Fads Are a Let Down
Everyone wants to be healthy. The problem is, long-term health doesn’t happen over-night. Long term health comes when you adopt healthy lifestyle choices that last. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” When it comes to food and weight loss, people want to see results fast. It’s why so many are willing to jump on the bandwagon of whatever diet is trending. And many, whose fad diets promise major weight loss in a short period of time, find that they are unable to maintain their achieved weight loss after finishing the diet, or that they are unable to complete the diet all together due to the restrictions. For those who want a life with a diet they can keep up with consistently, good eating habits are key. Below is my attempt to give some basic nutrition advice that if adopted, will lead to a basic foundation of good eating habits and a healthy diet. You can try to adopt them all at once, one at a time, or not at all, its all up to you and where you’re at with your diet and goals.
1) Fresh and Visible
The quality of the food you eat is more important than the quantity of calories. A good way to make sure you’re getting enough quality foods in your diet is to make sure that you spend more time in the fresh fruit and produce section when you grocery shop. After buying these items put them in places in your home that are easily accessible and within eyesight. Put the unhealthily choices like chips and junk food in places that are harder to see and/or get to ( out of sight out of mind ). If what you see first when you look in the fridge is a fruit or a vegetable you’ll be more likely to eat those foods and establish a routine of healthy eating. Research shows us that in the long run fatty foods (saturated fat) will actually make you lethargic, low energy and possibly grumpy. Whereas fruit and vegetables will help to increase your energy levels and improve your mood. In my house we have fresh fruit within eye sight of anyone who walks into our kitchen, so my two-year old has gotten into a routine of asking for fruit when she wants a snack because it’s what she sees everyday.
2) Plan Ahead
Another way to keep yourself on track is to plan ahead. I know it’s easier said than done, but bringing healthy snacks/lunch to work will help you to stay on track and fight the temptation of ordering something unhealthy at a restaurant or choosing an unhealthy option in the break room. Additionally, research shows us that if you’re extremely hungry when entering a restaurant or grocery store you’re more likely to buy food that has higher sugar and fat content. So, its in your best interest to plan ahead and carry some healthy snacks like fruit or nuts/seeds that you can have before ordering or shopping. Planning ahead before grocery shopping can also be a game changer. Be intentional with what you buy. Plan what meals you’re going to cook ahead of time. Doing this will help you save time and money as well as help you to avoid falling back on junk food when you need something ready fast.
3) Say No to Sugar
Avoid added sugars and sweeteners at all costs. Seriously though, sugar is deliciously awful for you. It speeds up aging, causes inflammation, and has been linked with increasing your risk of developing cancer. And we know that if you start your morning with added sugars such as in your coffee or tea you are more likely to crave sugary/sweet things throughout the day. Food items that have 10 mg per serving of sugar or more contain more sugar than you should be having in a single serving.Candy and things with a lot of added sweeteners and sugar are really just empty calories. They wont help you to be full or to have sustained energy.
4) Turn Off the TV
People tend to eat more when eating with others, when watching television, and when the serving dishes are left on the table. So try leaving the food in the kitchen at eating without the tv on. Additionally, try to eat your food at slow and steady pace. A meal should take longer than 15 minutes. This helps your body to both enjoy your meal more, and realize that you’re full. If you eat too fast you’re more likely to overeat.
5) Don’t Skip Breky
When you’re sleeping you’re essentially fasting, so eating breakfast is really important. When you regularly skip breakfast it causes the body to store additional fat which in turn can affect your ability to fall asleep.
6) Get Some Fiber
Fiber is great for your system. Fiber can make you feel fuller, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and help your body to pass fat instead of absorbing it. Healthy Fiber sources include: whole grain, brans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
9) Snacky Snacks
Real yogurt is great for your body and a great snack. It has bacteria that help your body with digestion and is a good source of protein and calcium. A good quick snack could be some yogurt with granola, or with honey and nuts/seeds. Unsalted nuts can also be a good snack. Nuts are high in monounsaturated fat which is actually healthy for you in moderation. Nuts can help you to feel fuller longer and give you an energy boost. Sometimes i’ll have some peanut butter on toast with my breakfast ( real peanut butter though, not the stuff with all the added sugar ).
10) Beans and Things
Beans are low-fat, low-cost ( it’s cheaper to buy dry beans), and easy to make. Beans are high in protein and can help fight off cancer. I like to have bean salad as a snack/ lunch sometimes. Or add beans into a regular salad. Soy beans are awesome as well. They have no saturated fat are high in protein and have calcium, vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron. Whole wheat, multi grain pasta, brown rice, couscous, and wild rice are all great things to try to add into your diet as well. Soup can be a great way to help shed some extra weight. The broth helps to fill you up and keep you from overeating so be sure to load up your soups with a variety of vegetables. Some of my favorite things to put in a big stew are zucchini, carrots, onions, kale, a few potatoes, celery, and chayote.
In a Nut Shell
Choose a variety of fresh produce and fruit. Increase your intake of seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts/seeds, poultry, unsweetened soy products. Decrease the amount of processed meat, refined grains, added sugars, and alcohol in your diet. Some are able to make drastic dietary changes overnight, most are not. Give yourself time to implement some of these elements into your diet gradually. And try to be patient when waiting to see changes. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel amazing right away. Everyone’s body adjusts to dietary changes differently so don’t be too hard on yourself. Have fun and find healthy foods you like that you’ll keep eating.