Healthy Eating Diet Advice
It takes all three.
You probably know that who you are is made up of three essential components--body, mind and spirit.
The body encompasses your height, weight, body type, muscle mass, fat mass, organ health, hormonal status and all the other things that make up the physical you.
The mind involves how you make decisions, attitudes about food and diet, your eating habits, perceptions and all the ways your mind influences your behaviors.
The spirit is mostly about your relationship with God and how this affects how you live your life, including how you approach healthy eating.
It is important when you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight that you take all three of these facets into account. Neglecting any one of them, will keep you from achieving your healthy eating goals.
Healthy Eating Diet Advice for the Body
*Get a physical check-up to make sure there are no underlying health problems, and discuss with your doctor your plans to lose weight. This is particularly important if you are planning any drastic changes or if you have a lot of weight to lose. Your doctor will check your heart, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids, and can advise about your general health. He can also help you to make sure that your weight is not connected to any disorder such as Cushing’s Disease or Hypothyroidism.
*Don’t “go on a diet”; instead, make a lifestyle change. If the plan you are contemplating is too drastic to stay on for a lifetime, it is not a good choice for permanent weight loss.
*Set a realistic goal for yourself. Consider all the factors that contribute to who you are, including heredity, body type, lifestyle, age, gender and occupation, and assess what is desirable and possible for you in terms of weight. Accept yourself and be practical in the goal that you want to achieve with regard to a healthy weight. On the other hand, be honest about what you need to do to be healthy. Find a balance between the status quo and looking like an 18-year-old fashion model.
*Educate yourself about food. Find out all you can, so that you can make informed choices. Make sure that your information comes from sources that have your best interests at heart, and not from a source that has a financial interest in your thinking and behaving a certain way.
*Avoid single food plans and plans that eliminate certain food groups. A balanced and satisfying diet that you can enjoy for a lifetime includes all of the major food groups—Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. It is generally recommended that you balance Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats in a 40%-30%-30% ratio respectively. This is not an exact requirement, just a general guideline.
*Read labels and become label savvy. Know what’s in the foods you buy and eat. Even when you eat out you can stay informed, since restaurants (particularly fast-food ones)often have nutrient information available at the restaurant or on their website. You will need to invest some time at the beginning of the process, but soon you will be able to efficiently scan any label and glean the information you need to determine if the product is right for you. Also, be wary of claims made on the label that are designed to encourage you to buy the product, especially with regard to weight loss.
*Become aware of portions and serving sizes. One “serving” of meat is about the size of a standard deck of playing cards. One cup of cooked vegetables or rice is about the size of a fist. A medium piece of whole fruit is a little bigger than a tennis ball.
This is a way to visualize your portions, so you don’t kid yourself about how much you are eating! Remember, just because a certain amount of food is served to you, doesn’t mean that it is a proper portion for your body’s needs.
Also, find out how much food is equal to the “serving” listed on the food label. For example, if it says one-half cup is a serving, measure out a half a cup of the product into your dish so that in the future, you will know what a serving of that particular product looks like, even if you plan to eat more than one serving.
*Be wary of “low-fat” foods. Be aware that, often, when the fat content is reduced in products such as yogurt, ice cream and baked products, it may be replaced by sugar or chemicals that are not necessarily better for you than the fat. Generally, it is the fat that contributes to the food's pleasing taste and texture. Thus, it may be better to eat smaller amounts of the whole food, rather than a version that has been modified in an unhealthy way. Of course, this does not apply to products, such as milk, that merely have the fat removed, without replacing it with anything unhealthy.
*Slow and steady wins the race. Give yourself time to lose weight slowly. Set short-term goals for yourself. In this way, you can maintain your nutrient status, your muscle and skin tone, and you will feel happier, less deprived and be more likely to succeed. If you try to lose weight too fast, your body will be forced to use muscle tissue for its needs instead of fat, which is counterproductive to what you are trying to do.
Even if you only lose a half a pound a week, at the end of a year you will have lost 26 pounds, versus if you had failed or done nothing and found yourself the same weight or even heavier. Most health experts recommend that you keep your weight loss to no more than 2 pounds a week. It’s important to remember that at the beginning, you may lose more quickly, but then your weight loss may level out to a slower rate.
*Don’t obsess about the number on the scale. Remember, your weight fluctuates naturally based on fluid levels in your body. The exact number isn’t as important as the fact that you are trending downward and that you are consistently making better food choices.
Some experts recommend that you throw out the scale altogether, but if you are not comfortable with that, try not to let that number be all-powerful. As an alternative, take your measurements, or use the fit of a certain article or articles of clothing as your guide.
*Consider carefully before investing in gimmicks such as pills, powders, devices, etc. that require you to spend money. At worst they may be harmful, and often they are highly overrated and overpriced. (Think of all the people who used diet pills with Phen-Phen or those expensive fake diet patches soaked with water, for example.)
Quite often they will tell you that, with their particular product plus a sensible diet and exercise, you will achieve amazing results! You might want to try the sensible diet and exercise first, to see if you can achieve the same results.
*Include fiber-rich foods in your diet. These are foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds. Fiber will help you to feel full and will facilitate the efficient movement of food through your digestive system.
*Drink water. Water is necessary to so many processes in your body including the breakdown and elimination of fat. Whenever possible replace other drinks with water and try to change your thinking to view water as the true thirst quencher. Most people would lose some weight by simply replacing soda or other caloric drinks with water.
*Eat foods that you like and try to change your thinking to like foods that are healthy for you. There are so many wonderful, delicious and nutritious foods to choose from! If you feel deprived all the time, you will probably not be successful at weight loss.
Try to find the most nutritious versions of the treat foods you like, so that when you do choose to eat them, you are not eating empty calories. For instance, if you like chocolate, there is evidence that dark chocolate has health benefits—just remember to eat it sparingly, savoring each tidbit to the fullest.
*Get enough sleep. Recently, scientists have found a correlation between sleep and weight loss. It is while you are sleeping that your body is able to take care of all those housecleaning duties that it can’t perform while it is busy keeping you going during the day. In addition, there seems to be a connection between adequate sleep and successful weight loss. Lack of sleep can have an effect on the hormones that control hunger and appetite.
Perhaps, another reason for the correlation between a good night's sleep and weight loss, is that if you are rested, you will have the reserves to get through a busy day without relying on certain--usually caloric or chemical laden--foods or drinks for a pick-me-up. Although you can't always control the amount of sleep you get, as far as is within your power, make getting enough sleep a priority whenever possible.
*Be flexible within limits. If you establish a rigid lifestyle, then you are more likely to fail. Include some flexibility in your diet and realize that we all need to feel some freedom in our choices in order for any plan to succeed long term.
Generally, if a food is “forbidden”—especially a food that you love—you will find yourself feeling deprived or focusing on not eating that food. Try to make the best choices most of time while at the same time allowing for a little flexibility to make long-term success possible.
*If you goof, don’t use it as an excuse to give up. Perfection is not required in order to succeed. (Did you know that most successful authors have had their books rejected many times before a publisher finally takes a chance on them?!) Just recommit to your new lifestyle and go on with what you were doing. A goof is only fatal if you allow it to be.
*Incorporate some stretching along with other exercise into your life. This will increase the energy output side of the equation and, more importantly, improve your mood. Find something that you like to do and, if it helps, get a friend to do it with you. Some people function well with a programmed “workout,” while others will be happier if they are doing physical labor or participating in sports or group activity. Whatever it is, if it gets you moving, you will feel better and have more success with maintaining a lifestyle that supports a healthy weight.
Healthy Eating Diet Advice for the Mind
*If you are an emotional eater, that is if you eat when you are sad, bored, happy, or in the throes of any strong emotion, try to come up with alternative pleasures that you can substitute for eating at those times. These could be a warm bubble bath, a chat with a friend, a good book or a movie, a walk with your favorite pooch, a bike ride, a bit of time in the sun, making love, listening to music, playing music, or anything else that you enjoy, including helping others.
If you can retrain your brain to trigger other pleasures besides food as a response to emotion, you will go a long way to changing the eating patterns that have caused you to be overweight.
*Try some behavior modification techniques, such as:
*Find ways to handle stress. Do deep breathing, spiritual activities, physical activities, and other stress management techniques to reduce the amount of stress in your life. You have probably heard that stress causes you to produce a hormone called cortisol that contributes to weight gain, especially around your middle, where it can be dangerous to your overall health.
*Smile, laugh and think positively. There is a significant body of evidence that positive "self-speak" and attitudes can help you achieve your goals. Hang out with positive people and fill your life with positive messages whenever possible. Thinking of yourself as a happy and healthy person, can go a long way to helping you make healthy choices in your life.
Healthy Eating Diet Advice for the Spirit
*Cultivate your spiritual health. Don’t ignore the spiritual side of yourself or the impact that neglecting that part of you can have on your goals—including your goal to lose weight. There is some thought that we often feed our hungry spirit with physical food rather than spiritual food. Whether or not this is true, truly miraculous things can happen when you access the power that God has made available to you.
*Spend time thinking about and helping others. There is no better way on earth to lift your spirit than to do something nice for someone else.
You can do it!
Maybe the best healthy eating diet advice comes from that famous sportwear company. Take into account your body, mind and sprit and then "Just do it!"