The 5: Simple diet tips for a healthy

The 5: Simple diet tips for a healthy

It's now almost a full week since the ball dropped. Some people made resolutions, others don't bother. And, others don't bother at first, but then make them a few days later. Whatever the case may be, the key to reaching your fitness goals is to be consistent with your diet and, appropriately, to not drop the ball.

I've already offered some exercise tips (in a previous post) that should help get you off to a good start, so this time I'll be focusing on diet. Believe me, I'm the last person who would want to follow a meal plan so complex that it may as well be printed in segments on the squares of a Rubik's Cube. That's why I like to keep things fairly simple, which is what you'll find below -- 5 simple, easy-to-follow meal guidelines.

The 5: Simple diet tips for a healthy

5. Reduce High-GI Carb Consumption. Despite what Dr. Atkin's may have told us, carbs are not the enemy. The reason being that not all carbs are created equal. Avoid carbs that are high in simple sugars (white pasta, white bread, candy, fruit juices, white rice, etc.), but be sure to eat regular servings of low-GI carbs (whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, vegetables, legumes, etc.).

4. Increase Protein Consumption. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. An inadequate amount of protein can slow down your metabolism and cause muscle breakdown. Sources of protein include meats, dairy, nuts and seeds, beans, and tofu. If you are working out regularly, you should try to consume close to 1g of protein per 1 pound of your body weight.

3. Lower Caloric Intake. Calories can be tricky. Eat too many of them and the excess get stored as fat. Eat too few of them and your body will perceive it as a condition of starvation and will slow down your metabolism. The way to win at the calorie game is to know how many calories you are currently eating and then lower that amount only slightly (or increase it only slightly if your goal is to gain weight). For example, if you normally eat 2,000 calories per day, you should reduce your daily caloric intake to 1,800. This slight reduction in calories will encourage your body to pull fat from storage to be used as energy.

2. Drink More Water. There isn't any definitive proof that water is, by itself, thermogenic (though there are studies suggesting that it may be). However, it still remains one of the most vital parts of the human diet. Remember to always stay hydrated, especially when working out. Also, do your best to never reach the point of feeling thirsty, for thirst is an early sign of slight dehydration.

1. Eat 5 to 6 Meals Per Day. When you eat five or six small meals per day, you distribute your calories, thereby making your body more likely to burn them as energy instead of storing them as fat. Eating consistently throughout the day will also prevent you from ever feeling hungry, which, as stated in #3, can cause your body to go into self-preservation mode and slow down your metabolism.

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