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Small Changes, Big Payoff

Oct 30, 2016 12:18PM ● By MED Magazine
By Corey Howard

In the words of John Snow, “Winter is coming.” 

In the health and fitness industry that means it’s the season for high calorie meals and sugary snacks.  Especially if you have spent the warmer months being physically active and eating healthfully, you may not want the wheels to come off the wagon now just because your friends, family, and office staff may be pushing sugar laden treats your way. Maybe you haven’t started your fitness program yet, but you just don’t want to gain ten pounds over the Holidays.

First, some good news. If you’ve spent the summer being physically active and eating better, you should be just fine during the cold, dark, food-filled winter months because you’ve established some daily habits.  However, if you’re just getting started on the road to a healthier lifestyle, you may need to make some small adjustments to your current eating habits before you begin a new diet.  Your habits will dictate your success. 

Habit #1`: Eat slower.

It take 20 minutes for the brain to recognize that the stomach is full. By slowing down, you will naturally eat less since you’re allowing your stomach to process the food and send signals to the brain that you are full.  You’ll also feel less bloated after a meal. Try putting your fork down in between each bite, or take a breath or sip of water in between bites.  Eating while conversing with a friend can also help.

Habit #2: Stop when you’re 80% full. 

This one can be hard, but remember that it’s OK to have leftovers. if you’re eating slower, you should be able to recognize when you’ve eaten just enough to feel satisfied. If you stop at 80% you’ll have more energy after your meal and you won’t feel lethargic and bloated.  Eat enough so that you’ll be hungry again in a couple hours. 

Habit #3: Eat protein at every meal. 

Protein is the single most important macronutrient you can eat.  It’s responsible for repairing and rebuilding all of our damaged human tissues.  Did you know you can’t overeat protein?  Your body always has amino acids (protein molecules) in the blood floating around rebuilding tissues, cellular activities and helping with your basal metabolism.  My clients live by the rule; it’s not a meal if there isn’t any protein. 

Implementing these three simple habits will not only help prevent you from gaining ten pounds over the winter, but may even help you shed ten pounds between now and March. Imagine if you just did these three small things, cleaned up your diet, and started a light workout program.  Ultimately, it’s the small daily habits that add up to the most significant changes. 

Corey Howard is the owner of Results Personal Training in Sioux Falls.