Dietary Goals


Eating healthily for newbies can be a daunting task. Eating healthily for a newbie that has health complications like managing a chronic disease, living with a restrictive diet, and managing other elements of their life can feel like an impossible task. That is unfortunately why some people fall victim to fad diets, yo-yo dieting, and end up worse than when they started. 

But how does one manage to put themselves in any sort of restrictive lifestyle themselves while dealing with medical, social, and psychological pressures? Navigating daily life while trying to achieve a healthy and fitness goal can get pretty complicated. These are just some of the reasons someone should seek the help of a dietician. 

Dietitians are the experts in the area of Nutrition & Nourishment. Most of us may think of them as someone that treats people with obesity and weight issue, but there is so much more to it. 

A dietician can not only help you navigate healthy foods but also help you navigate healthy foods based on your pre-existing conditions. This may involve managing a chronic disease, re-storing your gut health, managing inflammation, and optimizing your lifestyle so your look and feel your best. We now know that what you eat on a day-to-day basis along with your other daily habits like exercise and meditation have a direct impact on your long-term health.

There are many things in life that we can’t plan for except our health. There are many studies and articles that support a balanced diet and exercise plan leading to a healthier lifestyle. However, it’s hard to put into practice without a plan.

Seeking advice from a Dietitian can help:

1. Create a Customized Plan

Customized meal plan tailored for your specific requirements is the first step to your weigh loss journey.  A customized meal plan takes into account food allergies, caloric intake, protein requirement, food preferences and food intolerances. It gives you the freedom to enjoy foods that you love and make it easier to build a habit around it.

2. Meal Prep

Having a roadmap helps with meal prep, giving you a chance to have have better control of your weight loss. It decreases the time you spend for meal prepping and opens the door for variety foods.

3. Save Money

A customized meal plan saves you time & money by making planning and shopping easier and purposeful.

4. Metabolism Boost

Regular meals and snacks ensure that you have a balanced diet reducing cravings and hunger. It is a great way to reboot the metabolism and creating a healthy habit.

5. Accountability

The continual support/ coaching & guidance helps to keep you accountable and as a result have a better success.

6. Community Building

Being a part of a healthy community is the best part. People are often inspired to achieve their own goals by seeing examples of similar individuals that are further along in their journey. 

Is it possible to eat healthy when you’re busy? When all know the way that “the crunch” of life can leave us reaching for something crunchy and sweet. While snacks and comfort foods can feel like self-care at the moment, they often leave us feeling tired, irritable, and less productive after the rush wears off. This creates an unhealthy cycle of continuously reaching for processed foods for “quick energy” before crashing again.

How Do Busy People Manage to Stay on Top of Their Healthy Eating Habits?

It takes accountability, planning, and a willingness to get creative when it comes to powering through the common pitfalls that make smart food choices fall to the wayside. The truth is that being too busy to eat healthy foods isn’t just an excuse. This is a real challenge that many people face daily as they try to juggle work and home life demands. Luckily, there are some tips that can change everything.

Take a look at the life hacks people use to eat healthy even when there’s no time.

Start Every Single Morning on the Right Track

From a psychological standpoint, getting back on track can be very hard once you start the day in the wrong place. Breakfast sets the pace for the choices you’re going to make for the rest of the day.

First, there’s the mental impact that the first bite of the day makes. If we’re reaching for a big, sugary, sticky bun because it feels like an easy choice, we may feel that trying to eat healthy for the rest of the day is “pointless” because we’ve already gone off track.

The wrong breakfast can also sabotage us on a physiological level. The truth is that a dessert-like breakfast will send us on a downward crash just a few hours after breakfast. That means we’re likely to be hungrier than we would have been with a breakfast choice that provided steady energy.

How do you fix the breakfast trap? Protein is great for this! You’ll also want to focus on breakfast items with fiber that will help you stay fuller. Some breakfast items that can help you to feel full and satisfied in the morning without setting you up for a crash include egg scrambles, overnight oats, and whole-egg frittatas.

Carbs aren’t necessarily off the table just because you’re focused on avoiding the spike that often comes from eating bread and cereals in the morning. It’s all about how you balance the right carbs with protein. For instance, avocado toast, banana pancakes, and a bagel topped with salmon and cream cheese can create sustained energy.

Never wake up surprised! What that means is that you should always have your breakfast planned a day in advance to avoid the “panic” of having to find something healthy to eat in a pinch while trying to get out the door. Don’t go to bed without having breakfast waiting in the fridge.

Don’t Undereat

One common mistake people make when trying to eat healthy on a very tight schedule is to undereat. This often leads to overeating later in the day. For example, you might rely on a restaurant near your office because it’s the “easiest” way to get lunch. You settle for a flimsy salad that consists of little more than lettuce, some cucumber slices, and a handful of tomato cubes because you’re trying to “eat healthy.” The problem with this is that you’re simply not eating enough of what your body needs for fuel. Have a real lunch when you’re having lunch! This could mean a quinoa salad, chick-pea salad, Korean BBQ wrap, chicken fajita, or Buddha bowl.

Keep Your Kitchen Organized

While the status of your kitchen may seem unrelated to your health, the truth is that you can’t know what to eat unless you know what there is to eat. We often lose track of the healthy ingredients we’ve stocked away because they aren’t in our direct line of sight.

A highly organized fridge is one of the ways that many healthy eaters stay on track. One tip is to reserve an organized area of your fridge specifically for meal-prep foods that are labeled by day. This eliminates the potential for making an impulsive choice because your meals have been carefully planned for you based on what day it is. You won’t have to dig through the rest of your fridge to put ingredients together because it’s all waiting for you in a designated spot.

Eat Plenty of Unprocessed Foods

Making a commitment to focus on unprocessed foods is one of the best ways to stick to a healthy eating plan. Prioritize whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts over other types of foods. These foods add fiber and nutrients to your diet that can help to promote weight loss, maintain bowel health, keep blood sugar levels in check, and lower cholesterol levels.

Eat the Same Portions Every Day

Consistent portions help you to keep your appetite regulated. When we change up portion sizes, we are often left feeling either “bloated” or “peckish” when a meal is over. While this doesn’t mean you need to eat the same thing every day, it does mean that trying to stay in the same portion range every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help you to enjoy consistent rates of fullness each day.

Eat at the Same Time Every Day

This next tip goes along with keeping the same portion sizes for each meal. Eating meals at the same times each day helps you to work healthy eating into your daily routine. This can be especially important during times when it feels like long, busy work weeks are sweeping us up in a wave that we can’t control.

Don’t work through dinner! Scheduled mealtimes help to create a sense of control and balance during times of intense busyness. In addition, having a set mealtime means planning each meal intentionally instead of waiting until you’re overly hungry to decide what to eat.

Make a List

Never underestimate how much being busy can cause you to get off track with even the simplest things in life. Once you find a meal that works for your tastes, be sure to write it down as part of a list of go-to favorites you can recreate weekly. You’ll appreciate having a list to refer to instead of trying to find the names of meals online again. This list can eventually become your meal plan for healthy eating.

Be Consistent Enough That You Can Afford to “Cheat”

There’s no need to make healthy eating feel restrictive. For many busy people, meals with other people happen pretty frequently. One of the best ways to find balance is to plan to control every meal you can control while simply making the best choices possible when you don’t have control. What does this look like? While you may only be able to plan breakfast and dinner on your own before heading out to a “work” dinner, you’ll at least have the structure in your diet that comes from staying consistent during two out of three meals a day.

Planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner for healthy eating during the week will leave you with many options for “splurging” on the weekends without feeling like you’re getting off track. When you have a weekly plan, you always know that you’ll be back on your path of healthy eating by Monday.

Use Professional Meal Planning and Delivery

There comes a point when we all have to admit that healthy eating takes commitment. Maintaining a healthy diet that also leaves you satisfied simply isn’t something that you can pull off without some planning. This is where using a professional meal planning and delivery service comes into the picture. The reason why meal planning is so popular at the moment is because many busy people have done the math on the value of their time versus the amount of time it takes to plan, create, and pack healthy meals for an entire week.

Eating healthy when you lead a busy lifestyle isn’t easy. In fact, eating habits often begin to slide when tight deadlines, long nights, and busy weekends full of commitments all fuse together to leave you with a full calendar that doesn’t leave much time for planning, cooking, and storing your meals.

While it can be easy to let busyness become an excuse for not eating the best foods possible, proper planning is the key to enjoying the health benefits that come from keeping yourself accountable for your nutritional choices.

No, your weight plateau isn’t all in your head. It’s also not necessarily a reflection of your effort. However, you still have the power to turn it around.

Plateauing can be one of the most frustrating aspects of weight loss. In fact, the plateau period is considered a “danger zone” in a weight loss journey because many people abandon their regiments after feeling like all of their efforts are “for nothing.”

The good news is that there are ways to keep your mind, heart, and body in the game even when plateaus slow you down.

Here’s a simple guide to pushing past plateaus when trying to lose weight.

Why Do Plateaus Happen During Weight Loss?

Plateaus can feel incredibly frustrating because they occur after what seems like a successful start. Suddenly, the brakes get hit on consistent weight loss. All of your “old tricks” stop working. Why? One theory is that weight plateaus happen because your body has finally “caught on” to your plan to lose weight. Your body then adjusts to protect itself against further weight loss. However, some researchers reject this explanation. They chalk weight plateaus up to the fact that most people begin to relax their diet plans after a few months. There’s also the glycogen explanation.

What does glycogen have to do with weight plateaus?

During the first few weeks of cutting calories, it’s very common to see rapid drops in weight. This phenomenon happens because the body is getting the energy it needs by releasing your stores of a carbohydrate called glycogen found in the muscles and liver. Something interesting about glycogen is that it releases water when it’s burned for energy. This is precisely why a lot of the “weight” that is lost very early on during a diet is actually water weight. However, this isn’t why weight loss eventually plateaus. The reason for the plateau has to do with the fact that you lose both fat and muscle when glycogen is burned. Muscle burns more calories than fat. That means that inevitable losses in muscle mass that stem from weight loss will actually begin to slow your metabolism over time, even if you’re sticking to the same diet that helped you to seamlessly drop those initial pounds.

What does this mean for your weight loss journey? It’s time for a pivot. For some people, the answer may be to stick to the same approach to maintain weight loss instead of trying to lose more weight. Others may feel that they want to keep on going. This may require you to increase physical activity, decrease calories, or do some combination of both.

Pushing Past Plateaus: Practical Tips for Continuing to Lose Weight

The good news is that you are unlikely to go backward in your weight loss as long as you stick to the regimen that helped you reach your plateau weight. The big thing is to avoid the temptation to allow the frustration of a plateau to cause you to backslide. There are also many changes you can introduce into your current plan that will help you bust through the walls of your plateau to resume weight loss. Take a look!

#1 Confirm That a Plateau Is Really a Plateau

The first step is to do an audit of recent habits to verify that you’re experiencing an authentic plateau instead of simply seeing the results caused by relaxing your habits. Research shows that “off-and-on” loosening of diet and exercise plans can contribute to plateaus. If your weight loss has slowed down due to poor habits, you may only need to establish a goal of getting back on track with the rules you were following.

#2 Reduce Calories

You may not need the same amount of calories you needed in the beginning if you’ve lost fat and muscle. Of course, calories should never be restricted to dangerous levels. Eating fewer than 1,200 (women) to 1,500 (men) calories per day is too low for most people and can result in various adverse side effects, including headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Also, less than 1200 calories may not be enough to keep you from constant hunger. However, reducing food intake if your calorie needs have changed can help you get past a plateau. 

How do you know if your calorie needs have changed? It is a good idea to calculate your today daily energy expenditure. There are many online calculators you can use to calculate TDEE. These will give you an idea of how many calories you need to consume to lose weight at your current activity level. You can create a calorie deficit by subtracting from this number.

Reducing isn’t always recommended for fighting plateaus for one simple reason. If your calorie intake is already consistent with your TDEE for weight loss, then the plateau may just be temporary. In that case, the focus should instead be on relying more and more on healthy, nutrient-dense foods that allow you to feel satisfied, provide energy for workouts, and make it easier to avoid “snack traps” caused by feeling famished. Make sure you’re giving your body food it can use instead of packing in food that can easily be stored as fat.

#3 Increase Your Workouts

Most experts agree that ramping up exercise is one of the best ways to get over a plateau. It’s not just about exercising more. Switching to more intense forms of exercise can help you get more dramatic results without a more considerable time commitment. A person who usually walks or jogs might consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts instead. Weightlifting can also be an excellent way to push past a plateau because building muscle will put you in a position to burn more calories. It might also be time to simply think about ways to live a more active lifestyle that builds more “natural” exercise into your daily life. This can mean ditching the car in favor of a bike during the morning commute, taking a walk during your lunch break, or scheduling an extra gym session into your daily plan.

#4 Get Enough Sleep

Yes, poor sleep can sabotage your weight loss plans! In studies, consistent amounts of adequate sleep were linked with improved weight loss outcomes. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in the production of a hormone called ghrelin, which is often referred to as the “hunger hormone.” An increase in ghrelin is why we are often compelled to reach for “comfort foods” after a night of poor sleep. While improving sleep quality and duration is the most important way to fight off the effects of ghrelin, it’s also essential to have high-protein, satisfying breakfast options waiting for you on those mornings when you know you’re going to be waking up to a feeling of deep hunger.

#5 Reduce Stress

Taking steps to reduce chronic stress can help you to reach your weight loss goals more quickly. In fact, research links stress with obesity. Managing stress can help you to avoid the phenomenon of “stress eating” that causes so many people to absentmindedly grab for chips, candy, or soda when stressful meetings, tight deadlines, or conflict throw the central nervous system into a tailspin.

Reducing stress isn’t always easy when so many external factors are at play. However, practicing meditation techniques, taking daily walks, and avoiding high-sugar foods that spike blood sugar can all help you to maintain a sense of calm that stops spiking stress hormones from throwing your body out of whack.

#6 Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Fiber has been credited with helping people to break through weight loss plateaus. Soluble fiber is beneficial because it helps to slow down the movement of food through your digestive system to help you feel fuller longer. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are all great sources of soluble fiber. However, the list of superstar foods for soluble fiber includes oats, avocados, chia seeds, flax seeds, and black beans.

A Plateau Isn’t the End of the Story

Don’t let a plateau stop you in your tracks. A weight loss plateau shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle. It should instead be viewed as a signal that it’s time to readjust your method to give your body an updated plan for what it needs for this next leg of your fitness journey. It’s more than possible to emerge from a plateau stronger, fitter, and more determined than ever before. Of course, moving forward fully prepared to fight off the cravings that cause most people to get crushed by plateaus is the most important thing you can do. Meal preparation that anticipates your needs is essential for getting the fuel needed to stay the course, thrive in your daily life, and avoid letting a plateau turn into a full backslide into your former habits.

Do you feel like you are doing everything you can but are still not losing weight? Wondering what is going on? The answer might have to do with insulin.

Insulin could be what is preventing you from reaching your weight loss goal. Most people completely overlook insulin in weight loss because they assume that it’s something that only people living with diabetes need to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. Insulin is something that anyone who is trying to lose weight needs to pay attention to.

What Does Insulin Have To Do With Weight Loss?

Insulin is a hormone that’s produced in the pancreas. The role of insulin is to regulate the body’s blood glucose levels. When your insulin levels rise, any fat burning that your body is doing stops. The release of insulin encourages the storage of your incoming calories. Typically, the body will resort to storing those new calories as fat.

Why is this a problem if you’re trying to lose weight?

The constant signal to store fat from incoming food means that the body never gets a chance to begin burning off its own stored fat.

Which foods make insulin levels spike? Typically, foods high in carbohydrates are the worst culprits for elevating insulin levels. Being strategic with your blood sugar when planning meals can be a great way to ensure that insulin levels stay stable. Besides helping the body burn fat, stable insulin levels will also help you avoid the highs and lows of sugar crashes.

Let’s take a look at some tips for how to lower insulin levels for weight loss.

The First Step: Know Which Foods to Avoid

Which foods make insulin levels spike? First, it’s essential to know that an insulin-minded diet doesn’t necessarily have to be a “no carbohydrate” diet. It’s all about balancing your diet with the right types of carbohydrates to avoid spikes. Pairing carbs and protein can help you stay fuller longer without your body “holding on” to the energy instead of burning it off.

Generally, you’re trying to avoid any foods that have what is referred to as a high glycemic index when planning your meals. Having a high glycemic index means that a food is digested very quickly and easily by the body. You can understand what that means by thinking about how quickly you’re famished again after polishing off a big, fluffy wheat muffin for breakfast.

Some foods that are known to raise insulin levels include:

  • White grains. These include white bread, pancakes, muffins, bagels, pastries, and pasta. Choose whole-grain foods instead.
  • Sugary, sweet juices and sodas. Even diet sodas can be problematic as some sweeteners in diet soda have been found to cause insulin spikes in the blood.
  • Refined carbohydrates. Consuming too many refined carbohydrates can raise insulin levels. Examples of these include pizza, white rice, and breakfast cereals. 
  • Foods with added sugars. Avoid things like pies, cakes, cookies, and donuts.
  • Limit fast food. Popular foods from places like McDonald’s and Wendy’s often have high levels of sugar and saturated fats, which cause insulin levels to shoot up quickly.
  • Avoid large servings of starchy vegetables. Examples of these types of vegetables include potatoes and corn.

Generally, most kinds of candy, cookies, and desserts contain high levels of carbohydrates and sugars. Even some foods that are naturally insulin-friendly foods can cause spikes if they are prepared using sugar and additives. An excellent example of this would be anything ordered off the menu at a fast-food restaurant. While a grilled hamburger with some potatoes might be great for keeping insulin levels stable in a normal situation, the way that fast food is prepared means that everything from the bun to the burger probably contains high amounts of sugar.

Of course, cutting out refined carbohydrates doesn’t mean you have to only eat protein. There’s room in an insulin-friendly diet for tons of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, coffee drinks, and other things you don’t want to live without.

Be Aware of the Sleep Connection

Woman sleeping
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Did you know that sleep deprivation causes blood sugar to increase? Most people don’t know this! The spike in blood sugar that happens when we don’t get enough sleep leads to increased insulin secretion. If you’re struggling with weight management, the problem may have at least some connection to your sleep schedule. Most people need anywhere between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to function at their optimal capacity.

Just a single night of sleep deprivation can induce insulin resistance in healthy subjects, according to a 2010 study. It’s crucial to guard your sleep as though your health depends on it.

While it’s very common for people to try to “steal back” hours by staying up late, the truth is that sleep deprivation makes all of the work you’re doing with dieting and exercise less effective. Claiming time for sleep helps to make the time you spend on your health create more significant results.

Embrace the Low-Carb Life

Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy. Research has shown that following a low-carb diet can help reduce insulin levels. However, carb-heavy foods can raise insulin levels quite dramatically. Eating low-carb foods can also help decrease hunger, helping you feel satiated and making losing weight easier. 

Low carb diets have other benefits that go beyond lowering insulin levels. There is evidence that low-carb diets may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. One large study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the impact of a low-carb diet on the risk of heart disease in people who were overweight and obese. Study participants who ate a low-carb meal plan showed significant improvements in their cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Tip for going low-carb: The critical thing to remember is that any diet that you follow has to be sustainable for the long term. It’s essential to avoid plans that are too restrictive. Choose healthy meals that you enjoy eating that consist of plenty of protein and healthy fats.

Exercise Regularly

Athlete stretching
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Yes, exercise is terrific for regulating insulin levels naturally. Most of us know we should exercise using cardio and strength training several times per week to burn calories and build muscle. However, what many people don’t realize is that exercise can help with weight loss beyond these two benefits.

During exercise, the body burns a form of glucose called glycogen stored in the muscles. The body then needs to restore glycogen levels following exercise. It gets that new glycogen by taking glucose stores from the bloodstream in a way that helps to improve insulin sensitivity. The benefits increase as exercise intensity increases! Some great ways to balance insulin levels for weight loss include walking, running, resistance training, and strength training.

The Bottom Line on How To Lower Insulin Levels Naturally for Weight Loss

Focusing on insulin when planning your diet just means looking at your diet from a hormone-based perspective. Knowing how to lower insulin levels for weight loss requires awareness of how different foods affect the body. Ideally, you’re focusing on foods that help to stabilize blood sugar levels instead of creating constant spikes.

💡Important To Remember: Refined carbohydrates create a constant cycle of spikes and falls that can cause you to eat more than intended. That’s because spikes cause us to go from feeling full to feeling famished with very little “stabilization” in the middle.

How To Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

One of the best ways to avoid excessive refined carbs is to plan your meals ahead of time.

It’s easy to reach for what’s easy and delicious when we are hungry. This fact is especially true when it’s time to finally think about dinner after a long work day. Carbohydrate-heavy foods are easy to prepare quickly. However, they don’t offer the benefits of whole grains, lean protein, and leafy greens that you get from a carefully balanced meal.

If you’re worried about the connection between insulin and weight loss, it may be time to consider creating a formalized meal plan to get your body in the right cycle for burning fat instead of storing it. One way to get on track is by using meal prep to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options offering perfectly balanced nutrition. Waking up to a filling, protein-rich breakfast bowl instead of feeling like you have to reach for sugary cereal can set the pace for a completely different kind of day!

Lastly, it’s important to remember that “hacking” your insulin levels to lose weight isn’t just an issue of vanity. It’s truly a matter of getting your body in optimal condition to burn fat, have more energy, and feel better than ever. Plus, the same benefits that help you to lose weight when you’re taking insulin into consideration will help you to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Yes, you can enjoy delicious restaurant meals if you are trying to lose weight. Here’s how.

You’ve probably heard time and again that you should avoid eating at restaurants if you are trying to lose weight. But is eating out at restaurants off the menu just because you’ve committed to a diet plan? Not at all! It’s crucial for any diet plan that you choose to work as part of a well-rounded real-life experience. That means there needs to be room for the occasional lunch date, night out with friends, or splashy celebration at your favorite restaurant.

The case for eating out gets a little more challenging when you’re talking about ordering from restaurants every single day when trying to lose weight.

However, there are ways to eat out without gaining weight if you’re willing to be mindful.

There’s no magic formula that changes the fact that you have to pay attention to what you’re eating when you dine away from home. Here are ten smart tips to help you do just that!

Tip #1: Look at the Menu Ahead of Time

When it comes to eating healthy when dining out, it’s essential to prepare in advance. It’s not uncommon to have to wait for a while before eating, especially if you are dining out on the weekend. This leaves plenty of time for you to become famished, even if you were not hungry when you left the house. You are more likely to overeat when you are really hungry. Also, when you are hungry, it’s harder to concentrate. So, you might have trouble making healthy choices. Therefore, take a look at the menu online before going to the restaurant. Find out what is available and think about what options might fit into your diet so that you are ready to order when you get there. If you use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your nutrients or calorie intake, you can plug the information into the app ahead of time for your meals.

Tip #2: Know What to Avoid

Nobody is saying that any food should be considered “forbidden.” Part of having a healthy relationship with food is feeling empowered to choose what you want to eat. However, anyone aiming to lose weight while enjoying the restaurant experience should try to avoid three common pitfalls. These pitfalls are sugar, alcohol, and deep-fried foods. This tip alone will help you avoid unnecessary fat and calories that will slow you down. What’s more, the truth is that nobody really ever feels great after loading up on these things anyway.

Tip #3 Eat a Healthy Snack Before You Go

Before you leave for the restaurant, munch on a healthy snack. It can take a while to get your food when eating out. If you are ravenous by the time the bread comes out, you may very well end up sabotaging your diet. A great way to prevent this is to eat a high-protein, high-fiber snack before you go. Protein and fiber help tame hunger hormones, which can help you feel more satiated.

Tip #4 Choose Unsweetened Drinks

Sure, water is the best choice to keep you hydrated. But, if you are craving something more, you might be tempted to give in and order a soda or margarita. Unfortunately, most restaurant drinks are packed with sugar. If you have been trying to figure out what you can drink, here are a few options: sparkling water, unsweetened tea, and water with lemon. Sipping on unsweetened tea or sparkling water can help you stay hydrated and help prevent overeating.

Tip #5 Don’t Stigmatize Salad

You might dislike the idea of ordering a salad at a restaurant because it screams that you’re on a diet. However, the truth is that many restaurants make spectacular salads. This can be both good and bad when trying to lose weight. The good news is that you can get an outstanding balance of protein and fiber-filled greens if you know how to order a salad the right way. Grilled chicken, grilled fish, lean steak, avocado, boiled eggs, and nuts can all offer healthy protein and fat. The bad news is that some salads have more calories than something like a sandwich simply because of all of the add-on ingredients. You want to be more careful when it comes to salads that toss in bacon, breaded chicken, or other “heavy” items that are likely to be fried in grease. Lastly, ask for olive oil and vinegar on the side instead of a creamy dressing.

Tip #6 Focus on Grilled Vegetables

One of the best low-calorie options when eating out is a plate of grilled vegetables. You’ll enjoy that you feel like you have a lot to eat without feeling like you’re filling up on greasy, fried foods. If you want to lose weight by eating out, consider vegan restaurants that prepare thick eggplant, portabella mushrooms, or zucchinis in ways that are similar to how other restaurants prepare cuts of meat. This allows you to enjoy a healthier meal that still has plenty of flavor and interesting texture.

Tip #7 Don’t Assume That a Portion Is Really a Serving

Know the difference between a portion and a serving size when eating out. Many restaurants pack plates with portions that represent anywhere from two to three or more servings of food. Create a visual of how much of your plate actually represents an appropriate serving before your fork digs in. This will allow you to eat at the right pace for how much you intend to consume. Another option is to ask for a to-go box when you receive your meal and pack up half right away. There’s no shame in boxing up the rest for home!

Tip #8 Avoid Sneaky Calories

A few slices of bread before your meal, an overflowing margarita, and that slice of raspberry cheesecake that you see as “extras” can easily exceed the number of calories in your actual meal. If you eat out often, you’ll generally want to avoid these things if you are trying to lose weight. However, indulging every once in a while is fine. One good strategy is to make a bargain with yourself that you’ll choose just one indulgence to add to your meal.

Tip #9 Make Fish Your Signature Dish

One of the best hacks for losing weight when eating out is to make fish your go-to dish. The reason why is because restaurants tend not to offer huge portions of fish. That means that you’ll get a very appropriate cut of a delicious fish that is rich in healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. The flavor and richness of fish are likely to leave you feeling too satisfied to overindulge in side dishes.

Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

Tip #10 Rein In Your Sweet Tooth

Finally, don’t let your sweet tooth derail all of the effort that you have put into eating healthy while dining out. Instead, wait until you get home and end your meal with something healthier. Most restaurant desserts are enormous and easily more than one serving. If you decide to order dessert, share it with one of your friends or family members.

What’s the Best Strategy for How to Lose Weight by Eating Out?

The best strategy for losing weight when eating out may be to eat at restaurants only occasionally. For many people, eating out is a way to save time. However, there is another option that most people don’t think about — made-to-order, fresh foods. We are talking about foods that are prepared fresh using healthy ingredients like ginger soy chicken breast. These meals rival those you’ll find in restaurants, as they are prepared fresh.

Choosing meal delivery is a great option that is between relying on restaurant meals and cooking everything yourself. Many people use professional meal prep services to have healthy meals waiting in the fridge.

There’s another reason why you might want to focus on planning meals ahead of time instead of walking into a restaurant or takeout place. According to a study conducted by the United States the Department of Agriculture (USDA), each meal eaten at a restaurant adds 134 calories on average to a person’s daily intake. The number of added calories was even higher per day for people who were considered obese. What’s more, eating out was associated with eating nearly a quarter fewer servings of leafy greens, fruits, and whole grains.

The beauty of meal prep is that you can enjoy delicious, restaurant-quality foods without feeling like you’re getting derailed from your plan. When eating out, one problem that’s easy to run into is feeling “trapped” by a menu. Being in a rush means that many people settle for whatever they can get instead of prioritizing nutritional value. The best part is that getting serious with meal prep means that you’re covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks without any feelings of deprivation.

Okay, so you know that you should go to the gym. You’ve heard about the many benefits of exercise. New research even suggests that it can even ward off depression. There’s a whole laundry list of reasons to hit the gym. However, sometimes we find that the last thing that we want to do is work out. Despite the money spent on a gym membership thinking it would provide the motivation to hit the treadmill hard every day, we might find that we only set foot inside a couple of times. In fact, many of us can think of a million things we’d rather do, and none involve a treadmill.

Love It or Hate It

If those of us with an unused gym membership exist on one end of the spectrum, on the other end you’ll find those who can’t seem to live without the gym. They talk about how exercise gives them a “Runner’s High.” For them, exercise seems to be addictive. They don’t give being active a second thought. It’s just something they do every day without even thinking about it. You have read dozens of articles on how to develop workout motivation. You’ve tried all of the tips. Yet, nothing is working. So, how come exercise motivation comes so easily for some people and not others?

Most online articles that give advice on workout motivation contain good information. But, they miss the mark when it comes to workout motivation. As someone who has spent years studying motivation and has also been a certified fitness instructor, I truly understand why workout motivation comes easy for some people and not others.

Finding the motivation to work out consistently really comes from making it a part of your daily life. That is the key to getting and staying motivated when it comes to working out.

First, Choose Something You Love

This seems easy enough. But, how many times do you hear people talk about begrudgingly going to the gym like it’s some form of punishment? If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be motivated to do it. You don’t have to be happy doing it all the time, but it should be something that leaves you feeling good on most days.

There’s tons of advice on exploring new types of fun new activities. You might be told to try pilates or join a workout class. But what one person enjoys might be boring or torturous for the next. Our personalities and interests largely impact the kind of fitness activity that we will enjoy long term.

People who are extroverted may feel at home in a group fitness or dance class, while a person who is introverted may enjoy solitary early morning runs. Whatever it is, it has to be something that you enjoy. You may have to try many different types of movement. The thing is to keep trying until you find something you genuinely enjoy.

Then, Make it Easy

The first piece of the puzzle when it comes to workout motivation is choosing something that you love. The second piece is finding a way to make it easy to do the type of workout you like. You have to incorporate daily movement into your life in a way that is seamless. It must become a part of your daily schedule or routine. This is called automaticity.

Automaticity refers to the idea of doing something automatically, without thinking. It’s like remembering to brush your teeth every day. It’s not hard because you are used to doing it every day.  A research study conducted by fitness giant Les Mills found that automaticity is the key to sticking to a workout routine. In the study, participants were divided into two groups of people. One group was comprised of people who are regular exercisers. They worked out on average 150 minutes per week over the last ten years. The second group consisted of people who rarely worked out. The critical difference between those who worked out regularly and those who didn’t was automaticity. All of the participants, 100 percent in the active group, said that exercise is part of their routine. Among the inactive participants, more than 92 percent said that fitness was NOT a regular part of their routine.

So, how can you make exercise automatic? A part of your daily routine? Here are some tips.

#1 Find A Time that Suits Your Internal Clock 

Some articles suggest working out first thing in the morning. They say that people who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to follow a fitness program — that’s it’s all about finding the willpower to just do it. If you are not a morning person, this simply won’t work for you.

For those who are NOT early birds, advice to wake up early to get in some gym time won’t work. Some people are just genetically programmed to not function at their best early in the morning. There are hundreds of genes that influence whether a person prefers mornings or evenings. Trying to go against your genetics will get you nowhere. You’ll just end up feeling like a failure when you’re unable to pull yourself out of bed for those 5 A.M. workouts. So, identify what times of the day are best for you, whether that’s mornings, lunchtime, or in the evening.

#2 Schedule It

How often have you made plans to go to the gym and canceled at the last minute when something else came up? Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment. I use apps like Mindbody and ClassPass, to schedule workouts ahead of time. I’ve found that this makes it much harder to blow off workouts, especially since there often is a cancellation fee associated with not going most of the time.

Putting your workouts into your calendar in this way can give you the motivation that you never knew you had.

#3 Make it Effortless

Contrarily, If you struggle with scheduling your workout sessions during the day and following through, try to do it first thing in the morning regardless of your routine. Make it as easy as possible to work out by removing any obstacles. For example, keep an exercise bike  in your bedroom room you can hop on as soon as you wake up.

​​​#4 Be Prepared

After you have your workouts scheduled, make sure you are prepared with the things that you need. If you are working out at home, pick up any equipment you need for your workouts. If you plan to do yoga after work, make sure you have a yoga mat, towels, and other essentials like an eye pillow in your bag. Cycling to and from work each day? Pack waterproof gear so that you will be ready no matter the weather. Also, pack some healthy snacks for your gym bag to replenish your energy after your workout.

Related article: How Good Nutrition Supports Athletic Performance

#5 Up the Stakes

Another way to ensure that you keep up with your workout routine is to put some money behind it. You can sign up for a subscription to a workout subscription app, like Pelaton or Apple Fitness Plus. This makes it more likely that you will make working out a part of your everyday life.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

You Are On a Roll, What Now?

Sticking to a workout routine is really about playing the long game. At first, you’ll be motivated and excited. However, it won’t always be this way. It will take months — maybe even years of hard work to make it a part of your life. There will be times when you feel ​​unmotivated, discouraged, or overwhelmed. Here’s how to deal with these feelings.

#1 Cut Yourself Some Slack

There will be days that you won’t be able to get your workout in, even with the best planning. That’s completely fine. Some days, you just won’t be feeling good. Even the most motivated people have days that they don’t want to work out. Avoid reading too much into it. Simply move past it, and get back to your workouts as soon as possible.

#2 Get Back on Track

Everyone falls off track sometimes when it comes to working out. This can happen for various reasons, from schedule conflicts to injuries. During COVID-19, many people who regularly worked out stopped. According to research, physical activity levels dropped significantly after the pandemic struck. Even people who exercised every single day stopped working out.

Keeping up with your daily workouts is a habit. Once you get out of the habit of working out, it’s easy to fall into a rut. The key is to get back into the habit of exercising again as soon as you realize that you have become off track. Don’t wait until the perfect time. Just start.

#3 Pay Attention

When you notice that you are working out more than usual, take a moment to pay attention and think about why. Try to figure out what’s behind your motivation. For instance, perhaps you get more workouts in when you sleep better. Or, perhaps you work out more often when you attend a specific fitness class. Search for your motivation and take actions that support it.

Final Thoughts

The motivation to work out comes from making fitness a daily part of your life. You can’t think of it as punishment. You have to decide to make movement an essential part of your routine. Do that and staying fit will be easy.

Better performance starts with better meals. The equation seems simple enough. It makes sense that nourishing our bodies with healthy, nutritious ingredients will provide the energy needed to fuel muscle activity and physical propulsion. However, life has a way of making us forget just how important the right stuff is. As a result, many people reach for what’s fast instead of what’s optimal. Unfortunately, this can backfire pretty quickly if you’re living an athletic lifestyle. Here’s how poor sports nutrition can affect athletes:

  • Poor performance
  • Longer recovery times
  • Immune suppression
  • Weight gain
  • Malnourishment
  • Hormonal imbalances caused by nutritional deficiencies

Being reminded of how good nutrition supports athletic performance becomes very important once you consider what’s at stake. A good diet isn’t just going to set you up for success on the track or field today. It will insulate your body against injury and disease for the rest of your life. Take a look at what science reveals about plating up for life on the fast track.

Performance Nutrition: Here’s What’s Essential When You’re Eating for Athletic Performance

Eating properly for sports nutrition really comes down to balance. What should your plate look like when you’re eating for power? Here’s a look at the essentials that athletes need to have in their diets based on a thorough analysis of sports nutrition for young athletes published in 2013:

  • Macronutrients: Athletes can enjoy strength and endurance using carbohydrates, protein, and fats that fuel physical activity. Yes, they’re all necessary when you’re going hard. Of course, eating the right proportions is everything.

Related Article: Beyond the Basics: Why Tracking Your Macros Matters

  • Carbohydrates: While some people malign carbohydrates because they assume any carbohydrate is a simple carbohydrate, the truth is that complex carbohydrates from whole, healthy sources are vital for performance. Some healthy sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fresh fruits, milk products, vegetables, and yogurt.
  • Protein: This is a big one. While everyone needs protein, athletes need it direly because protein helps to build and repair muscle. There’s also a “vanity” aspect to eating enough protein because protein helps to keep hair, skin, and nails healthy and glowing. Some excellent sources of tasty, nourishing protein for athletes include fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, beats, and dairy.
  • Fats: Fat is critical for helping athletes to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Consuming healthy fats is essential for organ function, insulation, and energy. Adding healthy fat sources to a meal also helps to prolong satiation. This is so important when you’re crafting a tailored diet because feeling full and satisfied for a longer period allows you to keep going without giving in to cravings caused by starvation cues from a lack of fat in your diet. Some ideal sources of fat for an athlete’s diet include lean red meat, poultry, fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and dairy products.

Deciding on portions is all about balance. When athletes attempt diets that are too restrictive, they rob their bodies of the essential nutrients and fuel needed to perform at their best levels. They also risk turning to foods that aren’t on the plan out of sheer desperation because they are depleted. Of course, the opposite is also true. There is actually such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when eating an athlete-friendly diet.

A good example of this is protein intake. While protein is pushed as the perfect fuel for athletes, the truth is that it’s very easy to eat too much protein. According to experts, most Americans are already eating twice as much protein as they need for proper muscle development. There isn’t as much of a concern about overloading on protein if you’re an active person. However, it’s still important to know about the dangers associated with extreme protein diets. Consuming more protein than you need can lead to:

  • Storing increased excess protein as increased body fat.
  • Greater risk for dehydration caused by fluid loss.
  • Calcium depletion.
  • Kidney issues stemming from burdened kidneys.

There’s also a risk that you’re trying to replace carbohydrates with protein. The truth is that carbohydrates are necessary for athletes. The simple solution is to strive for a healthy balance instead of leaning on one food group as a way to try to cut out another food group. What does balance look like when you’re trying to get enough protein while also peppering in some good carbohydrates? Something like a hearty burrito bowl with Spanish rice, cherry tomatoes, shredded cucumbers, carrots, hummus, and tzatziki sauce on the side checks all the boxes. The same goes for chicken fajitas with sautéed chicken thigh seasoned with a blend of spices, bell peppers, and red onions with steamed rice on the side.

Hydration: The True Powerhouse of an Athlete’s Diet

Photo by Ivan Samkov

Healthy meals get results. However, even the most perfect meal plan in the world will go sideways if it’s not followed up by a great hydration strategy. Water is so crucial for athletes. In addition to keeping your body hydrated, water keeps the body at the right temperature. It’s very easy for athletes to lose water with just one workout. Just one grueling workout session can cause your body to lose several liters of sweat in just an hour!

How do you know if you’re fully hydrated? The simplest answer is that you’re producing clear urine. If you’re seeing anything else, it’s time to increase your water intake. Here are some tips for sticking to the all-important task of staying hydrated as an athletic person:

  • Drink fluids with every meal! While water is best, any fluid will provide you with some hydration.
  • The general hydration rule to have in your mind is that you want to drink two cups of water roughly two hours before a workout. Never work out without enough water in your body!
  • It’s OK to sip while you work out! Drink up to a cup every 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re going hard past an hour, consider switching from water to an energy drink to keep your electrolyte levels at a safe place.
  • Remember that drinking isn’t just an activity for when you’re thirsty. In fact, you’re probably already dipping into dehydration territory if you’re feeling the physical sensation of thirst.

Water is always the preferred option for hydration. However, it’s important to remember that enjoying hydrating treats can be a great way to introduce extra hydration into your life. Something like fresh-pressed juice is a tasty way to get hydrated. A healthy smoothie that provides refreshing hydration with the added benefit of plant-based protein and natural carbohydrates can fulfill some of your liquid requirements while also providing pure fuel.

Getting Smart About Meal Prep When You’re an Athlete

If you’re already busy, trying to squeeze in an athletic lifestyle can push you to the brink with managing your time. This is where many aspiring athletics types run into trouble. They get sick, hurt, or simply give up out of exhaustion because they don’t eat the right foods to fuel what they are trying to accomplish. Planning is everything.

When it comes to performance nutrition, timing is key. You need to have meals readily available during the strategic points during the day when you should be fueling up both as a form of repair and preparation. Generally, you should be eating about three hours before a big workout session or event to allow for good digestion. Rushing to eat whatever you can before a session sets you up for gastrointestinal distress during your activity.

While fat is vital for fueling up, it’s also important to know that high-fat meals should generally be avoided just before exercise because they can delay gastric emptying. That leads to you being slow, sluggish, and moody. Going on a long run in the morning? Breakfast is essential once you’re done. Having avocado toast or egg white frittata waiting for you after the finish line is the best way to ensure that you have the energy and stability to tackle the workday that comes after the workout.

Timing your meals is important. However, planning ahead to know exactly what you’ll be eating is even more important. It’s very hard to have reliable output when you don’t have reliable intake. That’s why serious athletes schedule a whole week of meals ahead of time. This lets you map out nutrient levels to ensure you’re getting the fuel you need based on your training days. Yes, meal prep is also essential for helping you steer clear of temptations that will make your workouts more challenging. We are all only human and thus susceptible to eating unhealthy foods when in a hurry or stressed. That’s why it’s crucial to have a good meal plan in place to ensure that indulging in goodies is a choice instead of a trap.

Have you noticed that as you get older, you can no longer eat the same way that you did when you were younger? Does it seem that you gain weight just by “looking at a muffin?” This is because your metabolism slows down with age. When your metabolism slows down, this makes it so much easier to gain weight and more difficult to lose weight. So, when does your metabolism slow down and why?

The truth is that there is so much the medical community is learning about human metabolism all the time. Scientists do know that metabolism and aging are closely related. Let’s take a deeper look at how metabolism changes with age.

What Is the Metabolism?

Everyone has a metabolism. Your metabolism is the process used by your body to convert what you eat and drink into energy. Your body is constantly converting the things that you eat and drink into usable energy with the help of oxygen. The energy that is created is used for every single process and system within your body. Energy from food and drinks is used for breathing, balancing hormone levels, circulating blood, repairing cells and tissue and growing new cells. Every person has a base metabolic rate that is needed to maintain essential bodily functions. We generally consider this to be your “metabolism.”

What Influences Metabolism?

We’re still learning a lot about what makes each person’s metabolism unique. In some cases, there may be no clear answer regarding why two people with similar genetic profiles may have wildly different metabolisms. However, there are some general factors that seem to contribute to metabolism. They include:

  • Body size and composition. People with larger builds seem to burn more calories both at rest and during activity. People who are more muscular also tend to burn more calories by default.
  • Gender. Generally, men tend to have less body fat when compared to women. They also tend to have more muscle than women. As a result, men generally burn more calories than women.
  • Age. Yes, metabolism appears to slow down with age. This is likely linked with a decrease in muscle mass that often occurs with age.

While a person’s default metabolic rate plays a big role in how many calories are burned daily, it’s not the sole determiner of how your body manages calories. Something called thermogenesis also plays a role in this. Thermogenesis refers to the process of how food is digested, absorbed, transported through the body and stored. Roughly 10% of all calories consumed from protein and carbohydrates are used by the body to digest and absorb nutrients.

Another significant factor in how the body manages calories is physical activity. The amount of physical activity completed daily dramatically impacts the number of calories burned by the body daily. While some bodily processes automatically burn calories, activities like running, walking, swimming and playing sports can burn hundreds of extra calories per hour above a person’s baseline rate for burning calories.

When Does Your Metabolism Slow Down?

Younger athlete and older athlete jogging together.

“Putting on weight” is a common complaint as people reach their 30s and 40s. Many people feel a “shift” in the way their bodies handle foods that they could eat without problems just a few years earlier. Yes, the evidence does show that metabolism may shift with age. Therefore, eating habits may require adjustment as we age.

According to a study published in August of 2021, metabolism peaks fairly early in life. We are then on a constant trajectory of keeping up with a shifting metabolism. The study also found that our metabolisms operate at “super speed” from the time we are born until the end of our teen years. However, we may not notice that our metabolisms are slowing down by about 3 percent annually until we reach age 20. At age 20, there is generally a significant “leveling off” that occurs as the metabolism reaches a new normal. The metabolism also slowly trickles down from middle age into a person’s “golden years.” A person in their 90s requires 26% fewer calories than a person in middle age.

Metabolism and Weight Gain

The most straightforward formula for gaining weight is taking in more calories than the body needs to function based on your activity levels. However, maintaining a stable weight can be complicated by a number of different factors, including your metabolism. It’s believed that the following mix of factors influences weight:

  • Genetic makeup.
  • Hormonal balance.
  • Diet composition.
  • Sleep.
  • Stress.
  • Underlying illnesses.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Decreased metabolism.

While the “surest” way to maintain a healthy weight is to eat the right amounts of calories and fat for your body type and lifestyle, choosing the right types of foods is also essential. The truth is that not all food is created equal. It’s important to eat whole, nutrient-filled foods that assist with things like promoting better sleep, keeping blood sugar stable, enabling the body to produce the right amounts of hormones and allowing you to stay full and satisfied for more extended periods. 

How Can You Prevent Your Metabolism From Slowing Down?

Focus on Muscle Mass


Muscle mass plays a very important role in metabolism as we age. Muscle simply burns more calories than fat when we are in a resting state. That is because muscle burns more calories than fat. So, even while you sleep, your body will burn more calories. This means that having a lifestyle consisting of muscle-building foods combined with muscle-building workouts is a “metabolism hack” at any age. Being a muscle-minded person becomes non-negotiable as we age if we want to enjoy strength, energy and a healthy weight.

Age-related loss of muscle mass is a well-documented fact. People begin to lose between 3% and 5% of muscle each decade after turning 30. Researchers call the natural decline in muscle mass that occurs with age sarcopenia.

Researchers aren’t completely clear on why muscle declines so aggressively with age. One strong theory is that the natural decline of testosterone contributes to muscle loss. That’s because testosterone is considered a “muscle builder” that stimulates protein synthesis for muscle formation.

Get the Right Amount of Protein to Support Muscle Growth

While eating a muscle-minded diet is essential at any age, it becomes increasingly important as we age. Getting adequate protein levels in our diets is one of the most important things we can do to reduce muscle loss. Resistance-training exercises are also very beneficial for helping to promote healthy muscle mass as we age. Of course, having adequate protein levels in your diet when doing strength training is essential for being able to give your body the fuel it needs to keep up with workouts without becoming depleted.

Protein is pure muscle food. When we consume protein, it is broken down into amino acids used by the body to put on muscle. However, a common phenomenon known as anabolic resistance can throw a wrench in your plans even if you are eating what would be considered a balanced diet. Anabolic resistance reduces the body’s ability to break down and synthesize the protein we consume. The solution is to eat more high-quality protein. Some tips for optimizing muscle protein synthesis:

  • Divide protein equally between meals throughout the day.
  • Use protein from animal sources as the easiest way to get proper ratios of amino acids.
  • Avoid processed meats and foods that are full of additives and saturated fats.

It’s also important to be consistent with protein levels daily. Relying on sugary snacks that are easy to grab often leaves us going hours without a good protein source during the day. A consistent meal plan ensures that you’re getting in the healthy, whole protein sources needed to optimize protein use without significant gaps during the week.

Athlete using a dumbbell for strength training.

Do Strength Training

Along with diet, strength training is one of the most important ways to maintain muscle mass as we age. In addition to helping you burn calories more efficiently, strength training can help keep your bones strong as you age. If you have not been active recently, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before beginning any strength training program for guidance on what activities you can do.

Minding Your Metabolism: Everyone Has the Power to Fuel Their Bodies the Right Way

It can feel like metabolism is simply all about the luck of the draw. However, nobody can escape the realities of the declining metabolisms and reduced muscle mass that come with age. The good news is that orienting our diets to work with the natural flow of the human metabolism is an easy way to control weight while nourishing the body to fight back against muscle loss.

At the bare minimum, make sure you’re getting at least .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight, the recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Remember that quality, lean protein sources are best! It’s also wise to break up protein evenly throughout the day to ensure that your body isn’t “starved” for protein at any point. This could look like starting your day with a whole-egg scramble bowl before moving on to a lunch consisting of a smoked paprika chicken breast salad, a dinner consisting of chimichurri steak and a snack consisting of organic strawberry chia pudding.

We’ve all had that moment of realizing that we’re mindlessly shoveling in another forkful of food. Some of us might not even realize that we’ve been eating on autopilot until our crumb-dusted hands feel the empty inside of a party-sized chip bag. Rote eating is something that many of us fall into because of life’s fast pace. How many times have you gobbled up a sandwich in four bites just to be able to walk into a meeting on time? “Netflix eating” is also a real problem. Eating while binging on the latest season of Ozark causes us to attune our senses to what’s on the screen. This is great except that we then no longer pay attention to our taste buds. During the holidays, many people fall into the trap of distracted eating. The sheer volume of food put in front of us can cause us to feel pressure to try everything. As a result, we’re in a frenzied state of eating without savoring our food. So, how can we practice mindful eating this holiday? Read on for some tips. But first, let’s first talk about distracted eating. 

The Problem With Distracted Eating

The problem is that eating without intention causes us to eat more. “Distracted” eating can be especially dangerous when it comes to consuming larger portions unintentionally. An extensive analysis done by researchers on the topic of “eating awareness” a few years ago sheds some light on this problem. It showed just how much more likely we are to overeat when eating under the influence of distraction.

How Likely We Are To Overeat When Distracted

When looking at 24 studies, researchers found that eating when distracted consistently produced a moderate boost in immediate intake. When we begin a meal in a distracted state, we tend to start eating extra straight out of the gate. Furthermore, starting a meal while distracted causes us to increase intake as our eating continues. Think of it like a “snowball effect.”

Is there anything that can stop it? According to this review, there are three key takeaways to combat distracted eating. Here they are:

  • Enhancing memory of food consumed reduced later intake. That means that slowing down to pay attention to what you’re eating can prevent you from overeating at subsequent meals.
  • Removing visual information about the amount of food eaten during the meal increases immediate intake. Luckily, this is one of the easiest oversights to fix. We’ll cover the tips in just a minute!
  • Incorporating attentive-eating principles into one’s lifestyle may aid both weight loss and maintenance without the need for conscious calorie counting.

Distracted eating can happen anywhere. However, many people have concerns about losing perspective about what’s on their plates with the holidays approaching. The stress of holiday shopping and worries over holiday finances can cause us to not pay attention to what we eat. Even good things like spending time with family or the carefree joy that comes from having time off can cause distracted eating.

That’s not to say that a little bit of indulgence isn’t welcomed on big feasting days like Thanksgiving. However, the goal should be to enjoy some controlled indulgence instead of distracted indulgence.

How to Stay Present During Holiday Meals

Take a look at some smart tips for being more aware and paying more attention to what you eat over the holidays.

Mindful Eating Tip #1: Focus on Nutrition First

Thanksgiving dinner table setting with healthy food.

Before you approach a spread packed with all kinds of starchy, sticky and sweet foods, make a deal with yourself: to focus on nutrition first. Choose to load your plate first with nutritional foods rather than ones that are simply “yummy.” You should also eat the most nutritious things off your plate first. This will help you fill up on goodies like steamed broccoli or lean turkey before diving into the buttery biscuits. You’re not restricting what you can eat. Instead, you’re prioritizing foods that nourish you. The bonus is that you won’t be quite so ravenous when you do finally work your way to the desserts. Starting your meal by being mindful about what you’re eating will set you up to remain mindful.

Mindful Eating Tip #2: Don’t Grab the Big Dish

Pay attention to the size of your plate! While this may seem simple enough, the reality is that most of us have been programmed to “fill our plates” regardless of the size. In fact, we rarely stop to even consider the way that plate size impacts portion size. According to some experts, it’s not uncommon for a person to end up eating 25 percent to 50 percent more food from a bigger dish! There’s a way around this. First, if you are at a gathering, try to grab a dish that’s close to the size you use for your meals at home. If the dishes only come in one size, estimate the size of your “normal” dish within the larger dish. Only fill your plate to cover your regular portion size from home!

Mindful Eating Tip #3: Don’t Socialize Near the Food

This little hack is helpful for holidays, parties and work meetings! Proximity to food makes us more likely to dip our hands in! In a study looking at how visibility and convenience influence candy consumption, researchers placed candy dishes in work settings to see if proximity influenced how much candy study participants would eat. The results of this study were surprising. People ate nine candies when a dish was on the desk. When the candy was placed in a drawer, they ate six. When participants had to get up from their desk, they ate only four pieces!

It’s easy to see how being able to simply “reach” for food makes it more challenging to practice mindful eating. When the food is further away, it gives you more time to think about whether or not you really want that food.

Mindful Eating Tip #4: Start the Day With Your Own Breakfast

Getting your day off to a rocky start that includes grabbing for whatever is available can set you up for a day of distracted, mindless eating. We can’t always control what others are going to serve at events like holiday gatherings. However, we can control what we eat before we get there. Pay special attention to breakfast if it’s the only meal of the day that you can control. By practicing mindful eating earlier in the day, you can better avoid distracted eating later in the day. You are setting yourself up for mindful eating all day long!

Here are a couple of ideas for a mindful breakfast. Prepare a hearty egg scramble that keeps you feeling full and energized. The healthy proteins will get you in the mindset for healthy meals without a sense of deprivation for the rest of the day. If you stay at someone’s house overnight before a big holiday, take along something easy and convenient like overnight oats.

Mindful Eating Tip #5: Keep Your Plate Away From the Television

This might just be the most important tip of all! Being distracted by shows, movies and videos may be one of the most significant unknown health risks people face today! Eating while watching television around the holidays can be especially dangerous! Want to know why? This is a time of year when holiday baking shows flood the airways and streaming services. A study from University of Surrey found that watching cooking shows and videos can cause us to eat more.

Of course, eating while gathered around the television for any reason can cause us to eat more. What many people don’t realize is that eating while watching television makes food less satisfying. As a result, we keep going back for more because we aren’t satiated quite as easily.

Having our senses occupied by the screen can also cause us to miss critical cues that tell us we’ve eaten enough! There’s also a “time” component. Making the decision to eat while watching a television show locks in our “eating time” for the duration of that show. This may cause us to go back for “seconds” several times to remain in a state of eating until the end of the program we’re watching!

What to do instead? Practice mindful eating by making the decision to start a show or movie after eating for the evening.

Final Thoughts: Mindful Eating Makes the Holidays More Enjoyable

Mindfulness elevates the experience of eating. It’s important to remember that mindfulness isn’t a punishment designed to stop us from seeing food as a means of enjoyment. The opposite is true. Mindfulness allows us to live in the moment with our plates instead of feeling like we’re always chasing the pleasure that’s dulled by distraction.

Couple enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.

Stop Worrying About BMI

Like many, you’ve probably strolled into the doctor’s office for a simple checkup and had a few measurements taken. One of these measurements may have been your Body Mass Index or BMI. This is a measurement that records your height and weight, then categorizes your weight status as either underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese.

The problem with BMI is that it’s very antiquated. This measurement has been used since the 1800’s and doesn’t take very much into account, yet it’s still used today. The amount and location of body fat isn’t even taken into consideration with BMI, which means that an individual with a higher weight, yet lower body fat, may still be categorized as overweight or obese. A BMI this high on an athletic individual is obviously misleading.

So, why is BMI still a thing? Despite there being other, more accurate options for measuring your weight status or health, why is it still used today? That’s exactly what you’re going to be learning more about in this post. You’ll also walk away with some other fantastic options that can be used for checking your health!

A Brief History of BMI

Before dropping into some of the ways that BMI misses the ball, let’s talk about its origins.

The BMI measurement was created in the 1830’s by a mathematician named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. What’s interesting about the creation of BMI is that it wasn’t even created by a physician, yet it’s used regularly in a physician’s protocol. The aim of the number was to determine whether a person is of a healthy weight by dividing their weight by their height squared. This number was then used as a statistic for a general population that would aid the government in allocating resources. What it didn’t do is pinpoint exact measures of health or weight status.

The scale of your BMI runs in ranges and places you into categories, which are still used today. You can see these below:

Below 18.5Underweight
30.0 and aboveObese

Why BMI Misses the Mark

Now, is BMI accurate? In reality, using BMI as a measurement of health or weight status can be misleading. When you have an individual with higher amounts of muscle mass, their BMI may be inaccurate. Due to extra muscle contributing to their overall weight, they may be classified as overweight, even though they’re in great shape with a low percentage of body fat. This is due to the fact that BMI doesn’t take actual body fat percentage (or muscle mass) into account. These numbers are huge variables when it comes to determining the health of someone and they’re totally left out in this form of measurement.

Athlete working out with dumbells

The point of BMI is to keep up with weight and the rate of obesity, but can this really be used as a true indicator if it’s mislabeling healthy individuals as obese? In turn, it becomes an indirect measurement of obesity, and this can be seen in a study measuring trained and untrained individuals. The trained group, even though in better shape, had more individuals categorized as overweight than the untrained group. Therefore, some categorizations of people having their BMI measured are in fact wrong.

Even for an individual who does contain a higher percentage of body fat, BMI can still be slightly misleading. BMI doesn’t take the location of body fat into consideration. It’s no secret that an abundance of fat tissue in the midsection is bad for your health, but what if you carry it evenly throughout the body? When body fat is distributed throughout in an even manner, it’s detriment to your health may be reduced (but not eliminated). If you’re looking at BMI as a marker for health, it could be misleading due to the information it isn’t considering.

BMI may categorize you as overweight, or even obese, in cases where you may actually be in great shape. While it may be an accurate measurement for some scenarios, it doesn’t take everything into account, which limits the credibility of it.

So, why is it still used today?

BMI is a fast way of coming up with a supposed range of health in regard to weight. The number can be found out quickly and it’s been used for so long that it’s just stuck. It’s also still used because there is a large proportion of the population that isn’t athletic. Due to this, the ranges given can have some indication of actual weight status.

This, however, doesn’t mean that it’s an accurate measurement and there are much more effective ways of measuring your body composition, weight loss, and overall health.

Other Ways to Measure Health

DEXA Scans

DEXA scans are imaging tests that measure your bone density. While these are used to look for things like osteoporosis, they also show your body composition. This means that you get to see your other tissues like body fat and muscle mass. Using this information, you can differentiate what your weight is actually comprised of. Whereas with BMI an athletic person could be classified as overweight, a DEXA scan might show quite the opposite.

The only downside to the DEXA scans is that they can be slightly pricey. However, if this isn’t a concern for you, it’s a fantastic way to get an accurate read on your body.


Body fat calipers being used to measure a women's body fat.

Body fat calipers are tools used for physically measuring the amount of fat present on your body. The process can range from just a few measurements to a full-on exam. This process requires assistance to reach all the locations, and they measurements are often taken from places such as your arms, legs, and stomach. These measurements are put into an equation that eventually produce your body fat percentage. When compare this method to BMI, it may offer you a much better idea of proportion of your weight is actually fat versus lean tissue.

The more places you have tested, the more accurate this outcome can be. There is, however, the chance of a user error in this test so this should be taken into consideration as well!

How Your Clothes Fit

While not an actual test, it can be extremely helpful. As you’re trying to see if things are changing for your body, you can always keep tabs on how your clothes fit. Let’s say the scale hasn’t changed for you, but you’ve been hitting the gym and eating better. However, you have noticed that you had to go down a belt loop for your pants to stay up! This is a good sign and shows that you’ve lost inches. Losing inches is often attributed to a loss in body fat that may accompany a gain in muscle mass. These changes may not show up with a BMI measurement, when in reality a lot is changing.

While not numerical data to use, it’s a great way of self-measuring some changes to your body.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

If you really just want to keep up with your health markers, this is where you should be checking. While BMI may give you some inclination of your weight status, these are measurements that can truly make a difference for your actual health. In many cases, some individuals may have a high BMI but be in fair health when looking at blood pressure and cholesterol. This isn’t always the case, but it can be a reality.

You’ll more than likely have these checked at the same time as your BMI, but maybe keep an eye on these instead of worrying about the outdated BMI you just received.  

How You FEEL!

Happy woman after working out.

At the end of the day, no matter what that BMI says, how do you feel? Do you have energy? Can you do the things you enjoy doing? Are you happy? These are great measurements of health that often don’t get the recognition they deserve. We may look at an odd BMI measurement and completely forget that we were able to run a mile today. If you’re on a health journey, this is also a great place to focus your attention. Are you feeling better as you make these changes? While not a statistical date point, it carries a ton of value when actually tracking your wellness.


There are a ton of different ways in which you can measure your weight, body fat, muscle mass, and health. However, you still get the same old BMI score at the doctors office. It’s an outdated measurement that is still in play today, but don’t let it get you down. That number doesn’t carry as much value as you would assume it does. There is a lot that goes unrecognized in that measurement and this can make it inaccurate. BMI is outdated and isn’t something to fret over. You can always try something like a DEXA scan or body fat test that will provide you with an accurate measurement. In addition, you can try things that aren’t number based and truly go off how you feel!

Use what is relevant to you and your situations and keep moving forward!