Sunday, March 14, 2010

Create a Nutrition Lifestyle

Most people seem to have trouble with where to start when it comes to diet and exercise. Because we live in a world of instant gratification, we are constantly looking for quick-fixes when it comes to our bodies and our health. But we have to accept that for any process to actually last a lifetime, it will probably begin pretty slowly. Also, no matter what the commercials on the television say, it cannot possibly be so easy or everyone would be doing it.

I was meant to write about how to jump-start both your nutrition and exercise regimen, but there is so much within each category, that I will split them into two weeks. This week, we will focus on the diet portion. I have documented some steps that I believe will help to jump-start a healthy diet (and of course hopefully avoid slacking off within the first week).

1.      Eat a healthy breakfast: Your breakfast kind of sets the tone for the day, so don’t eat a load of rubbish in the morning. And try not to skip breakfast. It just makes you hungrier so you eat much more during the day.
2.      You love what you love: Don’t give up food you cannot live without or you’ll be back where you started in a matter of time. Cut down, not out. For example, if you absolutely adore bread, you should probably not be on a protein-only diet. So many people think “If I cut out all food that seems ‘bad’, I’ll be fine”. But I don’t agree. Everything should be done in moderation. Cut out things that you know you can live without. Think about it. You'd be surprised to discover how much bad food you eat that you actually don't care too much for.
3.      The ‘Fast’ diet fad: Diet programs are exactly that – ‘programs’. People forget this and believe they can drink a Slim Fast, Muscle Fast or basically anything with ‘fast’ on the end of its name, and just shrink. Understand that these are created as part of a diet program, and if you do not follow the program to the letter, stay away from it entirely. If you look at the nutrition information on a can of Slim Fast, you will see that it is actually not that fantastic on its own. But as part of the program, it’s fine. Now, the program does require that you give up a lot of meals, so we’re back to item 1.
4.      Food Replacement: If you can replace something you eat for a healthier version, this is an easy way to lose some weight. Examples would be to replace white bread with whole grain, replace sugary cereal with a brand that includes whole grain or oats, replace white rice with brown, etc.
5.      Portions: We’ve heard this before. Just eat less. Don’t starve yourself, but don’t pile that jollof rice on your plate like your life depends on it. This is not boarding school; there will be more food tomorrow. And I know your mother said you must finish whatever is on your plate or in the pot, but you’re older now so you don’t have to keep doing that. Form the habit of eating till you’re satisfied, not till you’re about to blow up. This may take a few weeks to get used to, but your stomach will definitely adjust. I’ve read that it takes about 3 weeks for your body to adjust to a habit. 
      Also, sometimes, people believe because something is healthy, they should eat as much of it as they want. No. Everything has calories. Some have less, but the more you eat, the more calories you consume.
6.      Cut back on the booze: While you’re drinking that beer or martini, realize that alcohol has a lot of calories. Although you want to have a good time, you could wipe out days of working out by drinking too much. Beer and abs don't go together, no matter how much we wish they did.
7.      Water is the source of all things good: Reduce your intake of soda (Coke, Pepsi, etc.), and replace it with tons of water. Soda is a very sugary type of drink, and we all know that. On the other hand, water helps to replenish the muscles, helps with digestion, regulates body temperature, and does a ton of other great things to your body. There is a reason most of the world and most of our bodies consist of water. It is good for you. Period.

These are the main tips to jump-start your diet. Remember to go slow because if you shock yourself, you may start craving food even more and be right back where you started.

Next week, we’ll talk about jump-starting your exercise program. Sign up as a ‘Follower’ or join the Eights and Weights Facebook page here to get notifications when a new blog comes out every week. Please leave feedback, comments and questions.

Have a lovely week!

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