener
Sugars and refined sugars are terrible for you. In moderation, there's no harm, but these are addictive and only cause trouble. Keeping the sugar to a minimum should be a priority of yours.
Instead of dumping a tablespoon of sugar into your oatmeal, try using fresh fruits, honey, or real maple syrup.
I personally love a little honey in my oatmeal. Ever since a buddy told me that trick, I've never used anything else.
The problem isn't that you're eating sugars, it's that these refined sugars are in everything and it's not healthy.
Make the Most out of Your Weight Loss Journey
Like I said earlier, I've lost a lot of weight from eating fast food. It's literally all I've had to eat.
Moderation is the biggest problem most people have. We are creatures of habit and once we are stuck in our ways, it takes a bit of willpower and planning to break these habits.
Once you start replacing your bad habits with healthier ones, you'll start to notice a trend of doing everything healthier.
You won't drive around for 10 minutes finding the closest spot to park, you won't have sugar cravings, and you will certainly look and feel better.
Quit listening to people telling you to completely ditch food groups; they just are repeating what their fat uncle did to lose 20 pounds once.
Utilize an 80/20 rule where 80% of your calories come from nutritious sources; preferably from the food you've cooked.
The other 20% of your calories can come from whatever, so planning to eat 2 pieces of pizza isn't going to kill you.