low_carb_comic1-300x215Since the beginning of January I have heard many people talking about how they are trying to eat better and are on a specific diet or cleanse. If weight loss is your goal, dieting (severely restricting calories) may not be the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, they do work–in the short term. However, statistics show that 97% of people who lose weight on a restrictive diet regain the weight they have lost (and sometimes even more) within three years.

In addition, weight loss without exercise can cause one to lose lean tissue (muscle).  When the weight is gained back, it is gained back as fat. The result is a change is body composition leaning towards a higher percentage of body fat.

So what is the best way to lose weight permanently? The answer is simple– to make permanent lifestyle changes. These changes include making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your routine and making smarter choices with the food that you eat.

Here are 5 ways to get started on your journey to health:

1. Get moving

If you are new to exercise, start slowly. A great way to start exercising is by walking. Set some time aside in your day to go for a walk, or find some time to incorporate more walking into your day. For example, if you drive to work, park about a 10 minute walk away. The 10 minute walk to work and the 10 minute walk back to your car five days per week adds up to 100 extra minutes of exercise per week.

2. Eat whole grains

Whole grains are much more nutritious than refined grains. In addition, because they are higher in fiber they help you to feel more full, which means that you will eat less. Start by trying out whole or sprouted grain breads, replacing white rice with brown rice, or trying out a new grain such as quinoa, whole wheat couscous or barley.

3. Eat protein at breakfast

Your body is better able to make use of protein if it is eaten throughout the day, rather than in large amounts at dinner or lunch. This is especially important for those trying to gain muscle.  Eating protein in the morning also helps you to feel more satisfied, which means you will likely eat less unhealthy snacks later in the day. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, soy, dairy, nuts and legumes.

4. Have an apple a day

Everyone has heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, science shows that there is a lot of truth to that statement. Eating more apples (as well as other fruit and vegetables) can improve cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of disease, including breast cancer.

5. Eat your greens

Dark green vegetables are low in calories and  rich in nutrients. They contain many vitamins including A, C, E and K as well as B vitamins. They are also rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. These are all nutrients that many Canadians do not get enough of.  To further convince you on the importance of eating greens, check out this article.

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