First and foremost, I’d like to go on the record and say that while I enjoy writing, I do not have a degree in English; nor am I a doctor, although I may have played one on TV at one point or another. 🙂 Having said that, with all the emails and messages that I’ve received from people, expressing a great deal of interest in a healthy lifestyle and even more specifically, what I eat on a daily basis, I thought I would make some time to offer up some dietary advice.
Truth be told, I wasn’t blessed with a lightning speed metabolism, so staying fit over the years has, at times, been quite challenging. I am not “naturally skinny” and I love to eat, so believe me when I say, it would be really easy for me to grow a few dress sizes larger than I am. Trust me, I’ve been there.
As a teen-ager in high-school, I remember being able to eat anything that I wanted to and not have it effect my weight. I felt lucky. But when I got to college, my “luck,” seemed to run out. The grilled cheeses with bacon, french-fries with gravy, syrup-dipped breakfast sausage, pizza and other fast-foods had caught up with me. Sadly, I realized that those days of being able to eat anything were long gone; and if I were to continue eating this way, I was going to continue to grow in size.
I had to make a change. I exercised. I dieted. At one point, I even joined a weight loss program. Trying to figure out a proper diet and fitness regimen that would get me into the physical shape that I wanted to be in, seemed like an on-going, frustrating, science experiment. But after many years of “research”, listening to my body and paying attention to the effects that food had on me, both physically and mentally, I was able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Simply put, when I eat well, my body responds positively. My energy level increases exponentially from all of the vitamins and nutrients I’ve ingested. My immune system is stronger. My skin and eyes are clear and bright; and I have an overall feeling on contentment.
On the other hand, when I eat poorly, I lack energy. I’m grumpy. I feel lumpy. My complexion is dull. I experience “brain fog”, and well, since I haven’t given my body the proper nutrients it was looking for, I am hungry again shortly thereafter. This, unfortunately, leads to overeating, and ultimately, weight gain.
Now, think of your body as a “vehicle”. A one of kind, state of the art vehicle which transports you through life. Take into consideration, when operating said “vehicle,” the kind of “gas” (food) you use to fuel up with. Check the nutritional values and you’ll see, that not all calories are created equally. Just because it fills you up, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
A good diet (think high octane fuel) nourishes the body, while maintaining normal blood sugar levels, providing energy all day long, and helping the individual’s “vehicle” operate at optimum levels.
Dietary tips to consider :
Limit your sugar intake.
Those sugary beverages (which goes for alcohol too) are a waste of calories. Keep in mind that simple carbohydrates (white, starchy foods with little or no fiber such as pasta, white bread, and white rice) will all turn to sugar and be stored as fat in your body if you are not moving enough to burn through all of what I call, “empty calories.” So cut them out, and replace with them high-fiber, complex carbohydrates like oats, beans, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole grain bread. If you’ve got a sugar craving, eat a piece of organic fruit with the skin on. I love apples with peanut butter.
Olive, avocado, sunflower and grapeseed oils are great to use for cooking and in salad dressings. When I need a snack to hold me over until the next meal, I’ll often choose nuts like almonds or pistachios. But again, remember the portion control. Nuts are high in fat and in calories, so a small handful is all you need. Limit saturated fats like butter, lard, cheese, and cream.
A high-fiber diet will fill you up longer and keep you “regular”. 🙂
Our body breaks protein down into amino acids which aid in so many bodily functions. A 4-6 oz. portion of lean, protein (chicken, fish, meat) is about the size of your fist. Try to have some in every meal. If you don’t have time, or you need a quick snack, a protein shake is very convenient. Protein takes longer to digest, so it will also make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, and will decrease those urges to snack.
- PORTION CONTROL
Use a smaller plate. I actually eat my morning cereal out of a cup, and use a salad plate for most meals.
Drink it… Lots of it.
Getting adequate hydration is the key! More than half of our body weight is made up of water.
Organs need water to help them work efficiently. It aids in digestion and helps to flush out toxins. Proper hydration is also like an internal moisturizer, great for the skin. For additional vitamins, and to enhance flavor, try adding some citrus to it. With so many health benefits, you really can’t go wrong, so drink up!
And that’s it, folks. You are capable of doing anything that you put your mind to. We have one life to live, and one “‘vehicle” to get us through it. Take care of your body, and your body will take care of you.
Questions and comments left below will be answered to the best of my ability. 😉
Photo Credit: Brent Weber