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What to Do When “Eating Healthy” Isn’t Working

For many people, taking an honest look at your diet and making important changes is a big step. 

Many of us have developed habits over the years – probably without even meaning to – that cause us to be unhealthy. 

When you make the commitment to knuckle down and strive to do better it sometimes requires massive changes on your part.

So, you made the decision, you made the commitment, you’re trying to eat healthier, but you’re not seeing the results you want.

What’s going on here?

When something like this happens, as certified personal trainers, we find it’s often best to revisit the basics. 

So today, we are going to walk you back through the concept of healthy eating and see if there are any areas where you could use a boost.

If you would like our full nutrition recommendations, download our Ultimate Fat Loss Diet & Recipe Guide today.

Start by Evening out Your Macronutrients

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First, let’s begin by defining what macronutrients are. 

Pretty much everything you eat can be divided into one of three subcategories, or “macronutrients.”

· Carbohydrates

·      Fats

·      Protein

Now, there is also such a thing as “micronutrients,” and those are defined as the vitamins and minerals we need to remain healthy. 

By focusing on macronutrients and eating them in a balanced way, you wind up meeting all your micronutrient needs by default.

When eating healthy, you want to split your foods evenly among the three macronutrient groups. 

In other words, approximately 33% of what you eat in a day should be carbohydrates -- mainly fruits and vegetables!, 33% should be healthy fats, and the remaining 33% should be protein.

Monitoring your food intake in this way is also a clever means of making sure that you don’t overeat or take in too many empty calories.

No Calories between Meals

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This can be a really hard one for many people to tackle. 

If you are used to snacking, it can seem like torture to give up these treats between meals, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you can structure your meals properly, and split your macronutrients appropriately throughout the day, ideally you won’t feel those familiar hunger pangs between meals.

This new approach may take a little getting used to, especially if you’re the type of person who snacks absently or snacks out of boredom. 

It takes a bit of mindfulness, but once you make it a habit it will become second nature.

This approach allows you to have larger and more satisfying meals throughout the day too. 

Sometimes, the reason we feel hungry two hours after breakfast is because we only allowed ourselves two hundred calories first thing in the morning. 

Creating a meal around your macronutrients and allowing yourself to consume more calories at mealtime will get you through the day without snacking.

Cut out Caloric Drinks

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Look, you’ve probably heard from every expert in the world at this point to cut out soda or sugary drinks – but did you know that many products that are marketed as healthy or fitness-related drinks are also full of unnecessary calories?

That protein shake you always throw into your gym bag could have as many as 400 calories lurking in it. 

That “enhanced water” may be enhanced with sugar or other things which add unwanted calories.

Just because the name or the logo suggests fitness doesn’t mean that the drink will magically make you healthy.

We drink because we are thirsty. Thirst does not require calories in order to be quenched. 

Water is a great option, but there are other zero-calorie options out there for those who get a little bored throughout the day. 

Herbal tea or sparkling water are readily available alternatives.

Use a Small Plate

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You may have heard this tip before, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t take it seriously. 

It seems almost silly, doesn’t it? How will just eating off a smaller plate help you become healthier?

As it turns out, weight loss and psychology go hand in hand. 

Sometimes, people can feel deprived due to the visual presentation of their food, and not necessarily how they are feeling after eating it. 

If you are used to eating abundant meals piled high on a dinner plate, cutting those portions in half suddenly looks miserable on the same sized plate.

However, put that same amount of food on a smaller plate, and suddenly your brain is completely tricked. 

Now, instead of seeing blank space everywhere, your brain sees a plate once again piled high with abundant food, and those negative thoughts never have a chance to sneak in there.

Your brain is wired to seek comfort and good feelings, and a mostly empty plate sends bad signals to your brain. 

Don’t give your brain a chance to talk you out of your hard efforts just because of the way something looks.

Cut Out Packaged Foods

This is a tough one. As a society, we’re busier than we’ve ever been. 

Gone are the days of the 9 to 5 workday which would allow ample time for meal prep in both the morning and evening.

With our tight schedules, jobs, and activities which keep us constantly on the go, it feels so easy to simply reach for prepackaged and processed foods to free up some time.

But trust us…you’re not doing yourself any favors.

If convenience is what you’re after, you can achieve that by setting aside time on Sunday afternoon to chop vegetables or prepare meals for the entire work week. 

If you need food which can easily be thrown into a bag or briefcase, think apples, oranges, bananas, or other foods which nature has thoughtfully “individually wrapped” for you.

Hard-boiled eggs, chopped chicken breast, canned tuna, fresh vegetables, fruit salad, nuts, jerkys – these are all foods which can easily last for days in your refrigerator or pantry and which are very easy to grab, even if you’re short on time.

It’s just a matter of changing what the word “convenience” means for you.

You’ve already committed to eating healthier, and that’s a huge step. 

You should really be proud of yourself for making the effort. 

But if you aren’t seeing the results you thought you would, or if your progress has suddenly stalled, take these tips to heart. 

If you would like our full nutrition recommendations, download our Ultimate Fat Loss Diet & Recipe Guide today and learn about:

Our 7-Step Anti-Inflammatory Diet

How much protein you really need

The best foods to eat (and avoid) to lose fat

Specific meal plans and recipes for optimal results

Have a question? Please post your questions on our Facebook Page. 

Mint Condition Fitness is the leading personal training studio in Los Gatos for successful men and women to live life to the fullest. 

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