Diet programs appear quicker than I can count to 10. From mail-order diets, to cleanse diets to herbal pills – you name it and it is there. So why then does the western society continue to be plagued by obesity and diabetes? Many diet programs are fads. They hire celebrities and the best marketing experts to convince you that your weight loss program search is over.
The Downfall of diet programs
However, many of these diets can provide great short term results but are not sustainable. They do not teach you how to change your actual eating habits and how to prepare meals for better health.
While following the diet plan, you are often successful, but you will most likely regress to old habits. True dieting and weight loss will be more successful once you have learned to slowly but successfully change the way you eat by eating a healthier diet.
What is healthy
Eating a healthy meal can appear to be an enormous chore in modern times, especially for those with a job and family. What is healthy eating exactly? Is it eating organically grown produce? How about eating mostly fruits and vegetables?
Or perhaps it is trying to lower the sugar content or calories? It could also be a combination of all of the above. The descriptions and personal opinions can be endless, but in many cases, the desired result is weight loss in addition to health benefits.
I am not here to tell you specifically what it means to eat healthily because it depends on you, your life, your health. and your current eating habits. The one thing I can tell you is that just like any change in life, healthy eating is not going to happen overnight. It requires a slow but progressive plan to learn how to eat healthily.
My opinion on healthy eating is that eating healthy is eating food to thrive. But don’t all food allow you to thrive? Actually, all foods allow you to survive, but many impacts how long you will be around.
Benefits of healthy eating
Eating food to thrive means your food will enhance your life and your health. Your energy levels will be high, your mental capacity will be improved and you will achieve an overall feeling of wellness.
When your meals enable you to thrive your quality of life increases. It doesn’t make you tired or contribute to illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have a hectic lifestyle, you still will be tired, but at least you can handle it. Rest will revitalize you to greet the next hectic day. When your body is poorly nourished, you live every day in misery and rest appears to do very little for you.
Great, eating healthy is great but how do I start?
How exactly does one go about eating healthier when healthier choices appear to be less convenient? Well, you might be happy to hear that this inconvenience is only a myth. Healthier choices are less convenient simply because they are not part of your routine. Rather than reaching for white rice at the supermarket, the brown rice is sitting right next to the package of white rice you just dropped in your cart.
Ok, I know what you might be saying, brown rice is not appetizing. I used to think that too. But, your palate has adapted to that mild flavor of white rice. Brown rice isn’t disgusting, it’s just that you have been trained not to eat it.
Try adding some seasoning such as onion and garlic when you cook foods. This technique will help you to transition your taste buds. Here are some steps you can follow to start you on your journey of eating food to thrive. Follow them and you will learn how to eat healthy naturally.
Six Steps to eating
1. Replace one unhealthy food choice with a healthier one.
You can do this on a frequency of your choosing. Transitioning your palate takes some time, so do this slowly. You may try one new food item per week, month or even a year. If you eat white rice every day, then if all you did in one year is transitioning to brown or some other whole grain rice that would be a huge step. This article gives you some ideas about healthy food substitutions you can try.
Brown rice has as much carbohydrates like white rice, but the extra fiber is filling and reduces hunger and cravings.
2. Count Calories
This step is similar to the first step, in that the focus is to trade a food item to one with fewer calories. You can get simple or fancy with this. Simple could just be switching that ice cream shake for water or even juice, especially if you eat milk-shakes regularly.
Start by identifying at least one food item, that has high calories that you eat on a regular basis. For instance, if you eat a cookie every day for desert then switching to a cup of berries will definitely help you.
You can count the caloric content of the foods you eat using an app like MyFitnessPal. Or, you can do some online research and record this the old fashion way, of using a pen and pencil. This can be a little challenging because in some cases it’s hard to determine the calorie of your food. If you make your food yourself, you can use the MyFitnessPal app to record your recipe and determine the calories of a serving.
An average person who is reasonably active should eat around 1500 to 2000 calories per day. One ice cream shake can easily be 1000 calories. Paying attention to the calorie count of your food will lead you to healthier choices.
3. Bring fruits and steamed vegetables to work.
If you are like me, you probably get a case of the munchies several times at work. There is something about working that makes you want to keep your mouth moving. Rather than hitting that vending machine filled with chips and candy reach for some grapes instead.
If you work away from home your food options should naturally be less so it is much more likely that you will eat just about anything. For instance, if you are not a fan of steamed broccoli, you may still eat it at work. This will help to train your palate.
4. Read labels
Don’t assume that yogurt
Twenty-four grams of sugar equals 6 teaspoons of sugar. In learning how to eat healthily you might have to re-assess what foods you consider healthy. In some cases it might be the food item in others it might just be specific brands. Be sure to read the sugar and fat content on a label.
5. Swap bad fats for good fats
6. Do not grocery shop on a hungry stomach
Have you ever shopped for food on an empty stomach? If not, let me explain what that feels like. Think of a starving lion running in an open field of prey. He doesn’t know where to start so he grabs every critter that passes by. That’s a hungry human in a grocery store. Just don’t do it, trust me on that. If you don’t buy junk, then it will not be available for those midnight cravings. Your waistline and your wallet will thank you.
Frequently asked questions about eating healthy
Before you sign up for the next diet program, consider the long term benefits. If the program is designed to teach you how to change your eating practices and how to eat healthily, it will be more effective. I would stay away from any programs where you have to subscribe to their own food.
Ask yourself these questions. Do you really plan on subscribing to this service forever? What is your plan when the subscription is over? Do you know where to begin? Your health depends on it.
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