If you’ve been struggling with back pain, your doctor may recommend losing weight as part of your treatment plan. Diet and exercise are the keys to shedding those extra pounds. In theory, jumping on the dieting bandwagon sounds great. However, completely changing how you eat is a huge transition, and hardly anyone talks about how difficult it can be. Easing into healthy eating habits will help make this change easier.
In this post, we will discuss some tips on how to smoothly transition into making healthy eating a part of your lifestyle. No one said you have to dive into the deep end. Gradual change is okay as you adjust to a healthier relationship with food.
1. Change Your Grocery Shopping Habits
Your grocery store is littered with unhealthy food choices literally around every corner. What you may not know, is that the outer aisles are usually where your healthier selections are located — fresh produce, dairy and seafood. So, keep to the perimeter of your local market.
Another idea is to make a list before shopping. Be sure to jot down only the items you need, and stick to it. If you wander around aimlessly, you’ll probably wind up buying your go-to snack foods.
Instead, add some of these items to your shopping list:
- 100-calorie snack packs: Just because you’re dieting, doesn’t mean you have to go cold-turkey on your favorite snacks. Many goodies come in 100-calorie portions that allow you to ease your cravings and still eat less.
- Green tea: Filled with catechins, this beverage can boost your metabolism and help you shed those few extra pounds.
- Grapefruit: Three servings a day helps decrease your appetite and lower insulin levels, contributing to weight loss.
- Lean protein: Nuts, bean, lentils, fish, eggs and non-fat or low-fat dairy are all examples of lean proteins you can implement into your diet. Protein makes your brain more sensitive to the hormone leptin, which helps you feel more full.
- Precut and prewashed veggies: If your veggies and fruits are handy, you’ll be more likely to grab a healthy snack out of the fridge instead of other convenient but fattening options.
- Frozen shrimp: Stock up on this convenient staple which can be tossed into a stir fry or cooked up with pasta as a low-calorie alternative to chicken or steak.
- Whole-grain starches: Opting for whole grain starches like brown rice, bran cereal, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread gets more fiber into your diet. Increasing your dietary fiber intake is a key component of weight loss.
- Salsa: Most people complain that diet foods are bland. However, you can add salsa to your favorite meat dishes to give a low-calorie dash of flavor.
2. Clockwork Eating
Most people think in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner — but that leaves hours in between where you may be tempted to snack because you’re hungry. Instead of three big meals, having six smaller meals per day will help you consume fewer calories and burn those calories faster.
3. Avoid Eating Out
When you eat out, there’s a temptation to overeat. That’s because most fast food or even sit-down restaurants provide you with huge portions with far more calories than you need. Limiting how often you eat out to less than three times per week will help promote your diet.
Even if you don’t have time to cook a meal, there are tons of frozen dinners that are healthy and delicious. Just look for options with fewer than 400 calories.
4. Distract Your Taste Buds
Nowadays it’s so easy to fill your every craving. If you feel like doughnuts, you can rush to the corner store and buy a dozen. The more you think about food, the more you’ll be tempted to go out and get it. Instead, find ways to distract yourself. Activities that engage your eyes and mind are the best — like crossword puzzles or sudoku.
If all else fails, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with mouthwash. This will provide your brain with a physical and psychological cue that you’re done eating.
Contact Spine Institute of North America for More Information About Healthy Living
Living a healthier lifestyle is an important step toward managing pain and getting on track for good overall health. If you would like more information on how to implement a healthy diet, we invite you to contact us today. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.