Choosing the best diet or nutrition plan to stay in shape can seem overwhelming; there are so many options out there, and with a plethora of celebrities and nutritionists endorsing different methods, that picking the one that’s best for us – and will have the highest chance of success – can leave us baffled.
Use the guide below to help sort the wheat from the chaff, and figure out a sensible way to stay in shape that is long-term and sustainable.
Getting sufficient protein in your daily diet is vital: protein is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, and it also keeps us feeling fuller for longer, meaning that your efforts to get in shape are much more likely to be successful if you’re getting enough of it.
Protein is an inherent part of every single cell in our bodies and serves to build and repair these cells, as well as muscles and bones, and also to produce hormones and enzymes. It provides energy, promotes a well-functioning immune system, and can even improve the condition of your hair, skin, and nails. These are just a few of the benefits that getting sufficient protein can deliver to your health and wellbeing.
Luckily, upping your protein intake is easy. Make sure that you’re eating some high-quality protein at every meal: this could be in the form of meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, and pulses. Throughout the day, ditch sugary snacks or crisps and nibble on nuts, cubes of cheese, or Greek yogurt, instead. Choosing whole grain versions of food will also give your protein intake a boost, and quinoa particularly is a protein powerhouse.
Our busy lives can often be the biggest obstacle to our health and fitness plans; getting home after a busy day at work, helping the kids with the homework, dealing with housework – at the end of all this, when you’re hungry, it’s the easiest thing in the world to grab something quick and calorie-laden from the fridge or to order in a takeaway.
Meal planning can help with this and is one of the cornerstones of all credible healthy-eating plans. Simply planning out your meals a week in advance means that you can get organized and be more likely to eat nutritiously every day. It’s a great way to save money, too.
To help get you started, or if you’ve got into a bit of a food rut and would like some inspiration, have a look at this Blue Apron weight loss review for the information on a plan that can deliver a tempting range of meals to your door with pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, so you can enjoy wholesome, healthy dishes every night of the week, without the hassle of deciding what to cook and shopping for supplies.
Be wary of any diet plan that suggests you can get in shape simply by cutting down on your calorie intake. The best way to achieve and maintain good health is to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. But exercise doesn’t have to be high-impact or happen at the gym if these things aren’t for you.
Incorporate movement into your life at every opportunity; if you can, get out for half an hour during your lunch break to walk around the block, or try getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way home. If you’re sitting behind a desk all day, set an alarm and perform a few minutes of yoga stretches every hour, or do a couple of circuits of the office before getting your head down again.
If you struggle to maintain motivation for a daily workout, try carrying it out in front of a favorite tv program and, at work, suggest having a ‘walking meeting’ with a colleague, rather than discussing matters sitting around a desk. There are lots of little hacks to incorporate more movement into your daily life – just think creatively!
At the foundation of most of the health plans that are endorsed by both celebrities and nutritionists is the restriction of refined sugar in our diets. Cutting right back on sugar will help to regulate your blood sugar and energy levels and can even reduce feelings of lethargy. A few simple little switch-outs can help you decrease your sugar consumption while still satisfying cravings for something sweet.
If you usually sprinkle sugar over your breakfast cereal, try topping it with sliced fruit instead. Get rid of sugary soft drinks, and enjoy carbonated water with natural flavorings as an alternative or a homemade smoothie. Be mindful of the sauces you’re adding to your meals, too: ketchup and barbeque sauce, for example, are loaded with sugar – some contain more sugar, spoon for spoon, than ice cream! Try using herbs and spices, lemon juice, or pesto instead to add flavor without piling on the sugar. Finally, eating whole, unprocessed foods is one of the easiest ways to avoid excess sugars, and these options tend to be healthier choices all around.