Keto. Low Carb. Eating programs based on a point system. You name it, the “diet” most likely exists. And while these programs offer the promise of a healthier lifestyle, touting huge results in a short period of time, most people find it challenging to maintain restrictive plans.
It’s time to abolish the diet. The key to a healthier, balanced lifestyle is understanding how proper nutrition can curb cravings, energize and detoxify the body, clear brain fog and support sleep — all crucial components that determine long-term wellness.
As a holistic health and nutrition specialist and chief science officer at Nrish Holistic Wellness & Weight Loss Program, I’m sharing my top five must-dos to be able to say goodbye to the “diet” once and for all and still see results.
Mindful portion control
We live in a society that values convenience, so dining out or eating meals delivered to your home is very common. Unfortunately, that can come at a cost that affects more than just your wallet.
Portion control involves understanding how much food your body actually needs to feel satisfied without gaining weight. The key to portion control isn’t restricting your plate size as much as it is prioritizing foods that are nutrient dense.
Increase your portions of whole foods like vegetables, fruit, seafood and legumes to improve your nutrition and avoid feeling hungry. These foods will also allow for better sleep and recovery.
How much energy you have throughout the day goes beyond just your caffeine intake. Certain types of foods can actually make us feel sluggish and some can help us run at top speed.
Limiting inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy and sticking to more whole foods (foods that naturally grow from the earth) reduces inflammation in the body. This can help reduce heart disease, balance blood pressure and rebalance your gut, improving gut function and enable your body to detox — all resulting in weight loss.
When you stop eating and drinking inflammatory ingredients, you will see a change in how clothes fit on your body and above all, you will feel better and more energized.
Reduce toxicity levels
There are tons of marketing products out there promising to detoxify and help you lose weight in a shockingly short period of time. What is not advertised is that your body is designed to detox on its own.
In fact, you have five detoxing organs that function quite well when we give them proper care. It’s when we constantly bombard them with toxic foods and drinks, they become overburdened and cannot operate as they are intended to.
Symptoms of sluggish detox organs include weight/fat gain, water retention (swelling), fatigue, bloating, constipation and headaches.
By removing processed foods, processed sugar and inflammatory oils like canola and vegetable oil, we give our body the ability to detox and clear out lingering toxicity that we have been carrying around for years.
This can help you lose toxic fat, give your body a reset, and allow for better sleep and digestion. And (maybe most importantly) finally say goodbye to all the three-day slim down programs, flat tummy teas and other products that only offer short term results.
Increase fiber intake
Fiber is crucial to the overall health of the gut. It can aid your digestive health and keep a balanced immune system.
Vegetables and fruits are the best ways to get adequate amounts of fiber. My favorite high-fiber foods include, sweet potatoes, broccoli, beans and lentils, and avocado.
In addition to keeping your digestive system strong, fiber can stabilize blood sugar. People with stabilized blood sugar levels tend to have less cravings and feel full longer, key factors that contribute to a healthy body weight and fat loss.
Not sure how much fiber you should have? I would aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day as a starting point.
Moving your body
I’m not talking about extreme exercise here. I’m talking about doing what you can, when you can.
The key is to find a way to move that feels good to you. Whether it’s walking, taking the stairs at work or doing exercise classes, moving your body will increase your energy levels, boost your metabolism and boost your mood.
From a fat-loss perspective, movement increases the number of calories you expend, which can allow your body to tap into body fat for fuel and allow for a better night’s sleep.
Shoot for 10,000 steps a day — and if that seems lofty, start with 5,000 and work your way up.
It’s important to remember there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for success, which is why so many programs have failed in the past.
If you’re looking to learn more on how to finally ditch the diet and carry out these must-dos to overall health in your own life, Nrish’s 30 Day Challenge is a personalized approach designed to provide you the education for long term wellness and weight loss.
Briana Owen is the holistic health and nutrition specialist and chief science officer at Scottsdale-based Nrish.