We, as a culture, are obsessed with dieting. In fact, sources say that the weight loss industry caters to more than 100 million dieters. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. Dieting after all, is meant to help us become healthier and make better food choices, especially when obesity is one of America’s biggest health problems.
Over the past years, however, researchers have pointed out that while dieting is proven to work, it’s not for everyone. In fact, frequent dieting may even lead to weight gain in the long run rather than weight loss, disrupt your body’s natural relationship with food, and even become a primary predictor of an eating disorder.
But why does this happen?
There are a couple reasons. First, we have not cared enough, which usually stems from not having the proper resources to sustain, let alone follow this type of lifestyle. Second is that we haven’t been informed enough about how (and what) to eat stay healthy.
This has led to many myths around dieting and healthy eating in general — a lot of which continue to still mislead people today. However, a lot of these myths usually circle back to what is arguably the biggest mistake that people still make: eating healthier does not mean restricting yourself, nor does it mean starving yourself just to cut back on carbs.
In other words, it’s not about how much you eat, but actually what you eat.
It’s easy to see why this mistake is so commonplace however, given that most diet trends today focus on restrictive eating, further entangling that idea into the deep recesses of our brains. Then there’s logic. After all, eating less would therefore translate to weighing less, right?
Well, yes. But dieting, and on a bigger scope, actual healthy eating, is so much more than just losing weight. It’s keeping you in shape; it’s making you in-tune with your system; it’s making you healthy enough to fight diseases; and it is enjoying the best life can give. Healthy eating simply feels good, and makes you feel good about your body.
Building up habits
So where to begin? For starters, do away with the idea of “dieting” and instead focus on “mindful” or “moderate” eating. The point here is to be aware of your hunger and satiety cues, and allowing them to tell you when to eat and when to stop. Allow yourself to think of food as a nourishing experience as well, and choose ones that are pleasing and beneficial, and simply enjoy them.
Remember that pleasure is just as important as variety for a balanced diet. This means that when taken in moderation, even sweets can be a part of a balanced diet. In fact, a balanced diet even makes weight loss possible, albeit in safe, gradual, and sustainable way.
Still, there are rules that can guide you, such as the World Health Organization’s five points that summarize the basics of nutrition:
- Eat the number of calories as your body consumes.
- Eat lots of plant-based foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
- Choose saturated fat over saturated and trans fats.
- Limit your sugar intake.
- Reduce salt and sodium consumption.
Still feel a bit lost? Don’t worry, we have your back, so here are some dietary changes and habits you can make:
1.Drink fewer sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks
These drinks contain sugar and empty calories, so the less you drink them, the better. Instead, opt for water, as it’s always good.
2.Don’t skip breakfast!
You heard us, so make sure you start the day with a hearty meal, as this will give you energy and stop you from overeating later on.
3. Eat more grains
This means incorporating more whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and high-quality wheat in your diet. These foods have less calories than processed grains, so always opt for them.
4. Choose healthier snacks
For our money, we’d recommend giving Eat Me Guilt Free a go. Made by registered nurse and certified sports nutritionist Cristie Besu, this product line is created in order to give a solution to her clients’ late night cravings for sweets.
Besu understood that late night cravings are just sometimes hard to avoid, so rather than stop them, why not just provide a healthier alternative to snack on? And so Eat Me Guilt Free is created, which consist of baked goods that Besu herself made in her kitchen.
Boasting an unprecedented high-protein to low-carbohydrate ratio, the pantry’s menu consists of delectables like their famous brownies, cakes, vegan cookies, and even protein bread. It doesn’t stop there, as Eat Me Guilt Free is always expanding its offers.
Additionally, subscribing to the monthly “Flavor of the Month” box of 12 for $30 also comes with free shipping.
If baked goods aren’t your speed, however, and you want something lighter, then you wouldn’t wanna miss out on the Monkey Fruit & Nut Bar.
All organic, gluten-free and of course, plant-based, this one-of-a-kind delicious snack is perfect for people who want to munch something on the side, or just have a quick midday snack. In fact, it can be enjoyed anytime of the day.
Made from literally just three ingredients (apples, bananas, and cashews), the Monkey Bar is as simple as it is healthy, and is meant to be either a comfort food or an energy bar for those days when you simply need to be on-the-move.
5. Choose lean proteins
Non-vegetable options include turkey, fish, and chicken (particularly chicken breast), while plant-based options include beans, tofu, chickpeas, peanuts, chia seeds and potatoes.
6. Eat more servings of fruits and vegetables
This should come as no surprise, but every balanced diet has a more than decent amount of fruit and vegetable servings. Note the portion size though, and choose small components rather than large ones.
While this doesn’t include any actual eating, physical activity like exercise is still the best thing to pair a balanced diet with. It doesn’t have to be extreme exercise as well, as a simple walk around the neighborhood or going up and down the stairs a couple of times already counts. The key here, is to just keep moving and avoid following a sedentary lifestyle. Do this for at least 60 minutes every other day of the week.
Enjoy eating, enjoy life
To develop healthy eating habits, it’s important to understand what our body needs from a nutritional standpoint. Understanding this would then help and motivate people to look at food as more than a group of calories that our body needs to burn.
Food is, and will always be, a way of life, and enjoying it as such while being mindful and following healthy habits will help us enjoy it more… all while making sure our waist don’t grow a couple sizes too big.