I Ignore Diet Fads and Follow 4 Guiding Principles Instead

Healthy food

This day and age, it’s all about diets. The Paleo Diet. The Whole 30. The Military Diet. The list goes on and on, there are dozens of different diets that all make promises of fast results, instant gratification. “Lose up to 10lbs in just one week”, or “see results in only three days” are popular catch phrases to lure people into making extreme changes in their eating habits. 

There’s no denying the fact that eating raw foods and cutting out added sugar is good for your health and will aid in weight loss—it will! However, it is not the only way to lose weight, and it is surely not the only way to live a healthy lifestyle.

I have been an athlete my entire life. One thing that comes with being active, is having a healthy appetite. I eat carbs. I eat animal products. I am the biggest beer enthusiast around, so needless to say I consume more than my fair share of gluten. But I’m still healthy, and people ask me on a regular basis what I do to stay fit.

If you want fast, immediate results, dieting may just be the right choice for you. However, I am a firm believer that if the end goal is to achieve a healthy and maintainable lifestyle, extreme diets are not the answer. Eating well every day along with introducing regular exercise into your routine is the only way to ensure changes that are not only noticeable but sustainable.

There are lots of easy ways to move towards a healthier lifestyle, all of which can be achieved without starving yourself or making life altering changes in your day to day routine. Of course, everyone is different, but here are my tried-and-true lifestyle habits:

Prepare your own meals

One easy way to not only feel better but also to aid in weight loss is to prepare your own meals. Try to cut down on eating out. It’s not that you have to cut it out entirely, but an easy way to cut down on calorie consumption is to cook your own meals at home. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

Prioritize fitness

Another important lifestyle choice is making exercise a priority. I cannot stress this enough. There is no such thing as not having enough time to work out. We make time for what is important! Whether it’s spending an hour at the gym or simply taking a walk around the neighborhood, getting your blood flowing and your heart rate up keeps your metabolism going throughout the day.

There is no such thing as not having enough time to work out. We make time for what is important.

Stop eating late at night

Another easy change to make is to not eat late at night. My mom’s rule of thumb is to not eat past 8 pm, which she’s passed down to me. Studies show that eating late into the night is a leading cause of weight gain. I like to go out and drink just as much as the next girl, however, I try my best to avoid those late night snacks when I come home. Consuming excess calories right before going to bed is a sure way to gain fat and slow your metabolism!

Think of it as a simple equation

When it comes down to it, weight loss is a simple equation. You must burn more calories than you consume. You can put all kinds of rules to it, and make it as complicated as you like, however it is the same equation nonetheless. You are in control of your own body—what you do with it, and what you put into it. In my opinion, that fact alone is the first step towards achieving your goal body image.

If extreme diets aren’t for you, don’t be discouraged. You aren’t alone. Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be extreme. Instead, it is based on the day-to-day decisions we make regarding how we treat our bodies.

— Uqora blogger Ali Rank is passionate about running, health, balance and beer