“Your body’s size is built in the kitchen, your shape is built in the gym.”
Maybe you’ve heard this saying before? There’s a lot of truth in it.
Exercise is a fantastic way to sculpt your body and improve many aspects of your health, but when it comes to dropping a few extra pounds, cleaning up your diet is the place to start.
But who really wants to go on a diet? Nobody.
If giving up your favorite foods and nibbling on carrot sticks doesn’t sound that appealing, know that there is still hope. Here are 4 ways you can drastically clean up your diet to help you start working on that leaner body.
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Exercise? Aren’t we talking about healthy eating? Daily exercise actually has a huge impact on the foods you will naturally choose to eat.
A new study found that “exercise influences central brain responses [and] positively affects food choices that reinforce health and weight management.”
When you get your body moving you create subconscious signals in your brain that will drive you to search out healthier foods to eat. Instead of battling food cravings and relying on willpower to make healthy choices, you will actually desire healthier foods!
Drink More Water
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How much water do you drink each day? (Don’t just guess – measure it for one full day to find out!) Most adults are chronically dehydrated and you might be one of them.
Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism and can create “fake” food cravings. Dehydration can be easily misinterpreted as hunger, which leads to increased snacking, often on foods you’d likely prefer to avoid.
On the other hand, drinking extra water before meal times has been shown to decrease calorie consumption by 13% - That’s a big reduction and requires no effort to consciously eat less food.
The general rule of thumb for proper hydration goes like this: Women need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day (plus more if you’re exercising), while men need to start with 10 glasses.
Drink up and you’ll be teaching your body to crave (and eat) less food.
Cut Out Drinks With Calories
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Drinking water is a major plus when it comes to improving your diet. But, drinking any sweetened drinks is an even bigger negative.
The average person drinks 400 calories each day – That’s 20% of their total daily calorie needs! What’s worse, these calories are easy to overlook because they don’t satiate hunger the way solid food does.
The net result of drinking high-calorie drinks is a diet full of sugar and one that doesn’t ever feel satisfying. Instead, clean up your diet by cutting out the sugary drinks and replace your fluids by drinking more water.
Practice Bulk Cooking
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Imagine coming home on a completely empty stomach. What are you going to eat? If you’re like most people, you'll grab whatever food is ready to be stuffed into your mouth.
Convenience is a huge factor that influences food decisions, so make it convenient to eat healthier options.
This requires a little planning. Instead of making one meal at a time (which can leave your fridge lacking any ready-to-eat options), try preparing one or two healthy meals in bulk each week.
Choose a couple of simple recipes that will store well as leftovers, prepare a large batch, and then enjoy the feeling of opening your fridge and seeing healthy, convenient food waiting for you!
You don't have to cut out all the foods you love when you clean up your diet. Practice these simple healthy-eating principles and your diet will clean up without much effort from you at all.
Cover photo courtesy of PumpUp member @meeeko. Pinterest graphic photos via PumpUp members routine_sportive, herr_nutrition, itsmiraz, and barbaraptowers.
About the Author
Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” by CanFitPro. You can find more of his healthy-living resources at makeyourbodywork.com.