Stop Dieting: Eat for Health not Weight

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The way we approach eating and activity goes a long way when it comes to our health and weight.  When you concentrate on “health” in this equation weight will follow.  We have all heard that diets don’t work in the long run and that often times the weight lost through hurculean effort is gained back and more!  It is my belief that changing what we eat to become healthier impacts weight, so here are some ideas eating healthier.

Steer clear of sugar.  Not just the stuff on the spoon, but the sugar found in processed foods: cookies, crackers, salad dressings, etc.  Don’t drink your calories in any form, from soda to 100% fruit juice to sugary coffee drinks which can pack a whopping 500 calories.  Simplified, sugar leads to a blood sugar surge and then a crash.  It is the crash that causes cravings for more sugar and consequently more calories to be consumed.

Don’t eat fat-free, eat “good” fats in moderation (see here for good fats) .  Good fat does not make you fat!  You need fat in your diet to absorb fat soluble vitamins, nourish your brain and produce hormones.  Fat-free foods are loaded with sugar and may contain more calories than their full fat counterparts.  Fat satiates hunger, makes us feel full longer and doesn’t contribute to a spike in blood sugar.  Eating fat-free leaves you feeling hungry more quickly and headed back to the fridge!

Eat more protein.  Protein takes more energy to digest and your body works harder to digest it.  It keeps you full longer than carbohydrates because it doesn’t contribute to blood sugar levels, so there is no craving attributed to consuming protein.

Whole grains are where it’s at.  White bread, donuts, cookies, cake, and other white fluffy carbohydrates also lead to a sugar rush and crash.  Besides, who ever felt full eating a rice cake?  Whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, and brown rice all contain fibre which slows down the absorption of sugar again keeping blood sugar levels more stable.  Fibre also helps the body rid itself of waste.

Eat your veggies and fruit.  Mom was right, they are good for you!   Vegetables and fruit contain the vitamins and minerals vital to promoting and sustaining good health.  They are low cal, full of fibre and delicious.  Fruit and veg are free cards.  Eat as many as you want!

Know what you are going to eat next.  Plan meals and snacks.  If the munchies hit, be ready with alternatives:  fruit, nuts, etc.   Don’t just grab something and think about it later.  If you have planned a snack the thinking has been done already.

Do not eat on the run – in your car, watching TV, over the sink, making dinner, working on your computer or reading a book.  Get the idea?  Set the table, light a candle, sit down and concentrate on eating only.    Eat slowly and consciously.  Enjoy every bite.  This boosts the hormones which make you feel fuller.  It makes you aware of how much you are eating as well.

Incorporate activity into your everyday life.  Choose activities that get you away from your desk at lunchtime or off of the couch in the evening.  Take the stairs over an escalator, park further from a store entrance, go for a walk, wrestle with the kids.  Get moving.

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