20 Days, 20 Ways to Remake Your Diet! 
Sunday, February 14, 2016
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika Christ, Behavior Change, Lifestyle, Mindset, Motivation, Nutrition, healthy eating, nutrition tips

There's no doubt—thinking about or attempting to change your diet can feel overwhelming. That said, my clients tell me later it wasn't as hard as they initially thought!

The key is to keep it simple. Small steps will get you where you need to go. Be consistent, and your new plan will fall into place.

It all comes down to easy tricks and swaps that can make your process feel doable and a little less painless.

Just make a commitment to add one of these simple strategies each day. By the end of 20 days, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve been able to change! 

Day 1: Pop a high-quality multivitamin.

Let’s start with the lowest threshold! Simply adding a quality multivitamin to your routine is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your nutrition. It’s a virtually effortless task (no preparation needed) and can provide your body with close-to-instant nourishment to make sure all your enzymes are firing off for a strong metabolism. If you’re curious and ambitious, I’d say throw in a high quality fish oil as well.

Day 2: Throw away the junk.

We all know what foods aren’t the healthiest – cookies, chips, etc. If you’re starting a new routine around eating, get rid of all the distractions in your pantry or fridge. Does this mean no ice cream forever? Absolutely not, but when a true craving comes, you can make the extra effort to pick it up at the store or have a single serving when you've gone out to eat.

Day 3: Journal – or take photos – of everything you put in your mouth.

It’s one of the best ways to stay accountable and cultivate awareness of exactly what’s going on in your eating. Whether you share it with a coach for feedback or simply use it for your own benefit, having those records will help you determine where you need to make some changes or, even better, help you stop consuming a less-than-healthy choice if you know it’s being recorded.

Day 4: Start with what you like. 

Don’t go nuts and eat food you hate. Start with what you know you like and find ways to make that work. Maybe you love pizza. Pack it with protein and veggies, or use a cauliflower crust! Know you love cucumbers? Eat those as a snack and find recipes that feature cucumbers! This way you still get to enjoy your favs without feeling restricted.

Day 5: Eat more veggies than you think you need.

Enough said, right? When my clients learn they should be eating 9-11 servings per day, it can feel overwhelming. Instead, focus on eating more that you usually do (even if that means only 1 serving per day!), and make a goal each day to eat more than you think you need to.

Day 6: Add more protein.

I’ve found that most of my clients need to double this category as it relates to portion size! For most women, a palm size (3-4 ounces) per meal will suffice, while men typically need about two palm sizes (6-8 ounces) at every meal. It’s a great way to stay full longer and to keep your body leaner.

Day 7: Upgrade your protein.

Organic and grass-fed/pasture-raised are the way to go with chicken and beef. Not only do they have higher quality fats (omega-3), but they steer clear of additional hormones or antibiotics that can wreak havoc on your hormones and metabolism. 

Day 8: Buy pre-cut and pre-washed vegetables.

Fresh or frozen can work and are oh-so-convenient. Keep veggies at eye level in your refrigerator so they’re easy to spot (and just as convenient as a bag of chips) when you need to grab or pack a bite to eat.

Day 9: Check out the menu and make a plan before you head out to eat.

Whether it be drive-thru, fast casual, happy hours, etc., knowing beforehand what’s going to be available will make it easier for you to choose and stick to a plan. Asking for substitutions when necessary, bringing your own dressing, or even asking for a to-go box right away (to take half the portion home) are great tips for eating out and staying true to your goal.

Day 10: Get into shakes.

I’m telling you, it’s one of the easiest and simplest daily habits that most of my clients keep. Enjoying a daily shake is a simple way to provide optimal protein, healthy fats and antioxidants in one meal that’s easy to take along wherever you go. Be sure to make it a flavor you love. My all-time favorite mix blends the hypo-allergenic VeganMax protein powder along with a little almond extract, sunflower seed butter and half a frozen banana.

Day 11: Chug a glass of water as soon as you wake up.

This is an oldie but a goodie and one I do every day! Starting your day with water will make you more likely to remember your hydration goal throughout the day (and maybe help you cut that initial morning caffeine dose). Since half your weight in ounces is optimal, you’ll want to get a start as soon as you wake up!

Day 12: Reduce the booze.

Alcohol can completely derail weight loss efforts as it can impact quality of sleep, hormones, and calorie intake, just to name a few factors. If possible, keep your intake minimal on a daily and weekly basis, and sip water or sparkling water in between adult beverages.

Day 13: Start reading labels.

Another oldie but a goodie… If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of a packaged food, don’t buy or eat it. And don’t rely on the front packaging to tell you if it’s a good food or not.

Day 14: Rethink your food shopping dollars.

Consider nutrients per serving rather than just the price of an item as you put your food shopping list and budget together. Is the price worth the nutrients it’s providing?

Day 15: Set an 80/20 policy. 

You will fall off the wagon if you go nuts and demand perfection from yourself. Instead, work in a little lee-way. Just as one healthy meal won’t make you healthy, one unhealthy meal won’t make you DIE.

Day 16: Say good-bye, soda!

Regular, diet – your body needs none of it. (Dumping that weekly purchase saves money for better food choices, too.) Sugars and artificial sweeteners have been proven to distract your metabolism. If you need the bubbly, try sparkling water with lemon. 

Day 17: Slow down your eating.

One of the simplest things you can do to eat better is to slow it down. It takes your body about 20 minutes to figure out if you are full or not, so eating slowly can help you determine how much you really need to eat.

Day 18: Hone your shopping plan each week as you adopt new eating patterns.

Spend time making a new grocery list and menu each week. That way you have a plan to take with you that reflects your goals for the week and the new eating behaviors you’ve been adopting. If you have healthy recipes and foods you know you’ll enjoy, you’ll be less temped to reach for the poor choices you don’t need.

Day 19: Pre-bag snacks.

Spare yourself temptation and have healthy snacks ready to go for when you’re hungry. Pre-bag nuts, slice up veggies, hard boil eggs, etc. I often pre-bag a snack for each day of the upcoming week so I don’t have to think about it.

Day 20: Add a little spice.

Most of us don’t use our spice racks, and it can make all the difference in improving our food by providing variety and new taste! Herbs and spices are a great way to expand your palate and diversify meals as you develop your own Healthy Way of Eating routine. Get creative, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading today. Want even more ideas for remaking your diet? Talk with one of our registered dietitians today. 

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Nutrition and Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/).
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