Nutrition is key when it comes to losing weight, toning up and trading fat for muscle. 80% of how you feel and look depends on your nutrition, the other 20% is your physical activity. Case in point, you can't work off poor nutrition, period. Here are 5 tips to try if you are stuck in a rut, need a boost or change in your routine:
1. Rethink your drink! – Sports drinks, sodas and juice are all high in sugar, which is a fat inhibitor. Our bodies process these sugars as carbohydrates and what we don’t burn gets stored as fat. Our bodies react the same way to sugar free drinks like diet soda or sugar free water additives. While they may be calorie free, you are still not doing your body any good by consuming these artificial products. Instead opt for water and lots of it. Drink at least 64 oz a day minimum and aim to drink half your body weight in water in ounces per day. Adding in lemons, or infusing your water over night with foods like berries, melon, apples or cucumber is a much better flavor alternative and tastes great too. Hydrating your body well will actually help you retain less water, cut the bloat, aid in digestion and help clear up your skin.
3. Fruit- Yes, we all know fruit is good for us, but did you know that there are better times of the day to consume fruit than others? The best time to consumer larger amounts of fruit is right when you wake up on an empty stomach or as snack between your breakfast and lunch. The average person should also be getting between 2 – 2 ½ cups of fruit per day (this is also determined by your current body weight and your weight loss goals). And when all else fails, be sure to avoid eating fruit close to your bedtime. Even though fruit is loaded with fiber, our bodies still process the natural sugars in fruit as sugars/carbohydrates. It is harder for our bodies to process sugars during our inactive times like sleep. The sugar in the fruit will also increase your energy making it more difficult to sleep, so all you insomniacs take heed and remember this tip.
4. Track your nutrition – Paying attention to detail could be just what you need. When you first start out on your weight loss and health journey drastic changes happen, but it’s when they stop happening that we become discouraged. To continue to lose weight and reach your goals, you’ll need to create a consistent calorie deficit — how many calories you’re consuming and how many you’re burning. The only way to truly know is to track your caloric intake for every meal and snack you eat. Yes, it may sound tedious, but it works and there is plenty of research out there to back up this claim. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that the more consistent a person was at keeping a food log, the more weight they lost. Try using the free My Fitness Pal app on your phone or computer or a device like the fitbit, which tracks your steps, caloric intake, caloric burn for the day and sleep patterns. The My Fitness Pal mobile app also has a helpful macro nutrients pie graph that helps you record how many fat, protein and carbohydrates you are consuming each day. By doing this simple task, you will soon realize how many calories you burn on a day-to-day basis and how much you need to eat to hit your target.