being healthy without being a gourmet chef

being healthy without being a gourmet chef

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You want to lose weight, and you realize eating healthy is a big part of that, so you start looking around online for recipes and other food ideas. Then you start printing out ideas and writing down ingredients you’ll need to buy at the store, half of which you’ve never heard of before and you’re not even sure if the store will have them. Then, something happens which starts the failure process..

Some people won’t ever get around to buying the ingredients; it’s just too far out of their routine and/or comfort zone. Others will buy the ingredients but never make the meal-snack. A few dedicated health nuts will make the recipe, but most of them will struggle to find time to make their own snacks every week. Eventually, all but a very small percentage of people will end up right back where they started. And you know why, right?

Because nobody wants to suddenly become a health-food-store-guru and gourmet chef overnight. All they wanted to do was lose some weight and get a little healthier; they didn’t want a second job!

Here’s a great example: Raspberry Oat Bars, from Toby Amidor Nutrition. Toby has a terrific website; it’s clear she knows what she’s doing and is passionate about eating healthy.

eating healthy - raspberry oat bars
(click image for Toby’s recipe)

Unfortunately, most regular guys I know aren’t interested in (and don’t have time to) going out to buy rolled oats, flax seeds, raspberry preserves, and the rest of the ingredients, and then learning how to bake their own bars.

The good news is you can get healthy AND lose weight without becoming a healthy-gourmet. You only need to make some adjustments to your current diet -

Eat fewer calories than you burn, and everything else will fall into place.
  • Stop eating the crappiest foods. Snacks that come in a bag or box with more than a couple ingredients you can’t pronounce are probably your biggest offenders.
  • Don't super size yourself. Ask for the nutrition information at the fast food joints, and switch to the options that have fewer calories – you’re not going to lose weight or get healthy by eating anything called “the ultimate…”, “double…”, or “super sized”.
  • Sugar snacks aren't doing you any favors. Candy, chocolate bars, cookies, cake, ice cream - one bite won't sink you, it's the accumulation of lots of bites over the course of the day that becomes your own personal iceberg.
  • Watch the liquid calories. Sugar sodas and teas, energy drinks, fruit juice, and alcohol (especially with mixers), can add a ton of calories over the course of a day without you even realizing it.
  • Moderate your portions. Maybe you don’t need the burger AND fries – the burger alone is probably more calories than you need for lunch. Or order the burger and fries, but only eat half of the meal. (sacrilege, I know, but your goal is to lose weight and be healthy, right? You can’t do that by cramming a 1,500 calorie lunch down your neck.)
  • One change at a time. If changing everything above is too much, start small with one change and then add to it. Health and weight loss isn’t a race; it’s something you want for the long term. So take your time. Try reducing and eliminating some of the above offenders a little bit at a time over the course of a month or two. First you’ll slow your weight gain, then you’ll reach a break even point, then you’ll start losing weight..
You CAN lose weight without becoming a healthy-gourmet, but you can’t lose weight if you keep eating more calories than your body needs.

-Chris Butterworth