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Revealed! 5 Simple Ways To Eat Healthy Starting Today

And they're from a personal trainer.

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gif of green dumbbell and broccoli
James Wojcik / Trunk Archive
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I am 44 years old, and I have never had a great relationship with food. I can’t watch television without a snack in hand, and my idea of a Friday night involves bread and some kind of delicious, flavored butter from the finest Italian restaurant. Yes, there have been times when I saw success on the scale, but that’s because I was restricting too much and depriving myself around the clock. It almost always ended in an unhealthy binge, too. I felt good when I stepped on the scale, but my relationship with food was unhealthy in a different way. Now, I am at a crossroads. I’m ready to eat better. I want to set myself up for a lifelong lifestyle of healthy eating. I am no longer obsessed with the number on the scale or on the size of my jeans. I just want to be strong and healthy. I want to fuel my body with the nutritious foods that will help me perform better in the gym and live a long, healthy life. But I didn’t know how to do this — or where to start.

I turned to Nick Chiovitti, CrossFit Level 2-certified trainer and co-owner and head coach of CrossFit Override North. One of Chiovitti’s favorite quotes illustrates the message I needed to hear, which happens to be his first tip: “On a hot summer day the best time to have planted a shade tree was 10 years ago. The next best time to plant one is now.” Read on for his inspiring tips.

Don’t delay

Start today and your future self will thank you for it! Many will argue that they are too old or too overweight to make any major dietary changes — what’s the point, right? Well, friends, age and weight are both just numbers; don’t let either of them sway you from chasing a healthier lifestyle. “The body is amazing at adapting,” Chiovitti says, which means “a lot of poor adaptations if we don’t feed it right.” Those achy joints? They’ll only get achier if you don’t feed them right and move them often. The good news? The body will quickly respond to the slightest improvements as well, so grab a piece of fruit instead of those chips and add a walk around the block. Changes like that will do wonders for your body and mind.

Keep it simple

Atkins and keto and paleo, oh my! The options for healthier eating are endless. Where to start? Chiovitti keeps it manageable, citing the CrossFit ideal: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and no sugar.” Easy enough, right? You can take it a little further, while still keeping it simple by focusing on these three tips:

1.     Prep your food

Social media portrays meal-prepping as an elaborate process, but Chiovitti says a lot of what you see is “for show,” and prep shouldn’t be too complex or time-consuming. He encourages clients to pick two to three healthy meals for lunch and dinner and rotate them throughout their weekly menu. Prepare them on Sundays so that you are not sidetracked by convenient but unhealthy options.

2.     Focus on protein

Protein is one of the three macronutrients required for optimal health but, unlike carbs and fats, is often overlooked. Build each meal around a protein source. Chiovitti recommends “a variety of animal-based protein sources: beef, chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, etc.” Vegetarians can pack in the protein by eating Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds.

3.     Don’t drink your calories

Drink more water, girlfriends! According to Chiovitti, “This is usually either super easy or really tough for people, but drinks like, soda, juices, milk, and alcohol pack a ton of calories that most people just don’t need.” Replace these beverages with water or seltzer water. If you are craving extra flavor, add in a Crystal Light packet or opt for sugar-free flavored waters.

Identify your “cheat” style

To cheat or not to cheat — that is the question. “At Override,” Chiovitti says, “we like to use the 90/10 rule: if 90 percent of your nutrition is coming from good ‘whole food’ sources” — for example, fruits, vegetables and nuts and other items not processed or packaged — “and is part of the big picture plan then it is perfectly fine to enjoy a meal or something maybe not as strict once in a while.” This approach, however, will not work for everyone. For some, Chiovitti says, a “cheat meal turns into a weekend of cheating and a big loss of morale and motivation.” If you fall into this category, be honest with yourself and skip the cheating altogether.

Personalize Your Success

Before you embark on this journey of healthier eating, ask yourself what success looks and feels like for you. Some people are attached to seeing the numbers decrease on the scale. Others may want to decrease joint pain or sleep better at night. Some may celebrate when they can stop taking medications due to healthier living. Others may exclaim, “I can’t believe I don’t get headaches anymore since cutting out extra sugar and caffeine.” Success comes in many shapes and sizes. Be intentional with your goals and open-minded about the ways in which you can measure and celebrate your success!

Exercise Your Mind

There is no denying the mind-body connection, so be sure to engage your brain in the process of becoming a better version of you. Write in a journal, join a support group, or grab a book full of healthy, inspiring words that will support your goals. Chiovitti recommends Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear: “James teaches strategies for creating new habits, breaking old habits and ultimately how to identify with the person [you] want to become.”

When it comes down to it, Chiovitti believes “nutrition is the single biggest factor in improving one’s overall physical and mental health.” If you improve what you’re putting into your body, your body will improve what it’s putting out. And there is no time like the present to begin.

What healthy food do you try to eat on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Health