SAY NO TO DIETS, EAT HEALTHY INSTEAD
It is important to understand that eating healthy is a lifestyle, meaning that you will have to regulate what you eat and drink for the remainder of your life in order to achieve or maintain a controlled weight. You should focus on being healthy not being “skinny.”
With that said, let’s get started with our life goal of eating healthy and being healthy. First you should find out what your target Body Mass Index or BMI is. The BMI is a measure of how much body fat is healthy for any given person (male or female) based on their height and weight. Visit the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to assist you with the proper BMI calculation.
The second step is to keep a daily record of everything you eat and DRINK. I placed emphasis on drink because people have the tendency not to record what they drink. It is imperative that you appreciate that sodas, juices and drinks other than water contain calories. Eliminating soda from your diet can save you approximately 300 calories or more per day. An ideal calorie intake for someone wanting to lose weight is approximately 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day (we will discuss this later), so drinking a couple of sodas a day can drastically impact your daily calorie intake goals. Remember this is a lifestyle change and I will remind you of this throughout this article.
IF YOU JUST WANT TO FOLLOW A DIET PLAN
If you are trying to lose weight and you feel more comfortable following a diet plan, check with your doctor first. Most diet plans are effective as long as the source is legitimate, as most of them focus on reducing your calorie intake by eating less and starting an exercise regimen. Therefore, it is more important to choose the diet plan that you will enjoy the most, because dieting is based on lifetime lifestyle changes, not just adherence to a plan and workout regimen for an alloted eight-week span. Reverting to your old eating habits after “completing” a plan will only cause you to regain the weight.
The secret weapon to weight loss is physical activity (and eating healthy, of course): the more physical activity you engage in on a daily basis, the more weight you will lose. Make sure to check with your physician before you begin an exercise regimen.
Again, remember this is a lifestyle change, so choose an exercise regimen that you will enjoy. Listed below are the benefits to exercising regularly:
- Reduces heart disease
- Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and boosting good cholesterol (HDL)
- Helps prevent Type-2 diabetes
- Helps fight stress and improves your mood
- Helps lower high blood pressure
- Boost your energy level
- Increases your sex drive
The bottom line is that regular physical activity is the key to a long healthy life.
Calorie intake for losing weight
In order to lose weight you will need to start out with a 1,200 to 1,500 calorie diet per day. Over time you can increase your calorie intake, but you will also have to increase your physical activity to burn off the excess calories. The more you exercise, the more calories you can consume, as exercise is the key to losing weight and maintaining an ideal weight.
Stay on course with the food pyramid by visiting USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help you balance out your diet or simply follow one of the many, legitimate diet programs available on the market. Good diet plans typically suggests high fiber and moderate to low-fatty foods since these diets tend to work best in conjunction. And again, keep in mind that this is a lifestyle change, so choose a meal plan that you will enjoy.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Don’t skip breakfast.
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day; especially for dieting, as it prevents you from feeling like you are starving and it helps to jump start your metabolism. When your body feels like it is starving you tend to consume more calories: eating breakfast will prevent this from happening.
Eating a breakfast that is low in fat and high in fiber is an excellent way to start your day. Nutrient-dense and high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain can provide you with enough energy to prevent you from eating too much during the rest of your day. This simply means that you can eat more without racking up the calories. Here are some suggestions:
- Oatmeals that contains fruit (berries, peaches, apples, etc.)
- Low-fat granola bars in addition to fruit and/or vegetables
- Bananas with peanut butter
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc)
- Whole grain cereal with fruit
- low-fat milk, 1% milk or soy milk
- Greek Yogurt
These are just some examples, there are a lot of other options out there so do your research!
Be particularly mindful of what you drink.
Soda, juices and most other drinks carry extra calories that you really do not need if your goal is to be healthy and/or lose weight. Eliminating soda from your diet all together can save approximately 300 calories or more per day. Drink water instead, it contains ZERO calories. Drink soy-milk, low-fat milk or non-fat milk instead of whole milk or other drinks that are sugar-free.
Eat more frequently, but eat less.
It is okay to snack throughout the day and eat less at dinner. Make sure to snack on healthy, low-fat items such as carrots, pretzels, fruit, low-fat yogurt or low-fat granola bars. Increase your daily intake of colorful fruits and vegetables. When you want something sweet try to eat low-fat yogurt or fruit.
Move around more.
Try walking to the store instead of driving if you are only picking up a couple of items. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you are only going up a couple of floors. Jog up and down the stairs either in the morning after you wake, or at night before bed. The more you move around the more calories you will burn.
Don’t punish yourself.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying some of the foods that you enjoy every once in a while, like ice cream, just do not make it a habit. Besides, you will appreciate ice cream a lot more if you do not eat it regularly. If you decide to splurge, increase your physical activity. Remember exercise is the key to weight loss and weight management: the more you eat, the more physical activity you must engage in.
Do not worry it your fall off the band wagon, just go back to recording everything you eat and drink and continue exercising. You will see results that will last you a lifetime.
YOU GOT THIS. GOOD LUCK!!