12 Tips to Maintain Your Energy & Lose Weight Safely

1. Be aware of what, when and why you eat the foods you do. Realize that food is fuel and is eaten to give you energy. Food also provides enjoyment, but be careful not to let it become a source of comfort. If you eat for reasons other than energy, you need explore why and make an effort to find other activities to meet these needs. Use a journal or your training diary for clues that will help you.

2. Eat more earlier in the day, include 3 of the 4 food groups at meals. During the day you are training and this is when you need fuel. Many studies have shown that if you eat more food earlier in the day, you are less likely to overeat later.

3. Do not drastically cut back your calories. Counting calories is not necessary, but it is good to appreciate how much energy you burn daily and how much you need to eat. Learn what portion sizes are appropriate for you. A registered dietitian can help you with this.

4. Do not eliminate food groups from your diet to lose weight. All types of food can be part of a healthy diet.

5. Subtract 20% of your total calorie needs to promote weight loss. (500 calories x 7 days/week = 1 lb body fat). A registered dietitian can show you how to do this.

6. Do not skip meals. Spread your food intake evenly throughout the day. Eat 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks. If you aren't hungry at night, you can eat a smaller dinner and skip your evening snack.

7. Listen to your body. If you are full, stop eating. If you are hungry, eat healthy foods.

8. Eat slowly. Enjoy the taste of food and give time for your stomach to send signals to your brain, such as "I am full".

9. Eat your favourite foods regularly, but in smaller amounts. Don't deny yourself, otherwise you are more likely to overeat. Enjoy treats, but limit the amount and frequency. Aim to make healthy choices 90% of the time.

10. Use snacks as an opportunity to eat nutritious foods that you missed at your main meals. For example, if you did not have fruit or dairy at breakfast, have it as your morning snack.

11. If you have a 'bad' day, don't get discouraged. Make your goal to get back to healthy choices and portions at your next meal or the following day. You can't expect to eat perfectly every day, no one does.

12. Think "I am strong and healthy". Remind yourself that when you eat well, you feel better and train better.

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