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Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

When it comes to eating healthily, snacking has a bad reputation. It’s usually synonymous with unhealthy food, habitually eating between meals and gradually putting on weight.

But is snacking always an unhealthy habit? Could it actually help us lead a more healthy lifestyle?

Why Does Snacking Have Such a Bad Rep?

Snacking is a term used to describe eating between regular meals but it doesn’t automatically mean bad foods.

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Snacking is primarily motivated by hunger which is when our blood sugar levels are low. This causes the body to crave fatty or sugary foods that will help bridge the gap until our next meal and get the blood sugar levels up in the quickest time. Therefore, snacking has been associated with weight gain.

However, many studies have shown that if a person has a generally balanced, healthy diet, snacking has no effect on weight[1]. The idea that eating extra calories can only be detrimental to weight is another flawed premise. There are many ways that snacking can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Why Snacking is Actually Good For You

So why should we look at snacking as a positive rather than a negative? Is it time to make snacking a habit in our diet?

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As long as you’re mindful of what kind of snacks you’re eating, snacking can be used as a way to lose weight and keep you feeling balanced throughout your day. Here’s how…

It Prevents Overeating

While snacking can be seen as adding extra calories, it makes sense that if you’ve kept yourself topped up through the day, you won’t overeat when you finally come to sit down for dinner. Hunger is the culprit here and, ironically, is the main cause for putting on weight. Feeling ravenous will make us eat up to 20% more than we need to eat so snacking to curb the hunger will keep you eating normal portions. Just make sure the snack is calorie controlled because you don’t want to fill up on processed foods only to not want to eat your healthy dinner.

Helps To Get More Nutrients

Smart snacking can be an advantage when it comes to getting all the goodness your body needs. It can be hard to get all the nutrients you need in three main meals especially if we have a busy day. This is where snacking can provide you with an extra healthy boost. Almost everything that isn’t processed can give us much-needed nutrients – nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit or vegetables. Low calorie snacks that fill you up can help your body power through the day more efficiently.

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Keeps Your Energy Levels Up

We’ve all had that feeling of weakness and loss of energy when we feel hungry. This ultimately doesn’t lead to a productive day and causes concentration levels to waiver and irritability to rise.

Snacking basically prevents this from happening and helps maintain a positive healthy mind as well as body. In other words, snacking can keep us happy and prevents dips associated with negative feelings.

Healthy Snacks Can Create Smart Food Choices

Not only does it prevent overeating but it helps us make better choices when it comes to meal times. If our blood sugar is maintained, we are less likely to reach for the pizza or burger and instead consider a healthier choice.

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Choosing or planning healthier snacks can also convince the brain that we want to carry on the healthy options well into the evening. So snacking on high protein, low fat foods such as protein shakes, plain yoghurts, raw vegetables, or nuts and seeds, can mean you don’t want to spoil your good work when it comes to lunch or dinner.

Snack Smart and Reap the Benefits

So, snacking is far from bad if you’re mindful of the types of snacks you choose. Maintaining your sugar levels and curbing your hunger will go towards eliminating unhealthy choices when it comes to your meals. Try not to over snack, just think of it as tiding you over and giving extra love to your body until your next meal. If you’re aiming to lose weight, snacking will help in your quest for weight loss if done in this smart and mindful way.

Remember to only snack if you’re genuinely hungry. Boredom snacking is very common, generally unnecessary and tends to happen just before a big meal. Try to avoid this and snack when you feel your body needs it not when your irrational mind is convincing you to. Avoid this and you can snack in a positive, healthy way.

Featured photo credit: Oluwaseun Duncan via pexels.com

Reference

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985

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Samantha Aloysius

Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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