Have you ever finished eating a big meal, leaned back in your chair, and promised yourself that you'd start eating better? If so, you might be one of the 45 million Americans who diet each year. I know that number seems high, but it's nothing compared to the amount of money people spend on weight-loss products alone: a whopping $33 billion annually!
In our celebrity-centric culture, a perfect body is valued higher than most everything else. Unfortunately, this causes many people to go to unhealthy lengths to achieve a better-looking body. Dieting fads, weight loss pills, and frozen Lean Cuisine dinners are just a few of the shortcuts people take to avoid the hard work that comes with living a healthier lifestyle. So, what's the secret to losing weight and feeling better about the food you put into your body?
Well, the truth is ... there is no secret. As boring as it is to hear, "eating healthier" really is the easiest way to look and feel better. This is pretty broad advice, though, which is why celebrity chef Alton Brown has shared his plan for making your diet more nutritious. He cautions us not to view this as a diet, however. After all, Brown isn't a nutritionist - he's simply volunteering the strategy that gave him results.
Alton Brown's plan consists of four different lists: Foods he eats daily, three times a week, one time a week, and never. "Having wrestled with weight my whole life, I knew that a diet based on denial - based simply on don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t eat this, don’t eat that - would ultimately fail for me," said Brown. "I knew if I was going to design a plan that had any hope of success, it would have to be based on not things I couldn’t eat but things I had to eat, because that’s more proactive."
While having a list of foods you should "never" eat might seem counterintuitive, Brown says that he views it as a symbol of lifestyle change. By swearing off certain foods, you are telling yourself that this isn't some fad diet, but a new way of living. Scroll down to see which items Brown included on each of his four lists. You can choose to copy his lists, or make your own - either way, this will help you get your eating habits under control.
Foods you should eat every day:
- Whole Grains
- Leafy Greens
- Green Tea
Foods you should eat (at least) three times a week:
- Oily Fish
- Sweet Potato
Foods you should eat once a week:
- Red Meat
Foods you should never eat:
- Fast Food
- Processed Meals
- Canned Soups
- "Diet" Anything
Finally, here's a handy chart that you can use to compare your list with his:
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