I think “athletic” or “healthy” are more worthwhile goals than the pursuit of skinniness, but let’s face it – “skinny” is a popular fitness goal to which many people aspire. So if you are looking to slim down and drop some body fat, I’ve put together these simple and straightforward guidelines:
- Reduce (or eliminate) added sugar. Even though sugar provides virtually no nutritional benefits, Americans eat 500 calories of a day worth of added sugar. Cut it out.
- Don’t deprive yourself of unhealthy foods you love. The more you try to resist unhealthy foods, the more you think about unhealthy foods – and the more you crave them. Allow yourself an occasional treat to break the cycle. It’s about balance.
- Cook your own meals. You’ll know exactly what goes into the foods you eat.
- If you do eat out, avoid the watch words. Don’t order foods that are described as crispy, fried, creamed, crunchy, battered, bottomless, giant, loaded, cheesy or breaded.
- And if you do eat out, opt for steamed vegetables as your side.
- Seep well. People who don’t get enough sleep consume more calories.
- Start your day with a real breakfast. Boiled eggs, no sugar added cereals, fruits and Greek yogurt all count. Danishes, doughnuts, pastries or a cup of coffee do not.
- Replace simple carbs with complex carbs. That means substituting white rice with brown rice and white bread with whole wheat bread.
- Get 30+ grams of fiber a day. 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber; eat fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In addition to many other important benefits, fiber helps you feel fuller longer.
- Don’t drink your calories. High calorie alcohol beverages or sugar drinks are calorie-dense but devoid of nutrients. Save your calories for foods that nourish your body and keep you feeling full.
- Learn to read nutrition labels.
- Never eat a food directly from the box or bag. Put it in a bowl; you’ll eat less and avoid the mindless munchies.
- Move more. Combine a healthy diet with an active lifestyle and exercise. Take the stairs. Join a gym. Go for a walk.
At its core, losing weight is really about creating a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. All the above guidelines are helpful in supporting a calorie deficit through nutrition and exercise. So have at it!
Do you have any additional skinny guidelines? Share them in the comments below!