Individuals who find it hard to lose weight and get in shape quickly think that fit people and celebrities are hiding some grand secret. The truth is, getting in shape quickly is as simple as adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes a change of a person’s dietary habits.
Eating, sleeping, and working out are all intrinsically connected to successfully maintaining a lean figure. In terms of eating habits, these are the top 16 changes you need to make right now if you are looking to get into shape quickly.
Resist the allure of fad diets
One look at health magazines and online health portals, and you’ll be bombarded with all sorts of diets that promise quick results. Although it’s highly alluring to lose 10 kilos in a week, these diets aren’t particularly healthy.
In most cases, fad diets require you to drop an important type of food from your diet, such as carbs or fat. This creates an imbalance of nutrients in your organism, in the long run, hurting your health more than it benefits you. Getting in shape quickly is possible. It’s a gradual process rather than a magical fix!
Fats aren’t all that bad
One of the biggest myths of weight loss is the necessity to drop fatty foods from your diet. This is completely wrong, as there are healthy fats that your body needs to function properly. By avoiding foods that contain these fats, you are actually worsening the situation, as you will feel perpetual hunger if you drip certain types of food.
This happens because fats control your blood-sugar levels, thus helping you reduce the craving for sweets. To help keep the level of healthy fats in your body checked, consume foods such as avocado, nuts, olives, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, etc.
Don’t skip breakfast
You have probably heard a thousand times that skipping breakfast will help you lose weight. This is a common fallacy, as skipping breakfast will actually lead to gaining extra weight. Namely, the first meal of the day jumpstarts your metabolism, so breakfast should be healthy, not non-existent. Go for a light meal composed of healthy and low-calorie foods, such as cereals.
Drink enough water daily
It might not seem like much, but water is the best beverage out there. Still, people drink all sorts of drinks, from coffee to energy drinks, thinking that water doesn’t have what they need daily. In reality, drinking enough water every day improves your skin’s health, flushes your kidneys, energizes your muscles, controls the intake of calories, and maintains the balance of body fluids.
Eight glasses of water or some 2 liters per day are going to be the basis of your new diet. These figures are the bare minimum, as you should drink more if you are physically active or practice sports professionally. The reason why you won’t see an obese athlete (not even sumo wrestlers) is that they remember to drink enough calorie-free water. The more water you drink, the more full you’ll feel and the less you’ll eat.
Hit the sack early
You are probably aware that there is a correlation between sleep and weight loss, but did you know that you lose weight just by going to bed at the same time for a full week? That’s how much sleep is important if you want to get fit and alter your diet. As mentioned in the introduction, improved eating habits are worthless unless you start to exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Since sleep deprivation leads directly to weight gain, you should hit the sack early and get the required 8 hours of sleep per day. Mind you, this number of hours is uniform for all people, as some individuals need less (6 or 7 hours), while others need at least 10 hours of sleep; it all depends on the body’s metabolism.
Eat less but more often
Speaking of metabolism, our stomach is faced with a challenge when it has to digest a lot of food at once. Therefore, we should strain our stomach too much and try to eat smaller meals but more frequently. If you want to get in shape quickly, drop the “three meals and two snacks daily” rule.
To stop yourself from overeating and manage your cravings simultaneously, you should consume six smaller meals per day. Typically, you will start to feel hungry 3 hours after you have eaten your last meal, so eating six well-timed meals (with enough time between them) result in never feeling hungry enough to be tempted to snack on unhealthy food.
Boost protein intake
In most cases, it is bodybuilders who are advised to eat protein-rich foods. Eggs, meat, fish, and nuts aren’t something you should be chewing on if you wish to become fit, are they? Well, the body requires extra energy to process protein, which kicks your metabolism into fifth gear. As a result, more fat gets burned, and extra kilograms start melting on their own.
This is reason enough not to shy away from foods loaded with protein. If you aren’t too fond of foods rich in protein, you should consider natural protein supplements that athletes normally consume. These include protein bars that are made from whole foods, whey, and collagen. Whey protein isolates boast 90% protein content, thus enhancing muscular recovery.
Use pre-workout drinks
Working out and physical activity, in general, is essential if you want a carved-out body. Apart from hitting the gym several times a week, you should eat well and use pre-workout shakes. These can be purchased ready-made, and they contain a flavored blend of amino acids.
These pre-workout shakes should be stored inside the fridge to preserve freshness and prolong their lifespan. You will feel energized after you drink one of these shakes, and you’ll feel more alert, which is the ideal prerequisite for a perfect workout.
Do you really know when you are hungry?
If you think that you eat when you feel hungry, you are wrong. There are external cues that can set off hunger when, in reality, you are full. These subconscious signals are socially conditioned. For instance, if a colleague cracks open a bag of candy, you will suddenly feel the urge to consume something sweet.
Train your willpower to resist these misleading external cues, because they can off-balance your biorhythm and ruin your efforts to get fit quickly. Listening to internal hunger cues is essential if you wish to avoid obesity.
Calories are not to be imbibed
Not all calories are of the same quality. For example, the caloric content of sugary drinks such as sodas, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, and energy drinks are loaded with empty calories. Not only do these drinks have no nutritional value, but their sugar content will make you overweight if you consume them over a prolonged period. The worst-case scenario is getting hooked to a fizzy drink, at which point you can say goodbye to a healthy lifestyle.
Read what the labels say
The laws regulating the production and distribution across the planet are getting stricter by the years, so consumers can read more and more info off labels. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing because consumers are overwhelmed with unimportant information.
We have trouble discerning what is important and what isn’t, so feel free to skip the front label and go for the table stating the food’s energy value in the back label. The calories present inside the product should be of good quality, which you can incur from the ingredients list.
Reduce the number of times you eat out
If you’re a self-conscientious person, you probably look at the supermarket’s aforementioned food labels. In fact, you might have become so obsessed with the number of the calories and ingredients in different meals that you are asking the waiter to tell you the energy value of a steak or soup.
Although this seems like a good idea, knowing too much about your food can be a bad thing, or the atmosphere of food joints can thwart the meal from being digested properly.
On the other side, eating at home means that you get a chance to eat at peace and consume ingredients you choose yourself. Perhaps you own an organic vegetable garden, so you can make a salad healthier than any restaurant could.
Added sugars are extremely bad
We’ve mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t drop any food group from your diet. Sugar is often targeted as bad weight-gaining food, but many foods contain sugar naturally. Fruit is loaded with sugar, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop eating apples, for example.
The problem can occur if you wish to purchase apple juice. Then you will notice on the packaging that the sugar content (labeled as carbohydrates) is way higher than naturally occurring in fruit. This is because of all the added sugars, which aren’t the healthiest food supplement.
If you consume foods with extra sugar, such as cakes, bread, ice-cream, jam, etc., then you eat tons of empty calories, thus increasing the risk of weight gain. Sticking to naturally occurring sugars (mostly found in fruit and dairy products) prevents all those surplus calories from sticking to your body.
When it comes to getting in shape quickly and losing weight at the same time, vegetables are power foods. They contain various nutrients but are low on calories, making them ideal foods to incorporate in your balanced diet.
However, consuming vegetables on their own can turn into a hassle because they are best eaten as salads or used as healthy snacking options. Since vegetables are rich in fiber, they will help you lose weight by increasing satiety.
Like we’ve said, you should find a smart way to add vegetables to your daily diet. Your breakfast can be supplemented with diced veggies in addition to eggs and salsa sauce. Dinner and lunch are meals that are ideal for adding to collard greens on the side of the table. Coupled with tomato sauce, they are the ideal substitute for bread or tortilla.
Look for foods with at least 50% whole grain
Today, we consider pizzas and burgers as fast food, but in biblical times, grains and nuts were the food of choice who wanted to prepare a fast meal. Back in the day, grain wasn’t as refined as it is today, so you should make a trip back in time and strive to eat food with over 50 percent whole-grain content. Ideally, this percentage should be 100%, but these grains are somewhat harder to find.
The sources of refined grains you should avoid are bagels, pasty, and white bread. The biggest benefit of switching to a whole grain diet is the increase in fiber intake. Over time, this will result in losing weight because you are eating less detrimental byproducts of industrial refining.
Wear a pedometer when you go out
After you have eaten good-quality food, you need to burn those calories. A simple walk in the park is enough for seniors to burn excess fat, but you still need to track your progress. Pedometers were once like beepers (who remembers those, ha?), but nowadays, they are downloadable apps that make tracking your number of steps a walk in the park, pun intended.
Although the figures vary for different sexes, it is estimated that some 10,000 steps per day are a goal every person can meet. Of course, you will make many more steps if you plan on being physically active but try to stick to this milestone even during the days you are resting.
Getting in shape quickly is not miraculous, but it is certainly achievable with the right eating, sleeping, and working out habits. From resisting the allure of fad diets to wearing a pedometer, there are 16 dietary habits you can adopt to lose weight quickly and build muscle mass. We recommend adopting them one by one since getting into shape is, before all, a process that takes requires time, even it was a couple of weeks or even months; don’t rush it!
Featured Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash