1. Bring fruits and vegetables to the forefront
Though it seems like it's been a cornerstone of a healthy diet since the invention of the scale, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is still your safest bet. "They're like nature's medicine, and in terms of weight control, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is your basic approach," says Fyshe. "They give you a lot of nutrition and fill you up for very few calories."
As longstanding accessories for protein and menu-planning afterthoughts, the place of produce at the table is changing – as the most nutritious, ecologically sound food choice, we're now seeing plant-based fare take centre stage.
2. Establish patterns
Some say that the best defence is a good offense, and when it comes down to surviving the seductive world of not-so-nutritious food, nothing beats a premeditated counter-attack. "You have to lay down patterns; without them you find yourself always making spontaneous choices," says Fyshe. "If you don't have a plan, pleasure is always going to make your decisions for you and you'll end up in a lot of trouble."
Keep healthy foods in the house, eat every three or four hours and bring healthy snacks with you everywhere – replacing each bad habit with a good one will safeguard you against even the most unexpected temptations.
Page 1 of 3 - Get back to basics and discover why Canada's Food Guide is the best free meal planner with more nutrition tips on page 2.
3. Embrace the scale
The food scale, that is. Larger than life portions are one of the main culprits behind Canada's ever-expanding collective waistline. Memorize approximate portion sizes (like a serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards) for when you're eating out or on the go, and weigh things like pasta, meat and cheese when you're cooking at home. It won't take long for your body to adjust to the smaller servings, and you'll require less food to feel satisfied. Checking in on the bathroom scale every once in a while doesn't hurt, either — weekly weigh-ins can help stave off significant weight gain.
4. Back to basics
Minimizing or eliminating your consumption of processed foods will significantly lower your sodium intake, reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, and improve the function of your digestive system. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, cook most of your meals at home and avoid buying foods with hard-to-pronounce words in the ingredients list — better yet, avoid things with ingredients lists altogether. Refocus your diet on whole foods; eat only things that are rich in nutrients and can be found in Canada's Food Guide.
5. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle
The word diet implies a short-term commitment or a temporary state — but reverting back to old habits once a weight-loss goal is reached will open the door for those pounds to come piling back on. "It's how you live your life day in and day out that determines your health and weight," Fyshe says. "It's not just what you do every once in a while, like dieting every January." The sooner you accept your diet and exercise modifications as permanent lifestyle choices, the more successful you'll be at keeping the weight off.
Page 2 of 3 - Think your exercise routine needs a revamp? Learn why this helps get you on the right nutrition track, plus a few more helpful tips, page 3.
6. Be informed
Thanks to an increasing pressure to clean up our eating habits and ease of access to information on the subject, ignorance, where food is concerned, is becoming more of a societal faux-pas. Knowledge truly is power, so the best laid plan is to read, watch and listen to health news or consult a dietitian to make informed lifestyle decisions. The more we become educated on the subject of proper nutrition, the greater chance we have of controlling our own weight and overall health.
7. Don't just exercise, be active
"You might go to the gym for an hour five times a week, and that's awesome," says Fyshe. "But what are you doing all the other hours in your day?" The increasingly sedentary modern lifestyle is more than partially responsible for the obesity epidemic and with that in mind, driving to the gym seems almost laughably counterproductive.
Take every opportunity to get moving: walk to work, clean the house or take the stairs to ramp up your activity level. "Suddenly there are hours and hours in your day when you're burning calories instead of just that one hour at the gym," Fyshe says.
Page 3 of 3 - Kick start your healthy eating resolution with lots of fruits and vegetables! Read our top nutrition tips on page 1.