Wanting to be healthier and actually making that change are two very different things. As Tosca Reno, author of the best-selling Eat Clean Diet says, “You have to give yourself permission to change.” And that’s when it will really happen.
But, it’s not going to happen just by wishing it, you’ve got to take the small (and big steps) toward making yourself the way you want to be. Luckily, Reno, someone who has successfully made and maintained the change, shared some of her starting tips with us. She recently published The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2, which includes many of her recipes and tips that are aimed at success.
Follow her tips and advice listed below to learn how to slim down your diet and eating habits, just by making a few small changes here and there. Even if you just pick one and stick to it, well, then you’re better off than when you started.
Find the Sugar in Your Diet
The very first thing to do when looking to slim down is to address where the sugar is in your diet. Sugar isn’t just what you’re putting in your coffee; it’s also present in carbohydrates such as cereal, pastries, cookies, bread, and, the obvious, sugar-laden beverages, sports drinks, and even juices. So understanding where this excess sugar comes from and limiting it can be a very powerful change in how you feel. If you replace a sports drink with water once a day, you’ll be surprised at how good you feel.
The first thing I do before I put food in my mouth is to start the day with a glass of water, at least eight ounces. After you’ve slept for however many hours, your body is very thirsty — to get everything opened up and working properly it needs water first. I like to put a little spritz of lemon in the water to clean the pipes out and get the bowels moving.
The next thing your body needs is a complex carbohydrate and lean protein. For my way of thinking, that’s hard-boiled eggs and oatmeal. Lately, I’ve moved to a nut and seed mixture: Two tablespoons flaxseed, hempseed, and wheat germ in a bowl and mix that with applesauce, plain yogurt, or berries. You’ve got your healthy fat there, protein, fiber, and omega 3s, and it’s a really great way to start the day. And that nutrient amount in the dish is very sufficient and will keep you feeling very satisfied for three to four hours.
Opt for Salads Over Side Dishes
One of the most powerful ways to change your diet really doesn’t start with cutting back so much as replacing. So, if you were planning on having a greasy side dish for your main course to accompany a piece of salmon, replace it with a salad instead. Then, it doesn’t feel so much like you’re dieting; it just means you are choosing a replacement strategy to get something healthy in you. It still nourishes and satisfies. If you live in a colder climate and don’t want to do a salad, try to get some cooked kale, spinach, or Swiss chard. These are wonderful strategies to get extra fiber and immune-boosting nutrients in you.
Reinvent Your Idea of a Salad
I think that salads are great; we have to reinvent our idea of a salad because you can make a salad out of cooked greens as well as out of quinoa, which is currently my favorite food. Salads are definitely the traditional health food, but as long as you keep your salad clean by dressing it with citrus juice — orange, lemon, or lime — and a good oil, you should be fine experimenting.
If you don’t want a salad, you can do an open-faced sandwich, with sprouted-grain bread (good for gluten-intolerant people) and you can still put some greens — spinach or romaine — sliced tomato, or a piece of grilled salmon or chicken on it with a little salt and pepper or mustard.