Easy Dieting Tips that Prioritize Your Health

easy dieting tips

It isn’t enough to just get the workouts in. In fact, what you eat makes a major difference in your fitness journey. In a perfect world, we would be able to eat whatever we wanted without having to worry about managing our weight or our health but unfortunately, it is not like that. Without the proper nutrition, you will be undermining your training efforts to get fit and healthy. So make sure that you pay extra attention to your diet. As you know how the saying goes—”you are what you eat.” In this post, we will cover easy dieting tips that will help cover the nutrition side of things.

How calories work

Before we get into our easy dieting tips, we have to focus on calories and how they work. People tend to overcomplicate their diet when it comes to weight management but it is actually very simple.

So how do we work out how many calories we need?

This comes down to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE. This refers to the total number of calories your body burns to function and complete everyday activities. This includes sleeping, eating, moving around and any other exercise or activities you do. Everyone’s TDEE is different.

How does your TDEE differ from BMR?

People tend to mix TDEE and BMR up. BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive, such as breathing. It doesn’t include any other activities that TDEE accounts for. When counting your calories, you should focus on your TDEE.

There are many online calculators that you can use to help calculate your TDEE. While they may not be 100% accurate, it’ll give you a good starting point for these easy dieting tips.

Now I have my TDEE. What now?

The first thing you need to do is think back to your goals. When it comes to weight, you either want to:

  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight, or
  • Maintain your weight

Want to lose weight? Then you need to be in a calorie deficit, that is, eating fewer calories than your TDEE. If you want to gain weight, you need to be in a calorie surplus, that is, eating more calories than what your body needs. To maintain your current weight, you need to eat the same number of calories that your body uses to function on a day-to-day basis.

It is important to remain reasonable when determining your calories. For example, eating substantially fewer calories than your TDEE may allow you to lose weight faster. However, it may mean that you will be losing a lot of muscle as well, and not just fat. Likewise, if you dramatically increase your calories to be in a heavy surplus, you will be adding much more fat than muscle.

On average, people tend to be in a calorie deficit or surplus of around 500 calories. This way, they can try to maintain or gain as much muscle as possible, regardless of your goal.

Focus on being healthy

While losing, gaining, or maintaining weight is really that simple, your priority should still be on being healthy. So technically, yes, you can eat chips all day and as long as you are eating in a calories deficit, you will lose weight. However, that doesn’t mean that you are healthy.

Implement These Easy Dieting Tips

Here are some easy dieting tips to implement in your life.

1. Learn the macronutrients

There are three main macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Each plays a vital role in your diet.

Protein: When you train, your muscles break down and they use protein to rebuild themselves. This is why protein is so critical.

Carbohydrates: Your body runs on glucose (carbohydrates converted to sugar) in the body. It helps give your body enough energy to function normally. There are different type carbs: complex carbs and simple carbs. Complex carbs, such as beans, whole grain food, starchy vegetables, keep you fuller for longer. Compared to this, keep simple carbs at a minimum, including chocolate bars, candy, cereal, refined white bread, and pasta.

Fat: Fat helps to absorb nutrients from the food you eat, provides energy, and protects your organs. While fat is no longer vilified in the health industry as it once was, there are still good kinds of fat and bad fat. Healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Bad fats are saturated and trans fat. These include ready-made meals and chips.

When you eat your meals, try to eat a balanced meal with all three macronutrients. Focus on lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Work on eating foods high in fiber too.

2. Focus on whole foods

It should come to no surprise that the majority of your foods should be whole foods. We’re talking fruit and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables come jam-packed with all the nutrients and minerals that you need. To make sure you’re getting all this nutrition, make your plate as colorful as possible.

3. Stay hydrated

Don’t underestimate how much of a positive change water can bring to our health. Our body loses a lot of water every day, and so it is important that we are constantly replenishing our bodies.

While drinking 8 glasses of water is the common guideline that people stipulate, there are other ways to make sure that you are staying hydrated. Look at the color of your urine. If it is clear or near clear, then your hydration levels are great. If it is more on the yellow side, then drink up!

One way of drinking more water is to choose water instead of a soft drink or juice. If you want something a little different, then add some fruit to your water for a different taste. Common ones include lemon and mint, cucumber, orange, and even blueberries. Experiment and try out different flavors!

4. It’s ok to treat yourself

Try to stay away from processed foods for the majority of your diet. However, this doesn’t mean you should completely shun things like simple carbs and bad fats. While it is best to keep them at a minimum, completely eliminating them from your diet can lead to intense cravings and binge eating. Keep to the 80/20 rule where 80% of your diet is healthier foods and the remaining 20% are little treats for yourself.

Change your diet with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, scheduler, as well as a community filled with like-minded people. With a members-only Facebook page, you can be sure to find easy dieting tips, advice, motivational stories about changing your diet, training, and general health and fitness tips.

easy dieting tips

What Happens to Your Body When You Binge on Added Sugar?

We know how much our senses love something sweet but at the same time we’re aware it’s not the best food choice. It’s the Holiday season, though, so it’s ok to eat a little added sugar, right? Like Mom says, “everything in moderation”. Not everyone has the will power or self-control to eat just one though. One statistic that I’ve read shows 74 percent of packaged foods contain added sugar. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

If you know you’re the type of person, who has control issues, then it’s probably easier, and healthier, to avoid certain snacks and desserts altogether. After a few weeks you won’t even crave it.

Have you ever wondered what actually happens inside your body when you do go overboard and eat one too many chocolate chips cookies? Feel free to substitute cookies for ice cream, pizza, fast food etc. Whatever your “fix” is. They all have added sugar and maybe knowing more of what happens to your body, will make you pause and think twice about eating it. Let’s note that we’re not talking about one item or a typical portion size. That’s ok. It’s only when you go overboard, on a regular basis, that you should be concerned. This is where diet can begin to affect overall health. If your physician has mentioned that your A1C level is getting high, then you have been warned. Get your house in order or you may end up becoming a diabetic or worse.

How Added Sugar Affects Your Body

  • We consume food that is high in added sugar on a daily basis.
  • Carbohydrates are what cause blood sugar to rise. It’s is important to eat protein and fiber with carbs.
  • The body breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars and away they go into the bloodstream.
  • As a result, the body releases insulin, which is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
  • Insulin’s role is to absorb excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels.
  • Insulin helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so it can be used for energy.
  • The amount of insulin released usually matches of glucose in the blood stream.
  • Once insulin does its job, your blood sugar drops again (the result though is you feel “drained” following the sugar rush).
  • Repeated blood sugar spikes, many times a day, over time leads to an increase in stored body fat (typically around the abs in men & hips in women).
  • Over time, cells stop responding to all that insulin – because they’ve become insulin resistant.
  • Finally, your body can’t lower blood sugar effectively leading to type 2 diabetes.

A Few Interesting Facts About Added Sugar

  • Eating too much sugar initially causes a spike in insulin while elevated, long-term levels can lead to kidney damage.
  • Added sugar causes a surge in feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. So does using certain drugs, like cocaine. When you consume too much added sugar over time, you end up wanting more of it (just like certain drugs). Your body gets addicted to it.
  • One study of more than 3,500 people found that those who drank 34 ounces (about 1 liter) of water a day were 21 percent less likely to have issues with high blood sugar than those who drank 16 ounces (473 ml) or less a day.
  • A second study showed subjects who got 17-21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.
  • Men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression in a five-year period than men who ate 40 grams or less.
  • One study from UC San Francisco found that drinking sugary drinks, like soda, ages our body on a cellular level as quickly as cigarettes can.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year.

How Much Added Sugar Should We Eat?

Added sugars can come in more than 60 different forms and it’s hidden in just about everything you eat. Added sugar is found in a wide range of foods, from ketchup to fruit-based yogurt to (sadly) sports drinks like Gatorade. In terms of how much we eat, the American Heart Association suggests that men consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 38 grams) of added sugar per day. That is close to the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda. Women should try to eat less than 100 calories (or 25 grams) of added sugar per day. It may seem easy to do but keep in mind a bar of chocolate and a can of soda will already put you at 75 grams.

Keep in mind added sugar is much different than natural sugar found in fruit. It’s fructose, yes, but it also has fiber. This in turn helps release sugar slowly into the blood stream compared to the spike you get after eating half a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Your Brain on Too Much Sugar

Eating too much added sugar affects just about every cell and organ in the body and the brain is no exception. Previous research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. There is also additional research, published in the journal, Peptides, showing chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating.

Hopefully this article sheds more light on the pitfalls of eating too much added sugar. You can pick your poison, it leads to weight loss, brain fog, low energy, oral health issues, you name it. Eating added sugar in moderation is fine. Too much of it though will lead to a multitude of health issues including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity and regular strength training makes you more sensitive to insulin, one reason why it’s a cornerstone of diabetes management. Focus on maintaining a healthy bodyweight and body fat level. Basically, a healthy, sustainable, lifestyle will do the trick. It’s the best way to keep blood sugar levels where they need to be.

Use Jefit

Try doing what millions of others have already done, use Jefit as their workout log app. This in turn, will help you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Five Components for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Patterns

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The USDA releases an updated nutrition and healthy eating guide every five years. At the core of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is eating patterns and the relationship with food and nutrients. The individual goal for this work is to adhere to eating patterns that promote health and prevent chronic disease across a lifespan.

The healthy eating patterns recommended in this 8th edition were developed by integrating findings from systematic reviews of scientific research. In addition, food pattern modeling, and analyses of current intake of the U.S. population were also looked at. The evidence shows that “healthy eating
patterns are associated with positive health outcomes.”

Healthy Eating Pattern Defined

According to the authors of this DGA report, “healthy eating patterns support a healthy body weight. It can also help prevent and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout periods of growth and development.” An eating pattern represents all the foods and beverages you consume. All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits. This is especially true in regard to saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories.

The Five Components Needed

  • Follow a Healthy Eating Pattern Across the Lifespan. A healthy eating pattern includes plenty of protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and oils. It limits saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.
  • Focus on Variety, Nutrient Density, and Amount. Meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  • Limit Calories from Added Sugars and Saturated Fats and Reduce Sodium Intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
  • Shift to Healthier Food and Beverage Choices. Replace typical food and beverage choices with more nutrient-dense options. Be sure to consider personal preferences to maintain shifts over time.
  • Support Healthy Eating Patterns for All. Each one of us can play a major role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings around us. This includes from home to school to work to our communities.

Final Notes on Eating Healthy

A healthy eating pattern, or style, includes the following:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups (dark green, red and orange, legumes, and starches).
  • Fruits, especially whole fruit.
  • Grains, half of which are whole grains.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and soy products.
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits the following:

  • Limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. A number of studies have shown an association between increased intake of trans fats and an increase risk of CVD.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
  • Eat less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium.
  • Limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men).
  • Moderate coffee consumption (three to five 8-oz cups/day or providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be part of healthy eating patterns.

Avoid the Halo Effect

This refers to someone who eats healthy foods but goes overboard on portion sizes. As a result, they end up consuming too many calories for the day. Try the following: protein should be the size of your smartphone, all carbs should be the size of your fist, and fruits and veggies should cover the rest of your plate. This is an easy way to visualize what a healthy meal looks like. Also, you’ve heard, the the more colorful your plate, the more nutrients you’ll be eating.

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Go Hand-in-Hand.

In addition to having a healthy eating style or pattern, we all need to also meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do to improve our overall health. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) and should perform strength training on 2 or more days each week, using the Jefit app to plan, log, track and share your workouts. Stay strong!

Reference

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020, 8th Edition. USDA: DietaryGuidelines.gov

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