Your eating habits are important when it comes to weight management. There is a lot of noise out there about ‘secret’ strategies from ‘celebrity’ dieticians and nutritionists. Anything described as a ‘secret revealed’ is pure marketing speak from the corporate fitness media, that is tasked with repackaging the same content month after month. Describing something as a ‘diet secret’ is just a way of re-wallpapering information so that it can be presented as new.
Here at BodyRock, we believe in simple, common sense approaches to weight loss that have been proven to work through experience and science. We’ve been helping people get in shape since 2008, and as the first fitness channel on YouTube ever, we’ve seen a lot of confusing and deceptive BS come from the mainstream fitness media in an effort to sell people on fad diets and whatever new book or program launch that they are getting paid to try and sell you.
The best approach to weight loss is to make small, achievable tweaks to your lifestyle that add up to profound changes over time. Let’s look at some small adjustments that we can make to your eating habits that will result in significant weight loss if practiced consistently.
Eat protein as part of your breakfast. People commonly skip or skimp on protein first thing in the morning. Protein is essential for keeping your metabolism revving, building fat incinerating lean muscle (make sure that you are strength training - if you need a place to get started with strength training try our Sculpt & Burn workout series on BodyRockPlus.com) and for helping you establish feelings of fullness, which will help you avoid snacking and overeating. Protein at breakfast will set up your day for success, don’t skip it. Quick and relatively easy breakfast protein options include: hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nut-butters, protein shakes or bars. Think about picking up some cooked turkey or chicken sausages that just need to be heated up.
Difficulty: 1.5/5 - plan to have your protein options within easy reach.
Drink water first thing in the morning. Before you eat or drink anything else, drink between ½ a litre to a full litre of water. You can spike it with lemon or lime juice if you need a flavour kick. Most people wake up dehydrated, and the brain can confuse these signals for hunger. Getting a shot of water into your system will rehydrate you after hours of sleeping, and help you avoid reaching for excess liquid calories in coffee drinks, soda and high sugar juices. Drinking water first thing in the morning will also help you start to establish water as your go-to drink.
Difficulty: 1.5/5 - remember to have your water prepared and waiting for you.
Impact: 3.5 - this will rise as you continue to choose water over other drinks during the rest of your day.
Cover half your plate with vegetables. This is an incredibly powerful tactic that has the potential to transform your diet. The basic rule here is to cover at least half your plate with a vegetable mix. The low calorie, high fiber, healthy macronutrient assortment of veggies will fill you up and make your meals less calorie heavy, while at the same time boosting your intake of antioxidants. ProTip: If you are still feeling hungry after your first portion, head back for seconds. It’s extremely hard to overeat vegetables - so fill up!
Difficulty: 1.5/5 - have a bag or two of frozen veggie mixes in the fridge.
Caution: avoid calorie rich sauces. Spike for flavour with salt, pepper, olive oil, hot sauces.
Axe your sugar intake by half. Processed foods like cereal, drinks like soda, sports drinks, flavoured coffees from starbucks etc are loaded with sugar and excess calories with little to no nutritional value. Start cutting down these sugar bombs by half (to start). Examples: Go for 1 sugar packet in your coffee instead of 2. At starbucks, ask for half the number of flavour pumps in your coffee. Eat 1 cookie instead of 2. Drink diet soda instead of regular. There are going to be multiple opportunities for you to cut back on your sugar intake daily, you just need to pay attention to what you are doing and what you are ordering.
Difficulty: 3.5/5 - The challenge is to keep a sense of mindfulness around what you are doing, and not be shy about asking for alternatives.
Impact: 5/5 - reducing refined sugar whenever and wherever possible will be an ongoing series of adjustments that you can make which will lead to huge wins for your weight loss efforts and overall health and well-being.
Plan your meals in advance. This is going to be a bit of work, but planning your meals for the week will yield significant dividends when it comes to your weight loss success. If you are following a meal plan (and you absolutely should be) planning your meals based on your plan so that they are readily available when you need them will offset the chances of you eating out, ordering takeaways, or making other snap food decisions when you are hungry and unprepared. If you don’t have a structured plan that supports both your exercise and weight loss goals then finding yourself unprepared will almost certainly result in you making less than optimal food choices. A single unplanned meal that you grab on the go can undo a day's worth of weight management efforts. If this happens a few times per week, then your progress is going to slow, then stall. Taking the dedicated time to execute on your meal plan by prepping your meals ahead of time eliminates almost all of this risk and will empower you to stay on track. If you are truly serious about a successful weight loss outcome, you will invest in both a meal plan, and the time it takes to plan and prepare your food.
Difficulty: 4.5/5 - The first few meal prep sessions will be the most difficult, especially because you have likely never put this amount of focus and effort into your diet before. As time goes on, the difficulty level will begin to reduce until eventually this practice will just become part of your healthy lifestyle.
Impact: 5/5 - being prepared is a total game changer.
Split your portion when eating out. If you are eating a meal out at a restaurant or ordering takeout, split 1 portion in half and share it with a friend, family member or loved one. Restaurant portion sizes are obscene, typically packing enough calories to feed between 2-3 adults. The rule here is, if you are ordering it, you are splitting it. This will not just save you a massive amount of calories, it will also save you money. If you are eating out alone, ask for a half portion and have them box the rest before it even arrives at your table. Do not take the boxed portion home, unless someone else is going to eat it immediately. If no one else is waiting to eat it, hand your box off to someone in need on the walk home or to your car.
Difficulty: 2.5/5 - remember to ask for half the portion to be boxed before it is brought to the table.
Impact: 4.5/5 - eliminates a lot of the damage done by massive portion sizes and highly caloric restaurant meals. Ideally however, you avoid eating out for the most part and follow your meal plan and execution prep.
These are some foundational eating habits that will help to jumpstart your weight loss progress and support your workouts. Review this list on a regular basis and look for opportunities to make small, achievable changes to your daily routine. Aim for the small wins - given enough time and measured consistency, these small changes will add up to the weight loss outcome you are aiming for.
Also, if you like the vibe that we approach things here at BodyRock, come and try a workout with us. If you are new to exercise or it’s been a minute since you’ve trained in a serious way, come and give our Beginner Bootcamp a try. It’s a 30 day program that has been specifically designed to get you up and moving again, pushing you in an achievable way forward. We’d love to have you. You can start the Beginner Bootcamp on our fitness streaming service BodyRockPlus.com (get 1 full year of unlimited access for just $69 with the code: NY22).