Where do you start on your journey to get healthy?
Can you afford to eat healthy?
Do you get stuck in fad diets?
You finally made the decision to get healthy. But where do you start? There is so much information out there – eat sugar, don’t eat sugar; eat carbs, don’t eat carbs. What should you believe? Fad diets fail. They give you quick results, but are hard, if not impossible to maintain. These ‘lose weight fast’ diets don’t give you the essential vitamins and minerals that you need.
Take pride in yourself and your nutrition, and enjoy eating right. It is more expensive to buy healthy, natural food, but by doing so you might eat less. Yes, processed and refined foods are inexpensive and convenient, but they come with a higher price than you think. I encourage you to move the grocery bill up on your financial priority list. Optimal nutrition is essential for healthy function with age, and you can’t put a price tag on that.
There are so many difficulties with regard to good nutrition in our society. Nearly every social gathering involves food, often it’s not the kind that helps keep you lean. Try these basic nutrition to help you take those first steps toward a healthier, happier way of living. Start here. Start today.
1: Avoid Overeating Focus on finding a balance of hunger and fullness as you eat. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not just when you are full. Remember all the times you ate until you were uncomfortable. How did that make you feel? You probably felt guilty, and certainly had some degree of abdominal discomfort. Be mindful that every time you eat those extra bites, they are not going to make you feel better. They will probably make you feel worse.
2: Think Like a Caveman Food is energy for your body. Nothing more, nothing less. Think about your food before you eat: "Why am I eating this?” “Do I really need this?" This will help you focus on eating enough to keep you moving, and choosing foods that will give you prolonged energy. Remember, sugar is one of the worst things for your body. It provides instant glucose to your system resulting in immediate energy. A short time afterward, the glucose is gone and your body is back to craving cheap sources of energy, like more sugar. The end result is insulin release in response to that meal promoting fatigue and brain fogginess.
3: Eat Naturally Focus on things that come from the earth, not a factory. The best advice is, when shopping at the grocery store, stay along the outside walls where you find fruits, vegetables, beans and lean sources of meat. All of these occur naturally. This helps keep those processed foods and sugar-packed snacks, all of which will kill your metabolism, out of the cart. Also, leave the white potatoes behind. This vegetable contains an awful lot of starch that your body converts to sugar almost immediately with little work.
4: Join the Organic Movement Buy organic whenever possible. If you can’t afford or find organic foods, no problem. Just wash your fruits and vegetables very well. Go to foodnews.org and find out which produce contains the most pesticides and make yourself an organic produce priority list. Only buy organic of those in the dirty dozen (peaches top this list) and accept conventional of those in the cleanest dozen, such as onions. If you can’t get fresh produce, frozen is the next best thing. Avoid canned and packaged fruits and vegetables as the preservatives are usually going to work against you.
5: No Chemical Toxins Avoid artificial sweeteners (especially Splenda). These are most often consumed in Crystal Light, diet sodas and “sugar-free” products. Think of them as toxins (because they are) that slow down your body’s metabolism. Drink plenty of water.
6: Control Your Portion Size Use small coffee mugs to eat your cereal in the morning. Get rid of all the large plates and cups in your house and only eat with the smaller or children’s sizes. Eat slowly, being certain to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Try to eat slower than the slowest eater at the table. If you go to a restaurant, split a meal with your partner, or once your portion is delivered, cut it in half and have the waiter box up half of the dish for another meal.
7: Take Your Time Good nutrition is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t make the mistake of trying to change everything overnight. It took your entire life to adopt your current nutrition habits, expect it to take some time to change them. After two weeks of a consistent change, you have made it a habit. Pick two or three of these tips to start. Each week review how you have done and evaluate the areas that need improvement. During this review, plan on making an additional change to your nutrition.
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