There is so much information out there when it comes to losing weight. I am one to put my hand up and say yep I am over the confusing and misleading messages, diet trends or quick fix diets.
You have come to a place that promotes all things eco-friendly, cruelty-free and health pro. This means that I am not going to suggest the consumption of meat, dairy or eggs in this healthy eating information. If you do eat meat, dairy and eggs do not fret! You can still learn from these effective healthy lessons because they apply to all lifestyles.
These lessons are the basics that everyone should know when starting a healthy lifestyle for the sake of your body and your well being.
Let’s get started!
1. Cut out Processed Sugar
Sugar is a big no, no when it comes to health and weight loss gains. Sugar provides little to no nutritional benefit and in excess causes easy weight gain.
Foods that are high in processed sugar are soft drinks, packaged juice, commercial ice coffee, lollies, chocolate, cereals, snack bars and yogurt.
Now you may be thinking, what! Cereal, yogurt, juice!?
This comes down to the brand of these food types. It is important you start looking at the nutritional information on the package before deciding what to buy. Look at the sugar content. You may not know what a high level or low level of sugar is, so here is something to help you get the idea.
4 grams = 1 tsp of sugar
Ideally, go for foods that show to be no more than 5 grams of sugar, otherwise at the most, no more than 9 grams.
Also, look at the ingredient list, and a good lesson to know is that the order of ingredients shown on the package, is the order of the highest to the lowest amount of each ingredient. So if sugar, for example, is the first or second ingredient, that means that most of the product is sugar (sometimes they give you a percentage).
Natural sugar, on the other hand, is great. It is found in foods such as fruit, honey, rice malt syrup, and vegetables.
2. Eat More Greens
This is something, deep down we all know is the truth when it comes to health. When you see vegetables and fruits and nuts for example in their natural form, you KNOW it is good for you.
So stick with the basics and get into your trolley anything you like that is in its natural form.
We really do need more greens in our systems but a lot of the time we are very busy and do not have time to prepare a green filled meal.
I recommend getting your hands on a greens powder. They are sometimes (depending on the brand) more beneficial to your health because they can contain green superfoods like Spirulina, wheat grass, alfalfa or ginger which are amazing at giving you a load of nutrients in just a small tbsp!
Life Grip Greens Powder is a brand I have been using to get my greens in, and it has no taste! So I put it with my smoothie which is usually a simple one like the following:
- 1 cup of Plant-based milk
- 1 banana
- A handful of berries
- 1 tbsp of Classic Protein Powder
- 1 tbsp of Life Grip Greens Powder
- 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds
Mix these ingredients into a blender!
3. Limit Junk Food
Yep, I know you know it! But if you want to lose weight, it is best you avoid buying these obvious food groups that are not good for you.
Once you have established a healthy relationship with food, you can treat yourself to buying one of the above in your weekly shopping trips.
A balanced diet is 80:20
This allows you to be healthy most of the time but then allows you to enjoy your favorite treats 20% of the time and not have them affect your health or your waistline.
4. Find Healthy Alternatives That You Will Love
If you are a beginner in the health world, I am sure you are assuming that everything you are now going to eat will not be tasty. But I assure you this is not the case.
In fact, there are so many healthy delicious meal ideas out there, it is just about learning what you like and learning different ways to make once unhealthy meals into healthy meals.
One example would be your typical burger.
From a plant-based perspective, this would mean using bread that is brown (rye, wholegrain or multigrain), peri-peri sauce or mustard for the sauce, hummus or avocado for a spread and for extra flavor, stacking up on veggies such as tomato, beetroot, lettuce or shredded carrot (whatever you prefer) and using a Veggie Pattie instead of a beef pattie.
For me, this is heaven. The difference in how you feel after eating it is also amazing. You will find that you will be full but also feel great! There is no gross or sluggish feeling afterward.
And you can do this for a number of meals!
Yogurt, for example, can be swapped with coconut yogurt. The sugar difference is astonishing. While normal yogurt has approximately 15-25 grams of sugar, coconut yogurt has 3 grams!
5. Swap White Bread for Brown Bread
Bread is fine in moderation.
2 pieces servings of bread a day is sufficient. However, the bread needs to be whole grain, rye or multigrain. White bread and white pastries, for example, are not good for you when trying to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
They may not have a high sugar content but interestingly when you consume white bread and pastries, because they are simple carbohydrates, our bodies turn these nutrients into glucose, which is a sugar used for energy. So if it is not burned off quickly, they are stored as fat and in turn, cause weight gain.
6. Eat When You Are Hungry
Eating when you are not hungry is something I personally struggle with. Of course, if you are eating healthy meals, it will not affect your body as much if you were eating unhealthy meals. However, anything in excess can cause weight gain.
Try to use smaller bowls when cooking food. I have a habit of finishing everything on my plate even if I am stuffed! So I have been using smaller bowls so I give myself smaller servings, a serving I can finish easily without stuffing myself.
7. Keep Healthy Snacks in Your Pantry
It is important to have snacks in your pantry that are healthy. That way if you are craving a late night snack, you won’t go for the chips or the chocolate and end up feeling bad.
Some ideas are as follows:
- Rice crackers with peanut butter, chopped banana, and cinnamon on top
- Coconut yogurt
- Fruit and Nut mix
- A piece of toast with avocado. Lemon, salt, and pepper on top for flavor.
- 1 piece of dark chocolate
- Cut up carrots and hummus for dip
- Make some protein balls and keep them for snacks
8. Don’t Fall For Product Advertising
It is so easy to grab a packaged meal that states it is healthy and the brand is called weight watchers or something of the sort and just put your trust in that without having a good look at what is actually IN the meal.
Marketing can be very misleading. Before you grab that packaged meal that states it has low calories or has less fat or less sugar or whatever they are trying to market their product as; look at the ingredient list and have a look for yourself what is actually in that product.
I recommend primarily looking at the ingredient list. The foods in there should be whole foods and not filled with things like preservatives, additives, sugar, thickeners or artificial flavors. Pretty much, any word you don’t understand is usually something that isn’t good for you and should be avoided.
9. Utilise Herbs for Flavour
Flavour is super important for us to enjoy our meals but usually if using a dressing, sauce or dip, they can be deceivingly unhealthy and limit us to reach our health and weight goals. Things like dressing, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, and aioli are not very good for us. They are either high in fat (not the good fat) or sugar.
Instead of these sauces, try to use things like herbs such as cinnamon, curry, turmeric, cumin or garlic powders.
You can also use lemon, lime, olive oil, apple cider vinegar (great for salads) or salt and pepper to add flavor your meals.
If you really want to use a packaged dressing for a salad, for example, make sure you look at the ingredient list like we talked about before, and only get one if the ingredients are raw foods. A health food store is a great place to look.
10. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
I know, I know. It’s going to be hard! But alcohol especially mixed with sugary drinks is a big factor when it comes to weight gain and of course, it is horrible for your health.
Calories are not the issue. They are not the same as your normal energy sources like your carbohydrates. The body cannot store the calories derived from alcohol so it must immediately use them for energy, rather than storing them.
Sound good? Well if you don’t eat at all during your night out, then yes, I suppose it would. But usually we do eat, and when we do, because our body is focused on breaking down those alcohol calories, our metabolism effectively stops and stores our meal on as fat.
If you do want to go out with friends for a drink, which I am sure is going to happen. This is life! We still want to have fun and be healthy!
I would recommend having a couple of drinks and use soda water instead of soft-drink to mix your alcohol. This is at least healthier than your normal night out.
11. Move that Booty!
Yes! It is not all about diet. Exercise is very important for living a healthy lifestyle and helping you to lose weight.
If you are new to exercise, you may be used to sitting at a desk all day and I understand how it can be hard to find time to motivate yourself to exercise in between work and home duties.
But if you want to live a healthy lifestyle and see weight loss results, you need to discipline yourself to get up and work! Even if you just go for a simple walk for 30 minutes, you are still improving your health and weight loss goals.
If you want to do more than walking, there are many ways to exercise, you can go to a park and do some simple exercises, you can get a gym membership, you can swim or you can work out in your living room or backyard.
A Positive Beginning
Overall, starting a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming at first, but the best advice I can give you, in summary, is to simplify it. Stick to whole foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, the foods you KNOW are good for you. You can’t go wrong. Additionally, practice reading labels on packaged food. You will be surprised at how easily you can be misled by packaged advertising.
Additionally, any type of exercise is better than no exercise, so don’t think you’re not doing enough or there is no point unless you go to the gym 7 times a week. Anything that involves moving your body is a great way to start and improve your body and health.
Good luck with it all and if you have any questions, please comment below! I will be more than happy to help you out in any way I can.
Founder of The Earth Co.
Staughton, J. (2016). Does Drinking Alcohol Make You Gain Weight?. [online] Scienceabc.com. Available at: https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/does-drinking-alcohol-make-you-gain-weight.html [Accessed 24 Jul. 2018].