By Sherita Jennings –Blackdoctor.org
Hello, my name is Sharita and I have commitment issues – with dieting. I think it goes back to my inner rebel, and I just don’t like being told what I cannot have! Whatever my reason, I know that I am not alone in this boat of non-commital dieters. For us, we want to eat clean, lose weight and look good in jeans, but going cold turkey and cutting out all bad foods is just not the answer. Instead, we have to trick ourselves into cleaning up our eating habits.
I’ve come up with a list of three small diet hacks that will help to tweak the way you eat. You can try these individually or all at once. I suggest that you introduce one hack into your diet every 2 or 3 weeks before introducing the next. This way, you can get used to the new eating style and you won’t be overwhelmed with restrictions. Keep reading to find out what works best for you!
1. Track Your Meals
While this step doesn’t directly affect what you put on your fork, it will make a huge difference in your food consumption if you stick to it. For me, food tracking is the most difficult hack just because I tend to forget to log my food. But setting up reminders and using simple apps makes this a lot less painful. Apps like MyFitnessPal have a huge database of foods so you don’t have to count calories or anything. You plug in your food and it does the rest. The latest versions of this app will even remind you to log your food throughout the day!
When you stick with it, you’ll start to hold yourself accountable. Just the feeling alone of logging “2 slices of cheesecake and 1 large milkshake” in one day will make you step up your eating on the next day, trust me…
2. Scope Out And Reduce the Sugar
Note: this step is not about cutting out ALL sugars from your diet. That would be too scary for us commitment-phobes. Instead, this step is simply about taking a closer look at your foods and drinks for hidden sugars. For instance, My favorite cocktail, the margarita, has at least 30 grams of sugar in the mix alone. Even a health-nut’s best friend, peanut butter, can have excessive amounts of sugar. Once you find the sugar hiding in your foods, you can make smarter decisions. For instance, you might choose a less sugary margarita mix to still enjoy your favorite drink. Or you can pick up the organic peanut butter at the grocery store, which will save you from the sugar attack.
Also, pay close attention to the fruits you eat. Tropical fruits like pineapples and mangoes are loaded with sugar. Although it’s a natural sugar, it still has similar effects on your body in the long run. Keep in mind that sugar is an energy source. If we overindulge and don’t burn that sugar (which is hard to do) our bodies store it as fat!
3. Eat More Protein
If you’ve read any health or fitness publication in the last five years, this tip is not new to you. Still, I simply cannot stress enough how great protein is for improving your eating habits. Lean proteins, like chicken and fish, are low in calories but have some serious satisfying powers. They fill you up, provide nutrients, and support muscle growth, which in turn helps charge your metabolism to burn more fat for weight loss or maintenance. I mean, what else could you ask for?!
I get a lot of protein in my regular meals, but to add more, I like to have high-protein snacks around like Greek yogurt, turkey jerky, grilled chicken strips and egg white muffins. These options are typically lower in calories than chips or crackers, and they keep me full for much longer.
These are just three of many ways to make small, but powerful changes to your diet. What hacks have you tried? How did these work out for you?