DIET - The Four Letter Word

Date March 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Author Julie Lueking

Publication SantaFe.com

Categories Health & Beauty

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This big bad word has little red riding hood running away from grandma's house. Yes, the big bad word is DIET! Everyone knows that when you hear the word diet there is an instant feeling of dread. Dieting is known to leave you feeling hungry, moody, unhappy, and missing out on life. How do you lose weight and not diet? That is the million dollar question!

I don't like to say I am on a diet; it makes me think I am starving myself and I can't ever eat a chocolate bar again. Everyone is different in how they prepare for diet and weight loss. I have a really hard time getting into the groove. I first start by making a goal for myself. Then I look in my cabinets and refrigerator and look for any junk food and throw or give it away. Don't worry-this doesn't mean you can never have it again. It just means that when you're craving something sweet or salty, you can really pinpoint what you need instead of grabbing a quick fix-junk food-if it's in the house. And believe me; you will enjoy it a lot more when you feed your body exactly what it craves. The key to never dieting again is to learn how to eat healthy, change your eating habits, and live your life by making informed and balanced choices.

NUTRITION - The first step in not dieting is to learn how to eat healthy. Nutrition vs. dieting"€¦ Diets do not work! With a diet there is always a start date and an end date. What do you do after the end date? Go back to eating the way you were? Isn't that what got you into the mess you're in now? Dieting is restricting calories, eating salads for every meal, and eating alone while your friends or family eat whatever they want. The thought of eating less to lose weight is overrated. Why not eat more and feel better! Learning about nutrition and eating healthy is a good lesson to learn. The food pyramid is a great model to start from.

FOOD PYRAMID - Since we are talking about weight loss, try eating smaller serving sizes of the following items.

  • 6-11 servings of whole grains (wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, or barley)
  • 2-3 servings of meats and beans (chicken, fish, red meat, beans)
  • 2-4 servings of fruits (apples, pears, or oranges)
  • 3-4 servings of vegetables (green beans, broccoli, or leafy vegetables)
  • 2-3 serving of dairy (milk, yogurt, or cheese)
  • Use fats sparingly

BREAKFAST - Want more specific information about what to eat? Let's start with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. For breakfast you want to eat a good carbohydrate and protein. Oatmeal and eggs are a great example. Eggs are great source of protein, just be careful of the yolks. The yolks contain fat; try using one whole egg and the rest egg whites. You don't have to stick to oatmeal and eggs for the rest of your life. Look for other foods that contain the same nutritional value.

SNACKS - Next, you want to eat snacks throughout the day. Try having a morning and afternoon snack. Eating 4-5x a day speeds up your metabolism. Metabolism is the rate your body processes food. The more times a day you eat, the more accepting your body is to release the stored fat. Snacks might include a serving of fat free cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt and almonds, or an apple with peanut butter.

CARBOHYDRATES - Remember: carbohydrates fuel the brain and give you energy. Limiting your carbohydrates is dangerous, try to eat smaller portions and choose the right time to eat them. For lunch, try including protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Ex. Chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread and a salad with low fat dressing. For dinner, try to eat proteins and veggies. Try to limit or eliminate carbohydrates, especially at the end of the day when you are no longer active and you're ready to settle down to watch your favorite TV show. Remember, whatever your body doesn't use it stores as fat!

EATING HABITS - Now that you have some of basics facts of nutrition, let's talk about changing your eating habits. Changing your eating habits is one of the most difficult things to do. Start with looking at what you're eating and create a food log. See what you crave and when. Once you have analyzed how many times a day you're eating, what you're eating, and when you like to snack, trying to change one thing at a time. Let's make your first goal together, start with eating breakfast. Then make your second goal and so on.

MAINTENANCE - Ok, now the big question, how do you have a social life, family, or just live your life with always watching what you eat? That's where choosing wisely and moderation comes into play. Going out to eat is the culprit of all binge meals. Restaurants served humongous portions and have Temptation Island on their menus. Try to choose a healthy meal or eat half of the meal and take the other half home. I also like to follow the rule that if you have been good all week with healthy eating choices you can have a cheat meal!

MODERATION - Another way to still have your cake and eat it too is called moderation. The key to having whatever you want is to limit the portion sizes. If you're at work and there is a pizza party, don't deprive yourself of having a slice. Choose to have one slice and enjoy every bite. Instead of having a full size candy bar, allow yourself a bite size one. I am not suggesting that you eat bite size junk food every day, but don't deny yourself the occasional craving.

Remember, your body is your temple. You are stuck with it for the rest of your life. Exercise and eating healthy will provide you with many years of feeling good and looking good. Live your life to the fullest. Stay healthy and happy.

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