How to Make Food Part of Your Fitness Goals
Diet and exercise are the two foundational pillars of a fitness routine. Both are essential for a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. However, despite their equal importance, many people fail with their diets more often than their exercise routines. Eating the right foods throughout the day requires much more discipline than a one-hour workout.
If you’re struggling with your diet, you must use more creative methods to integrate healthy foods into your daily schedule. Here are six clever ways to make food a more influential part of your fitness goals.
- Try Meal Planning
Meal planning is an effective way to maintain a consistent diet with minimal effort. Instead of making a healthy meal three or four times a day, you make everything at the beginning of the week and put them in separate containers. You can take these holders anywhere and have something nutritious ready to go when you’re hungry.
This strategy ensures you stick to your goals throughout the week without hiccups. It also prevents cravings from setting in because your meals are already prepared. The food variety might not be ideal, but it’s much better than spending every day uncertain about how you will meet your caloric goals.
Additionally, meal planning will make you an excellent cook. Experienced food preppers aren’t master chefs, but they know how to use simple kitchen utensils to create gourmet-level meals. You’ll learn much more about food preparation — and about yourself — if you choose this strategy.
- Watch Your Portion Sizes
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to cut out certain foods to be a healthy eater. Quality is important, but quantity is the bigger problem for most people. Large portions prevent you from losing weight more often than the occasional unhealthy snack. You must control your portion sizes to reach your fitness goals.
Cutting down your portions is easier than you think. You can use psychological hacks like smaller plates and containers to make it feel like you’re eating a bigger meal. This simple trick limits your meal sizes throughout the day and can eliminate hundreds of calories without effort.
- Eat Filling Foods
A diet with lots of filling food is another great way to control your portion sizes. Many healthy foods are high in volume and low in calories — the ideal pairing for any eating plan. If you don’t have any restrictions, your meal plan should include lots of these foods:
- Whole eggs
- Leafy greens
- White fish
- Dairy products
These foods are just as delicious and much healthier than your favorite junk foods. Instead of having fast food, cook up some steak and potatoes. Rather than starting each day with unsatisfying sugary cereal, have a hearty meal of oatmeal or whole eggs. These decisions are the little things that will decide the fate of your fitness journey.
- Get Other People Involved
No matter your age or experience level, a reliable support system is crucial for achieving your fitness goals. If you’re having trouble eating the right foods, get other people to hold you accountable. Publicize your goals and share your meals on social media. Hire a personal trainer to optimize your diet. Ask your family to help organize your meal planning.
Getting other people involved in your fitness goals also brings communities together. You and other local enthusiasts could group your effort and passion and host a community event with healthy dishes.
Self-esteem is an often-overlooked part of eating habits. People who feel more secure in their social lives are less likely to stress eat, develop eating disorders and revert to old bad habits. Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing.
- Limit Liquid Calorie Consumption
If you’re still not progressing despite eating the right foods, liquid calories might be to blame. Soda, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and sugary fruit juices are packed with calories. They might not give you the same “full” feeling as junk food, but they’re equally effective at making you gain weight.
Many people have multiple cups of coffee, soda with lunch and a few alcoholic drinks in the evening. If this sounds like your daily pattern, you’re adding hundreds of empty calories to your daily intake without noticing. You can’t hope to reach your fitness goals if you regularly consume these beverages. Focus more on whole foods and less on unhealthy drinks.
- Stop Snacking
Snacking is another bad food habit that’s impeding your fitness goals. It throws off your appetite and offsets the rest of your other healthy eating routine. You need to establish a firm time frame to prevent untimely snacking. Meal planning can help eliminate grazing because you always have a healthy alternative.
Some people also improve their sleep and appetites by cutting out late-night snacks. You’ll be able to fall asleep more easily without a stomach full of processed food. Your body will also sleep deeper and longer because your digestive system won’t be as active.
Healthy Eating Shouldn’t Be a Chore
Maintaining a healthy diet is sometimes challenging, but it should never be a chore. You don’t have to starve yourself with chicken breasts and broccoli every day. On the contrary, your diet can be highly flexible and still contain all your favorite foods. You just need to plan your meals effectively, get support from your friends and eliminate those bad eating habits.
Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.
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