Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boo to Crash Diets and Yes to Healthy Eating

Just as we strive for healthy relationships with the people in our lives, we need to strive for a healthy relationship with the food we consume.  This is one of the first steps towards healthy eating.  As I mentioned in a prior entry, it’s not the food that makes us fat, it’s our attitude towards food and the decisions we make about our food that do.  I know it sounds strange but we need to develop a loving relationship with the ingredients we are selecting to consume.  We need to really love and respect our food the way we would anything else that we choose to allow into our lives.  And likewise we need to be sure that this food is honoring and respecting us.

We can draw a parallel here with a significant other.  Let’s take Mr. Fast-food Cheeseburger.  He’s tasty and convenient not to mention mildly entertaining, not the sharpest cookie in the jar but adequate.  Contrast him with Mr. Healthy Tandoori Chicken Naan Wrap who is also very tasty (if not tastier than Mr. Cheeseburger), not as convenient but certainly accessible with a little work and so much smarter and funnier.  Maybe the choice isn’t obvious right away but take a look at what Mr. Cheeseburger is offering you versus Mr. Chicken Naan Wrap.  Who is going to give you the respect you deserve?  Who is going to provide you with more security and happiness in the long run?  Sure, Mr. Cheeseburger might be attractive- and he does live just downstairs (and he comes with a side of fries), but he doesn’t make you feel the way Mr. Chicken Naan Wrap does.  And although he is satisfying now, over time his deliciously addictive artery-clogging, disease-promoting ways will wear on you.  You’ll feel tired and groggy and wont have motivation to workout, putting on extra pounds and feeling miserable.  You’ll be wondering what it was you ever saw in him in the first place.  Face it, he doesn’t deserve your love and affection the way Mr. Chicken Naan Wrap does.  You may have to venture out to the market, put some work into this relationship, but in the end, he’ll make you happier, healthier and feeling better about yourself.

And now for my five tips to help you begin your journey to healthy eating:

1. Breath and Chew
Appreciate your food.  Chew those boluses and breathe in between.  Practice eating mindfulness and thankfulness.  You’ll draw more enjoyment from eating.  You will overeat less because you will become aware of your hunger and fullness.  You will be satisfied with smaller portions.  Your digestion will improve.  And you’ll look so much more civilized likely resulting in a marked bump in your dating life.  Read more on Mindful Eating here

2. Avoid the aisles
Your goal should be to buy real food when food shopping.  In other words to avoid the processed stuff and focus on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and whole grains.  Therefore, don’t get enticed by those aisles that harbor all the sugary, processed, pseudo-satisfying items like cans, meals-in-a-box, chips and candy.  So where do all the whole foods hang out?  In general, they tend to be located along the periphery.  Dairy items, fresh baked whole grain bread, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids etc are typically found in their respective sections away from the aisles.  So keep that in mind as you venture off to fill your basket. 

3. Don't give in to peer pressure
Even if your three best friends are on the trendiest "juice cleanse" there is and they’ve all lost 10 pounds already, don't jump on the bandwagon.  You want to start a healthy lifestyle that you can adhere to 365 days a year not just for the duration that the gimmick diet lasts.  

4.  No deprivation, everything in moderation
Is my motto.  You don’t need to deprive yourself of anything- even chocolate cake.  It’s all about portion control and striking a healthy balance.  Just as you weren’t put here to indulge, you also weren’t put here to restrict yourself from all the rich and decadent culinary treasures that exist.  What’s the point?  You just have to remember that in order to maintain your weight you need to consume the same amount of calories you burn.  Which leads me to point #5.

5.  Exercise is key
To lose 1 lb a week, you need to cut back on 500 calories a day.  My advice: consume 200 calories a day less and burn off the remainder with a workout!  It’s not a magic pill but I think it’s pretty awesome that with no adverse effects, and by simply using your brain to think and body to exercise you can lose just under 10 lbs in two months in a very healthy way, looking and feeling AMAZING.  Just to give you a few examples of how to burn off 300 calories with exercise:
Bike for 38 minutes at 12 mph
Run for 29 minutes at 6 mph
Walk for just under 2 hours at 3 mph
Get up, get your heart rate up, get your spirits up and MOVE!

Bottom line: weight loss doesn't necessarily equate with health.  Don't be so obsessed with the scale.  Incorporating healthy eating and exercise into your life is the key to becoming healthy.  Next time you weigh yourself, even if the number hasn't changed, just remember that by making these simple lifestyle changes, you are lowering your risk of a whole host of preventable diseases.

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1 comment:

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