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3 Simple Eating Habits You Should Know

3 Simple Eating Habits You Should Know

An important component of any healthy, active lifestyle is what you eat. Your food is your fuel, and not just any old fuel will do. You can exercise all you want, but if you’re filling up on unhealthy foods, you’re cancelling out all that hard work you put in at the gym. Healthy eating habits can transform the way you look and the way you feel, giving your exercise routine a boost in the right direction. Here’s how. #1: Eat REAL foods – highly-processed foods from fast-food restaurants and packaged items from the grocery store are packed with calories, sugar, and preservatives. REAL foods, on the other hand, are minimally-processed. Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and eggs are all good examples of unprocessed foods you should be looking for.Real foods do require more effort; because many of these foods require cooking or preparation, you can’t just grab them and go. That’s actually another benefit of them, however. It forces you to think about what you eat. If your food has an ingredient list that covers the package or contains unpronounceable chemical names, there’s a good chance it’s not good for you. #2: Count your calories – it’s basic science when discussing calories. If you take in fewer calories through eating or exercise to burn off more calories, you WILL lose weight. The best way to get a handle on your calorie intake is to keep detailed logs of the foods you eat. EVERYTHING must go into that log, even the snacks you sneak at work. There are plenty of online calorie counters to make it as easy as possible to keep track of your daily eating habits.Once you know how many calories you’re taking in, you can find places to eliminate them. Since 3500 calories represents about a pound of fat, eliminating that number from your weekly calorie intake means you’ll lose roughly a pound a week.   Cutting out snacks or eating a smaller lunchtime meal are great ways to eliminate those extra calories that are holding you back. #3: Take in a balance of nutrients – to eat healthy, we must balance what foods we eat with the nutrients they contain. We’ve all heard that active people require different food proportions than others, but what does that really mean?We all know that the three major components of food are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The easiest way to look at balancing nutrients is this: proteins and fats are good for active people, while carbohydrates are not. Protein needs to make up the major portion of any healthy diet. An ideal target is to take in 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight, up to a maximum of 200 grams per day. Proteins help rebuild muscles that are broken down during exercise.Fats are another important component. It sounds counterintuitive to suggest that active people need MORE fats in their diets; the truth is that there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. The fats from foods like nuts, avocados, and olive oil are great. The fats from whole milk products, meats, and coconut milk can also be beneficial.Carbohydrates come from the sugars found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Most people looking to eat more healthy need to eliminate a lot of these carbohydrates out of their diets, especially those that come from processed foods. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is ok; eating a box of Twinkies is not. Endurance athletes are the one exception to the “eat less carbs” rule…many such athletes need as many calories as possible to have fuel for performance.

An important component of any healthy, active lifestyle is what you eat. Your food is your fuel, and not just any old fuel will do. You can exercise all you want, but if you’re filling up on unhealthy foods, you’re cancelling out all that hard work you put in at the gym. Healthy eating habits can transform the way you look and the way you feel, giving your exercise routine a boost in the right direction. Here’s how.


 


#1: Eat REAL foods – highly-processed foods from fast-food restaurants and packaged items from the grocery store are packed with calories, sugar, and preservatives. REAL foods, on the other hand, are minimally-processed. Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and eggs are all good examples of unprocessed foods you should be looking for.


Real foods do require more effort; because many of these foods require cooking or preparation, you can’t just grab them and go. That’s actually another benefit of them, however. It forces you to think about what you eat. If your food has an ingredient list that covers the package or contains unpronounceable chemical names, there’s a good chance it’s not good for you.


 


#2: Count your calories – it’s basic science when discussing calories. If you take in fewer calories through eating or exercise to burn off more calories, you WILL lose weight. The best way to get a handle on your calorie intake is to keep detailed logs of the foods you eat. EVERYTHING must go into that log, even the snacks you sneak at work. There are plenty of online calorie counters to make it as easy as possible to keep track of your daily eating habits.


Once you know how many calories you’re taking in, you can find places to eliminate them. Since 3500 calories represents about a pound of fat, eliminating that number from your weekly calorie intake means you’ll lose roughly a pound a week.   Cutting out snacks or eating a smaller lunchtime meal are great ways to eliminate those extra calories that are holding you back.


 


#3: Take in a balance of nutrients – to eat healthy, we must balance what foods we eat with the nutrients they contain. We’ve all heard that active people require different food proportions than others, but what does that really mean?


We all know that the three major components of food are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The easiest way to look at balancing nutrients is this: proteins and fats are good for active people, while carbohydrates are not. Protein needs to make up the major portion of any healthy diet. An ideal target is to take in 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight, up to a maximum of 200 grams per day. Proteins help rebuild muscles that are broken down during exercise.


Fats are another important component. It sounds counterintuitive to suggest that active people need MORE fats in their diets; the truth is that there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. The fats from foods like nuts, avocados, and olive oil are great. The fats from whole milk products, meats, and coconut milk can also be beneficial.


Carbohydrates come from the sugars found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Most people looking to eat more healthy need to eliminate a lot of these carbohydrates out of their diets, especially those that come from processed foods. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is ok; eating a box of Twinkies is not. Endurance athletes are the one exception to the “eat less carbs” rule…many such athletes need as many calories as possible to have fuel for performance.

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