What Happens When You Start Eating Healthy
HOW TO START EATING HEALTHY AND WHAT IT MEANS
Health is more than wealth. A strong and healthy body translates to a fuller, happier life. So while switching to a healthier diet is not easy, the benefits are definitely worth it.
Healthy eating is not a diet. It is a way of living that does not require you to starve yourself nor to eat anything that you don’t want to. Healthy eating can become a habit, just like drinking your morning coffee or going to bed at 10 pm every night. It won’t be an easy ride, but once you manage to make it habit, it will come naturally.
Here’re the 5 most important things that you’ll need to pay attention to for turning healthy eating into your next best habit.
HEALTHY EATING CHECKLIST
1) PROCESSED FOODS: NAY, WHOLE FOODS: YAY
Whole foods means everything that is unprocessed or has gone through only a minimum level of necessary processing. You can think about them as foods that you could pick up from your little farm (if you had one) and put straight on the dinning table after cooking.
So things like vegetables, fruits and whole grains belong to the whole foods category. While your favorite cheat meals, like truffle fries or strawberry cheesecake most definitely don’t.
Processing usually diminishes the nutrient contents of food and increases ingredients that your body does not need, like sugar and sodium. Hence, as a general rule of thumb you should minimise processed foods in your diet and eat whole foods instead.
2) DON’T JUST COUNT YOUR CALORIES, BUT YOUR MACROS AS WELL
Counting your calories is a great start as it gives you an indication on how much you should eat. But you should not get fixated on calories.
Your macronutrients intake is just as, if not more important than calories. Because all calories are not created equally, 100 calories of chocolate won’t give you the same energy as 100 calories of broccoli.
Make sure you monitor your progress to stay motivated. Check out how in our Ultimate Tracking Guide.
First of all, the quantity of 100 calories of chocolate is a lot less than 100 calories of broccoli. Secondly, and most importantly, the quality of nutrients gained from broccoli highly surpasses that of chocolate.
3) DON’T DRINK EMPTY CALORIES
Sodas and pre-packed fruit juices are the sneakiest calorie and sugar sources. The reason behind this is that most people would be very surprised how much sugar and how many calories are hidden in a single glass of them. And of course it’s really easy to chug couple of glasses when you’re thirsty.
Plus we also tend to assume that the words ‘fruit’ and ‘healthy’ come hand in hand . Well, the said truth is that they don’t. Supermarket shelves are stacked with artificial fruit juices that are pumped up with refined sugars and other flavour enhancers. These obviously won’t do any good to your diet.
So my #1 health-conscious advice in this department is water. Water is the single best cure for thirst and the only liquid that comes with 0 calories and 0 unhealthy additives. And if you crave something with more flavour, go for a fresh pressed juice or a smoothie.
4) AVOID SNACKING
Snacks are just like sodas. You can easily get to a couple hundred calories by simply eating a little piece of this and that every hour or so. Because a handful of peanuts won’t do any harm, right? One might not, but when that one handful becomes 3 and then 5, the calories easily add up.
So instead of jumping on anything you see in the snack cupboard, be conscious about your snacks and prep something healthy in advance. Veggies, like carrots or celery are always a good choice. Low in calories, high in nutrients.
5) EAT SMALLER PORTION SIZES
Finally, portion sizes are another tricky issue, especially in the US. Packed food sizes, meal sizes in restaurants and even plate sizes tend to get bigger and bigger exceeding the recommended serving sizes by far. As your brain adjusts to these increased sizes, your body also gets used to eating more. And the end result of this little chain is overeating.
However you can say no to the excess calories and teach your body to get used to the recommended healthy portions. There are a couple of tricks to do this starting from using smaller plates and putting away the extra food to skipping appetizers when eating out. But the most effective method in our opinion is ‘Mindful Eating’.
Now that we laid down the basis, it’s time to look at how your body changes once you start eating healthy!