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Aiming to finally shed those extra pounds? Striving to pack on a bit of muscle? Whatever your fitness goals may be, changing your diet is equally as important as any workouts you may do. Here are a few helpful tips that you may wish to keep in mind:
Don’t Let Your Hunger Get the Best of You
Skipping meals or allowing yourself to get extremely hungry before finally eating may seem like a solid strategy for shedding pounds, but in reality, this method is far too likely to backfire. The brain’s ability to make rational decisions is objectively impaired when basic needs such as hunger escalate — which, in simple terms, means you are likely to give in to temptation and overindulge.
Calorie logs and food journals can be important weapons in the fight to control your diet — but only if you use them honestly! Fudging the numbers can create a false sense of security that will actually become counterproductive, so make it a point to count calories accurately, even when those accurate results are frustrating or disappointing.
Feed Your Muscles
After a hard workout, a balanced meal with both proteins and carbohydrates will enable your muscles to grow in a healthily optimized manner.
Natural Colors = Vitamins
Generally speaking, a colorful plate means a vitamin-rich meal. (At least as long as those colors come from a natural source and not artificial food coloring!)
Downsize…by Investing in Smaller Plates
Feeling “full” is just as psychological as it is physical, and studies have shown that eating from smaller plates helps facilitate a sense of satisfaction and fullness after less food.
Replace Salt with Spice
The negative health effects of salt are well-documented — but enjoying your meals to their fullest is important, for the reasons discussed in point 5. This is why simply “cutting salt” tends to be ineffective. Instead, try using delicious and healthy spices and fresh garnishes such as parsley, curry, garlic, chili peppers, oregano, etc.
Take Your Sweet Time With Sweets and Treats
One last point about satisfaction and fullness: as we discussed in a recent Top Fitness Magazine article, mindful eating can also help reduce overindulging and other unhealthy habits.
Hone Your Cooking Skills
Another archived Top Fitness Magazine article worth checking out: our beginner’s guide to cooking!
Dine before Parties and Events
Social events oftentimes present the perfect environment and excuse for overindulgence — nip this problem in the bud by having a healthy and hearty snack before hitting the town.
Sleep the Pounds Away
Last but certainly not least, you should know that multiple peer-reviewed studies have suggested a strong link between insufficient sleep and weight gain. This connection has multiple explanations. For example, sleep deprivation harms decision-making skills while increasing impulsiveness — and it also leads to out-of-balance hormone production that hinders healthy metabolism. The bottom line? If you aren’t catching enough Zs, your body is sure to pay the price one way or another!