What do calorie restriction, food group elimination, and periodic fasting have in common? They’re all “diets” — and they don’t always work.
Did you know that 42 million Americans go on a diet each year and fail? With the popularity of restrictive dieting, it’s no surprise that 95% of all diets fail, with most dieters regaining any lost weight in one to five years.
So, if dieting doesn’t work, what does?
With so much information out there, let’s cut through the clutter and get back to the basics.
Ahead, your four core nutritional principles to practice every day.
While it may sound trivial, 60-75% of your body is water, so drinking more of it can have a huge impact on your weight, energy, mental clarity, and whole-body health.
Forget the “eight glasses a day” rule and drink as much as you need: aim for ½ your bodyweight (lbs) in ounces of water every day. And if you have a coffee, alcohol, or sweat for 30 minutes, have an extra 8-ounce glass.
Paying attention to your water intake is one of the lowest effort, highest impact things you can do starting right now. How?
Schedule water breaks on your work calendar, buy a big reusable bottle to track your H2O throughout the day, and try squeezing in 25% of your daily intake first thing in the morning to set yourself up for success!
Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat—they pack a ton of vitamins, minerals, and fiber into a small number of calories. Bulk up your meals with raw or cooked vegetables to feel fuller, maintain a healthier weight, reduce your risk of disease, and feel better overall.
So, how many servings per day is enough?
Start simple: at lunch and dinner, fill at least 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Think leafy greens, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions—the more color diversity, the better!
Forget about fearing fats and carbs—it’s sugar we should be worried about. Added sugar is a leading cause of disease and weight gain. And it’s not just in candy, soft drinks, cookies, and cakes—it’s hiding in fruit juice, flavored yogurt, cereal, and most packaged foods.
When looking at nutrition labels, here’s what to know: anything with 5% Daily Value or less is considered low in sugar, and 20% Daily Value or more is considered high.
While added sugars are harmful, natural sugars that occur in whole foods can be healthy. For example, an apple contains around 20 g of natural sugar, but it’s also packed with fiber that satisfies your hunger and helps your body absorb the sugars more slowly. Apple juice, on the other hand, contains no fiber, so your body digests the sugar the same way it would digest a chocolate bar.
Most foods that you find in a package are highly processed, meaning they’ve come a long way from their natural state. For example, an ear of corn looks very different from a tortilla chip.
Packaged foods tend to be high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and harmful chemicals. What does that mean for your body? One study found that people who eat processed foods consume an average of 500 extra calories per day compared to those who do not.
To avoid highly processed foods, keep it simple! Avoid any packaged food that contains more than one ingredient — for example, plain rolled oats: good, processed protein bars: not so good.
Replacing packaged foods with whole-food options starts with being prepared. Instead of grabbing your usual afternoon protein bar, plan ahead with a piece of fruit and whole nuts.
Ready to ditch dieting and focus on your long-term health instead?
Great! At Wellory, we’ve created a no-nonsense solution to help make sure you see long-lasting results and prioritize healthy decisions above all else.
Learn how to eat for your body, make consistent weekly changes, and develop healthy, long-term habits with your own personal nutrition coach.
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