‘It’s a healthier life’
As a Christmas gift to my readers this year, I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned over the years. I invite you to read on for ten tips for a healthier life.
1. Your diet starts when you are born and ends when you die. The concept of dieting implies there is a beginning and an end. When most people reach the “end” they eventually migrate back to their old habits because they were “finished” with their diet. Evaluating habits that prevent you from feeling good and moving them out of your life for good is the surest way to success.
2. Avoiding your favorite foods almost always leads to trouble. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up giving into a craving which will lead you to eat too much. For more information, see number six below.
3. Being mindful of what you eat will greatly increase your satisfaction and enjoyment of food. Eating is as automatic as breathing it seems. And if you’re distracted while you eat, it gets harder and harder to listen to your body until it’s too late. Keep in mind that food tastes best when you’re hungry. As the meal goes on and your hunger decreases, foods taste different. Rather than waste (or waist) food that doesn’t taste as good, save some for later and enjoy it all over again.
4. Using smaller dishes and glasses will guarantee that you’ll eat less. Over the years our portions have gotten bigger and our plates have kept up. Our brains are quite gullible. Go back to that nine inch plate and 12 ounce glass and you’ll be surprised that you get full just as easily.
5. Obesity is a disease and not a character flaw. If advising someone to eat less and exercise more was effective therapy, there would be no need for dietitians. Rather than try to figure out a path alone, consider working a registered dietitian to guide you towards your health goals. Everyone is different!
6. The only reason to feel guilty for eating something is if you stole it. Food is not evil and you should not feel bad for eating something you enjoy. You may regret eating a whole pie, but you should not be punished for it.
7. You cannot out exercise an unhealthy diet. Choosing to be more active is never a bad decision. Remember that you are breaking down and rebuilding your body. Choosing nutrient dense foods that will support optimal tissue growth is a wise decision.
8. If exercise could be a prescribed medication, we’d all be on it. The key is to find something you enjoy. Walking, dancing, yoga, stretching, chair exercises, anything, just get moving. The benefits of exercise is the gift that keeps on giving: increased metabolism, reduced risk of chronic disease, improved mood. Anything you can do will be a benefit.
9. Moderation is the key to everything. Eat food you enjoy, get up and move when you can, and try to keep a good balance in your life.
10. Your mom was right, vegetables are good for you. Start each meal with half of your plate covered in them. Putting dressing or butter on them is OK if that means you’ll eat them. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and flavor, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Mary Koch is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Questions may be sent to Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.