Starting a diet and exercise program can be overwhelming. To be successful you need to put in a good deal of planning and preparation before you begin your new lifestyle.
For some simple tips on how to get started, we went to nutritionist Helen Hussey at Memorial Health.
“Usually the best place to start is to look at what you currently eat: look at how much refined grains; the unprocessed food versus the processed food that you currently eat,” said Hussey. “If you are living out of a box or a bag, chances are you are eating a high processed food diet that can be high in sodium, high in calories, high in fat and overall not nutritious.”
Hussey says start your exercise and diet program gradually. You are more likely to quit your program if you make large changes at once, because you are not fitting your new routine into your current lifestyle.
“Look at what you currently do and what modifications you can make,” said Hussey. “The little changes you make along the way last longer. You don’t really want to cut out one food group at one time. It’s not something you can keep for a lifetime,”said Hussey.
Rather than cutting out entire food groups, add something good to your diet.
“Fruit and dairy are your best options to have on hand to keep you away from those processed foods,” said Hussey.
Hussey says look at your diet and first try and cut out any fried or overly processed foods.
Next, make the switch from white processed flour to whole grain and high-fiber foods.
If you feel the urge to snack pick up a piece of fruit or low fat dairy snack, such as yogurt or cheese instead.
Stock your fridge full of low-calorie food, have exercise equipment easily accessible or even move your bathroom scale to a prominent place as a reminder.
Let’s face it, willpower is hard to attain, which is why if your house and office are loaded with foods that tempt you, you’re starting at a disadvantage. The solution? Do a sweep of your environment and eliminate danger or trigger foods. Even if you have to keep these foods around the house for your kids, buy brands you don’t like.
Instead of a candy bar at 3 in the afternoon, substitute a piece of fresh fruit. Keep baby carrots in the refrigerator so you have something to eat at night besides ice cream.
Do your research. Use the Internet to find healthy recipes, healthy food substitutions and alternatives. Learn how to identify healthy diet choices from unhealthy ones.
Involve friends and family members. You are more likely to stay motivated if you are working together with someone else who is also starting or maintaining a diet and exercise program.
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