I hate the phrase “I’m on a diet”. It implies that eating healthy is a phase. That it’s something you get on and off of. And in most cases, it is used in the wrong context–either pertaining to crash dieting, fasting or any of those bad diet fads like slimming teas.
Studies conducted at Columbia University Medical Centre shows that diets don’t work in the long run. Within 5 years, two-third of dieters gain their weight back (and sometimes more). Dieting only offers short-term effects. Because you are drastically making changes to your eating habits, you are more likely to NOT stick to it. Moreover, when you starve yourself, your brain makes even more bad choices when it comes to food. Notice that the hungrier you are, the more enticing that slice of chocolate cake or that bag of chips look like.
Let’s remove that “I’m-on-a-diet” mentality. Good nutrition should be the norm. It’s not only for people who want to lose weight. It’s a necessity for all human beings in order for our bodies to function at optimal level.
Eating healthy is not as hard as you think. Here are some tips to help you change your mindset about nutrition and eating.
Don’t deprive yourself of the foods that you love.
This is my favorite rule. Eating right does not mean depriving yourself of the things that you love to eat. Life is too short to limit yourself! Besides, the more you limit yourself, the more it becomes harder for you to resist the temptation. So yes, that means you can still have that chocolate cake–just don’t eat the whole slice! It’s all about not super-sizing everything. There is this popular 90/10 rule which stands for 90% eating sensible food choices and 10% eating whatever you feel like. I believe this is a good starting point for you to transition to eating healthily. Having some flexibility and room for indulgence will make you more likely to stick to it. Overtime, you’ll find yourself sticking to more healthier choices just because you don’t want to ruin the progress you’ve made.
Don’t skip meals.
Your body needs fuel to function. That’s what food is for. When you starve yourself, your body goes on “survival mode”. It learns to survive on fewer calories and your metabolism stays low because it doesn’t know when it will get its next food supply. Before long, your body will use your muscles as source of fuel lowering your metabolism even more making you feel weaker. Not only does it affect you physically, it also affects your intellectual and emotional functioning. You get cranky and irritable. So really, you’re only setting yourself up for failure because on your next meal, you are not only more likely to eat more, you are also more likely to make up for the missed meal with junk food.
Eat several smaller meals all throughout the day.
This isn’t probably the first time you’ve heard this. Eating several meals throughout the day means you are less hungry because there are less hours in between meals. A good guideline is to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day. We’re not talking about 5-6 lunch size meals here. Either evenly divide the number of calories you need in a day between these meals or have slightly larger meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner and some light healthy snacks in between.
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