After years of thinking and obsessing about food and body image I have finally come to a place in my life where a “diet” just doesn’t fit. I do not diet. I think of a diet as a short lived restrictive way of eating that can accomplish a goal for a certain set time, but does not change one’s life or lifestyle. What diet should be is a natural way of eating. One’s diet is how one eats to nourish one’s body. That’s what it should be. Now, we all know we can have really great diets or really poor, crappy diets, or we can be somewhere in between. These days I choose to have a diet that nourishes and feeds my body in a healthy manner. Do I always have the best diet? Heck no! I’m a food lover first! I love to eat. I love the ritual, the planning, the taste, the creation and the celebration that food brings. However, since I no longer think about “dieting” I’ve found I want healthier foods and just plain like eating better and healthier foods, in a healthier manner.
The other thing that I’ve finally realized is that we do have to eat. God created our bodies to need food and hydration. He even provides the food for us. In order to use our bodies as He intended, we have to have the necessary fuel. Food is not the enemy. I am certain that I am around women that just don’t eat. Or they don’t eat adequately to fuel themselves. It’s good to remember that a skinny body is not always a healthy body!
On to the advice given in the Self magazine that I thought was a good share. I am going to call them the 7 Habits to Live By. They go like this:
1. Try to eat about 1600 calories a day. This may sound like I’m being a hypocrit since I have said I don’t diet anymore. I do, however, keep a mental note of what I am eating and the calories I’m taking in. If I need to, sometimes I keep track with a food journal or an app on my phone. This is just to tweak my eating sometimes and get back on track. What I have learned is that we really don’t need as many calories as we typically eat. If it is 1600 calories of real food that is nutritious, I’m not hungry.
2. Eat throughout the day. I find that it works best to be a bit of a grazer and not go hours without eating. If the blood sugar drops I will eat whatever I can get my hands on and that’s usually not a good thing. Snacks are okay, they are not evil!
3. Eat the protein! In fact, eat at least 80 grams a day. The more muscle we have the more calories we burn, even if we are just sitting. If you cut calories without boosting the protein you lose muscle instead of fat. That’s not the goal. The muscle is what we need to keep us going and keep us strong and keep our metabolism working. The article reminds us women to spread the protein out throughout the day, and not just pile it on at dinnertime.
4. Get 25 grams of Fiber a day. Fiber makes us feel full so we don’t keep on munching more than we need. Also, spread the fiber out throughout the day, just like the protein. The article says aim for 7 grams at breakfast, lunch and dinner and 2 – 3 grams per two snacks.
5. Cut added sugar. Duh. We should know this one already, but it bears repeating because this sugar addiction is a hard one to break. It’s empty calories that do nothing good for our bodies and systems. You can do a search on my blog of the work “sugar” and see some of the addictive qualities and negative side effects of sugar that I’ve written about. This stuff is everywhere and it’s doing nothing good for our natural diets and the way we should be eating. Check out labels on foods and avoid anything that ends with the ending “ose”, such as dextrose and maltrose. If you can kick the sugar habit, eating natural fruit will grow to be a great substitute. I will confess that this is the one that I do struggle to stay on track with. However, I am happy to say that sugar does not have the hold on my that it used to, and I do not have the sugar cravings like I used to. Although, I know that if I started eating it daily I would start those darn cravings again.
6. Choose whole grains. We hear this one every day, every where. Things like quinoa, barley and buckwheat are whole grains that also pack a lot of fiber in them. Refined grains like white bread, bagels and pasta do nothing for us but give us empty calories. Studies show that the whole grains can help folks lose belly fat as compared with those who ate refined grains.
7. Limit the alcohol. If you are truly trying to drop a few pounds you should quit completely until you are back on track. Even drinking two drinks a day adds an extra 300 calories to those days. Multiply that by your days of the week and the calories will really add up, and again, it’s empty calories. Of course, alcohol also lowers inhibitions making it much easier to eat some really bad stuff. Also, drinking more than 30 grams of alcohol, which is about two drinks, and the body begins to change the by-products into fat. Who wants that?
There you have it. These are the tips in Self magazine. They are not earth shattering or anything really new to those of you who are up on your health and wellness, but I always need a reminder to give me that little boost and keep me motivated to stay on the healthy side of things. These are basically the things I try to remember daily. I am in no way perfect – those of you who know me definitely know that and if you saw me you’d know that, too! However, I think these are 7 simple steps that can make such a difference.
Have any habits to share? Any of these trip you up? How are you handling MORE cold weather?
I’ve taken to wearing my coat indoors . . . .
Stay Warm out there!