Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no rules?
Imagine a world where you could eat what you want, when you want, and how much you want without having to worry about gaining weight. There wouldn’t be self-proclaimed experts around every corner telling you what to eat and what not to eat. You wouldn’t feel guilty about eating that donut, those french fries, or drinking that extra-large soda.
Wouldn’t it be nice! Well, you are not alone!
Unfortunately, we live in a world where people are shunned everyday for being overweight or eating unhealthy. Most of us are guilty of comparing ourselves to standards that others have set for us. And it’s normal to be fearful that you’re not meeting the expectations that you believe your friends, family, or significant others have for you.
But what if I said, you can eat what you want and not worry about packing on the pounds. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well, it’s not untrue!
The following 8 surprisingly healthy food hacks are a collection of nutritional techniques that you can try. They are designed for those who don’t want to give up all of their favourite foods (even the donuts and french fries), rather they focus on moderation. After reading the healthy food hacks if you want to learn more ways on how you can enjoy your favourite foods without the guilt and without adding pounds to your waistline then Download your FREE copy of the Get Fit Get Rich Kickstart Guide. It is packed with Fitness, Nutrition, & Money-Saving Hacks that will help you to achieve better health and greater wealth.
1) SNACKING BEFORE BED IS ENCOURAGED
We all get the after dinner, before bed cravings from time to time. Most of the time the cravings are for a carbohydrate-rich snack which is not a good thing. Indulging in snacks in front of the television in the evening is one of the most common ways people stray from their healthy eating agendas. The problem with eating a lot of carbohydrates before bed is that your body likely already has plenty of carbohydrates in its stores and consuming more will cause the stores to spill over. This results in sugar backing up in your blood stream causing excess body fat storage.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to give up the before bed snack. In fact, you should have a before bed snack. Just choose your snack wisely. The smartest choice for a before bed snack is a protein-rich one. Unlike a carbohydrate-rich snack, consuming protein before bed provides your body with amino acids that it will use to build and repair muscle tissue while you sleep rather than postponing that process until your next protein meal in the morning.
So what should you eat? I recommend a snack of less than 200 calories containing upwards of 30 grams of protein. Protein helps to fuel your muscles all night long when they are in recovery mode. Some protein-rich, before bed snacks you can feel good about include: 1 cup of cottage cheese, 8 ounces of Greek yogurt, 2 cups of milk, a casein protein shake, a handful of nuts, a hardboiled egg, or low-fat cheese with veggies.
2) CAFFEINE IS GOOD
Most people are used to getting a morning caffeine jump from drinking coffee, but did you know that consuming caffeine before a workout can increase endurance during exercise. What happens is that the caffeine slows glycogen depletion (what our bodies turn to for energy during exercise) by encouraging our body to first burn fat for energy. It is one of the few known substances that promotes fat burning and increases metabolism. It also gives us that energy boost which helps us to workout harder. Just be careful not to drink too much or become addicted to caffeine because it is a stimulant drug; if you stop taking it after a pro-longed period of use, you’ll experience withdrawal effects like headaches.
3) YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP ALCOHOL
Instead of delivering essential nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins or fats to your body, alcohol delivers empty calories. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram whereas protein and carbohydrates only contain 4 calories per gram and fat contains 9 calories per gram. Alcohol is also the first thing burned when it enters your body, thus postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage. Testosterone, which further helps to burn fat, is also reduced whenever you consume alcohol. What really sets you back though are the poor food decisions most people make when they are consuming alcohol. These calories are likely going to be stored as fat because your body is focused on burning off the alcohol instead.
With that being said, go ahead and have a glass. I’m serious. Consuming a little alcohol is not going to eliminate your gains, or throw you off track. Just don’t overdo it. Moderation is key. If you are going to have a drink your best choices are dry wines, which are very low in carbohydrates (average of 120 calories per medium-sized glass) or straight liquor such as vodka, rum, scotch, rye or gin, which contain no carbohydrates (all contain 64 calories per ounce). You also need to make sure the mix you use is sugar-free. No soda or processed juice, instead choose tonic, a few wedges of lemon or lime, diet soda, or a water flavor enhancer like Mio. A natural sweetener like Stevia is recommended over an artificial sweetener.
When I plan to indulge in a few drinks, I make sure I eat clean, high protein meals during the day, and I stringently limit the amount of fat and carbohydrates I eat. This is because alcohol inhibits fat burning and promotes fat storage. However, if there is little or no fat in your body waiting to be burned, there is nothing to store.
Another trick I use is to deplete my glycogen stores with a high-rep full body weight training workout in the afternoon because my body won’t store carbohydrates as body fat until its glycogen reserves are full. This may sound a bit extreme in order to enjoy a casual glass of wine, but I worked hard to get my 6-pack abs, and I’m not going to let poor nutrition decisions destroy them.
4) SUPPLEMENTS ARE ESSENTIAL
When it comes to supplementing, everyone is different. What you take largely depends on what your goals are but it is highly unlikely that you are getting the recommended daily intake of all essential vitamins and nutrients.
As an example, I take vitamins and herbs for general health, and supplements for building muscle and shedding fat. Every morning I take a multi-vitamin, vitamin C and D supplements, an Omega 3 fish oil supplement, Curcumin, Coenzyme Q10, and a Green tea supplement. Why do I take so many supplements? Like most people. I don’t get a full serving of all of the recommended vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis and each vitamin or herb serves a different purpose. Click on the name of one of the vitamins or herbs above to learn more about their benefits.
Two supplements I do want to speak about are vitamin D and green tea. Green tea is known for its ability to metabolize fat and when combined with weight-training, green tea increases the potential for fat loss. I take a vitamin D supplement because a lot of people are vitamin D deficient and don’t realize it. Your main source of vitamin D is from the sun, but even a lot of people in sunny places like California are vitamin D deficient. If you live in Canada or the northern half of the United States there is a good chance you are also vitamin D deficient.
During a workout I take the following supplements: BCAA’s, Creatine, Glutamine and Whey Isolate protein powder. Click on the name of one of the supplements above to learn more about the benefits of making it a part of your workout routine. You should always consult with your doctor or nutritionist before including any vitamins, herbs or supplements into your diet. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but feel free to send me an email if you have general questions about my daily supplementation.
5) ELIMINATE THE OJ
Would your opinion of juice change if you knew a soda company made your orange juice or apple juice? Did you know that Coca-Cola makes Minute Maid juice and PepsiCo makes Tropicana juice? In fact, Minute Maid Apple juice contains more fructose than Pepsi or Coca-Cola soda, and nearly double the sugar of an apple. As for orange juice, it generally contains none of the dietary fiber found in an orange.
Whole foods have higher nutritional content than processed foods or juices. Many juicing processes remove the skin and pulp and do not allow for the fruit’s full benefits to get into the juice. Fruit juice that is stripped of its fiber and many of its other nutrients is essentially a concentrated source of sugar. Fruit juice also elevates blood sugar more quickly than whole fruit due to the lack of fiber, and many have other sweeteners added to them. Bottom line: It’s easy to consume a large amount of calories from juice without getting much actual nutrition.
I treat juice like soda and stay away from both because they both contain a large amount of sugar and sugar substitutes. Instead of fruit juice, make a smoothie and use the entire fruit or vegetable. Other sugary drinks you should stay away from include most energy drinks, iced teas, sports drinks, and lattes. When in doubt, read the label and if it doesn’t have a label stay away or go to the company’s website.
6) COOK IN BULK
Preparing multiple meals at once is part of my weekly meal planning process. If you’re preparing a recipe, why not double it and freeze some for later. This saves you money by buying food in bulk, and saves you time by cooking multiple meals at once. This is where investing in a deep freezer makes sense.
For example, if a salad is part of my lunches, I’ll make one large salad and then divide it up into multi-section food containers like these, one for each day. I’ll then add the other parts of my lunch to the other sections of the container. If I’m cooking meat, I’ll make enough to add to all my meals for the week. It’s always a great idea to have some snacks and meals prepared, because you’ll be less likely to make poor food choices if you have a healthy meal that is ready to eat in five or ten minutes.
While we are speaking about meal preparation, a good slow cooker is a big help for quick and easy meal preparation. I bought this premium slow cooker on Amazon at a discounted price. It has multiple timer options and has become one of my best friends. What is better than coming home to a home cooked meal that’s ready to eat? Your slow cooker makes this possible if you don’t have a stay at home partner or butler.
7) TAKE BABY STEPS
If your food choices haven’t been the best for an extended period of time, suddenly cutting out the unhealthy foods all at once will be a difficult task. There is a good chance that your new so-called “diet” will fail and you’ll relapse back into your unhealthy ways. That’s why diets are notoriously ineffective, and rarely work in the long-term. Instead, you should focus on gradually adopting a permanent healthy lifestyle by taking baby steps and focusing on adding healthy foods rather than focusing on depriving your body of unhealthy foods.
Did you know it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic, and between 18 and 254 days (2-8 months) for a new behaviour to become a habit? Add small healthy behaviours to your daily routine one at a time. One behaviour goal might be to eat at least 1 serving of vegetables with each meal. Another might be to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you focus on doing these healthy behaviours everyday, they will eventually become second nature and turn into habits. You’ll begin to stop craving the unhealthy foods. I experienced this exact thing. I focused on converting unhealthy staples out of my diet by adding healthier alternatives a few at a time. For example, a few of my changes were switching from processed peanut butter to almond butter and from 1% milk to almond milk. My cravings for the former products not only stopped, but I cannot even eat the former products now because the 1% milk is way too creamy and the processed peanut butter tastes like a chemical-laced concoction.
8) THE REAL SECRET TO WEIGHT LOSS: CALORIE COUNTING
Save your money and don’t buy any of the books or programs out there that claim they have discovered the secret to losing weight. It all comes down to fewer calories and more exercise, which is why counting calories is important. I’m the first to admit, I hate counting calories, but there are many tools out there that will help you count calories.
There are a few keys to calorie counting: 1) Know the basics of calorie counting. Read the article, How To Count Calories, to learn more about the basics of counting calories.
2) Know how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight (maintenance calories) and how many you need to consume to lose 1 pound a week. You can calculate those numbers by clicking here and going to this handy calorie calculator. The calorie calculator is easy to use and allows you to input how much weight you want to lose. The calculator will then tell you how many calories you need to consume each day to meet your goal and how long it will take you to reach your goal.
3) Get a calorie counting app or program to help you count calories easily so it doesn’t seem like a chore. Go to the Apple Store or the Google Play Store and search “calorie tracker” to find some great apps. Alternatively, you can use a website based counter. My Fitness Pal & Fat Secret are two of the best. They also both have free apps in the Apple and Google Play Stores.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP YOUR GUILTY PLEASURES
I hope you have enjoyed the above 8 surprisingly healthy food hacks. Let’s not kid ourselves we all have guilty food pleasures. Isn’t it exciting knowing that you can still enjoy your guilty food pleasures?
These simple hacks help to improve your overall nutrition so you can reward yourself from time to time with your favourite foods without being fearful that you’re going to pack on the pounds. So go ahead,
Eat what you want and don’t worry about packing on the pounds.
Now get out there and put your new knowledge to the test. The next time you finish a workout reward yourself afterwards by indulging in your favourite guilty food pleasure, in moderation of course. But before you go, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
If you want to learn more ways how you can enjoy your favourite foods without the guilt and without adding pounds to your waistline then Download your FREE copy of the Get Fit Get Rich Kickstart Guide. It is packed with Fitness, Nutrition, & Money-Saving Hacks that will help you to achieve better health and greater wealth.