Fad diets are, in my opinion, pretty hilarious. If you sit back and consider the “rules” of fad diets I’d be willing to bet you may find them comical as well. Take the purple diet: you can eat whatever you’d like but it has to be purple in color… eggplant with grape jelly and purple hard candies? Dinner is served! What about the air diet where you eat, well, nothing? How is that a diet? It sounds more like starvation by another name. The liquid diet isn’t much different than the air diet considering you won’t actually be allowed to chew anything while the cabbage soup diet only takes it one step further, giving you the opportunity to chew but wrecking your digestive tract and causing bouts of diarrhea from eating too much cabbage. Fad diets can be pretty extreme and promise to give you immediate weight loss with no promise for a long-term goal. While you might enjoy quickly dropping a few pounds of water weight, going to an extreme based on a diet that is in the temporary lime light isn’t the way to drop the holiday weight or start your year off right. While losing weight and getting healthy is at the top of most New Year’s Resolution Lists, attaining that goal doesn’t have to mean you starve yourself, succumb to the latest fad diet, or eat only one portion of the color wheel. Check out these three steps to weight loss and a healthier you. Really, it’s as simple as 1-2-3.
Step One: Be a Picky Eater
No, we aren’t saying you should revert back to being a finicky child with what you are willing to eat but instead, be choosy about what you allow to go onto your plate. The basic idea of ingesting fewer calories than your body can burn for weight loss applies here but you’ll need to be smart about that. Daily recommended calories vary around the world but a good standard rule is 2,500 for men and 2,000 calories daily for women. Sure, you could have a diet soda and a pack of crackers at every meal and stay well within the calorie count but your body will lack nutrients and you will only enjoy temporary satisfaction before being hungry 15 minutes later. If you choose to only follow a calorie count you may find yourself raiding the fridge late at night because you’ve not fully satisfied your system. Being a picky eater means choosing foods that are low in calories but high in nutrients while also helping you to feel satisfied. Health.com outlines 30 foods that have fewer than 40 calories per cup and that’s a great place to start. Brussels sprouts, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, berries, radishes, and carrots are only a sample of the list. These foods provide vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants to keep your body functioning
properly, give you a satisfied feeling after ingesting them, and are good for you. Where fad diets encourage you to limit your intake to a specific type of food, there’s something to be said for incorporating a variety of healthy foods into your diet and following that as your plan. You don’t have to eat less to lose weight, you just have to eat smarter! The average fast food value meal contains nearly 900 calories and zero nutritional value… yes that cheeseburger and soda may fill an empty spot and temporarily satisfy you but to burn it off you will need to use a stair climber for about an hour then complete two hours of back strokes. Hardly seems worth it to me! Be choosy with what you ingest and try to avoid foods that are fried, breaded, soaked in oil, sugary, or overly processed. Want the list of 30 foods under 40 calories? Find it here
Step Two: Just Go!
So you overdid it with the sweets, the drinks, and the making merry around the dinner table during the holidays, most of us did! There remains only one thing to do: put it behind you and get up and go. Go for a walk, go to the gym, go for a swim, a hike, play an aerobic game you love like basketball or tennis, find a yoga class to join or a cross fit facility in your area. Whatever you choose, just start. Statistics show that New Year’s resolutions to exercise are always at the top of the list yet are generally the first to be left behind. The reason may vary from person to person but at the core of it are unrealistic expectations. Yes it is difficult to go and work out, sweat your way through an hour a day of exercise, and be diligent for a week or maybe two but what’s even more difficult is doing so and not seeing immediate results. We’ve become a culture of “I want it now!” and often find ourselves let down when there are no immediate results from hard work. The key to step two is to go and KEEP going. You won’t work out on a Monday and be the picture of health by Tuesday, that’s an unfortunate fact of life. Find some patience, commit to the cause of your health and find activities you will enjoy doing each day that are helping you work towards the goal of weight loss, muscle tone, and cardiovascular health. Don’t apply the “I want it now” to your life and instead just tell yourself, Go!
Step Three: Combo Deal
Xs and Os, Sugar and Spice, Up and Down, Stop and Go… Diet and Exercise. In order to make the three easy steps of losing weight work for you, you’ve got to combine steps one and two. Sure, you can lose weight by strictly monitoring your calorie count but your body will lack the strength and tone that comes with exercising. You can work out every single day but eat only fast food or sweets and while your body will work to burn those calories, it will only work for so long due to a lack of vitamins and nutrients. Finding a balance in diet and exercise is easier than you may think but you must find what is right for you. We want to encourage you to make the best choices possible for what you choose to ingest (that’s the easiest part!) and consider the activities you already love to incorporate exercise into your life in a fun way. You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise, look around your home, get your friends and family involved and get active!
Resolving to lose weight and get healthy is a great resolution and one we hope will remain at the top of your list. Fad diets don’t work because they have no promise for long-term health and results, exercise without proper nutrition is a waste of your time, and calorie counting is an easy way to take the weight off now and put even more back on later. Instead of having visions of grandeur concerning chiseled abs and a bikini body after a week of working out, be realistic and know that as long as you are mindful of what goes on your plate and of getting up and doing something active every day, you will see results… easy as one, two, three.
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