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As 2012 closed, many resolved to lose weight during the coming year. A few days into 2013, several had already broken well-intended goals, and some gave up entirely.

Why make any goals for eating? What would happen if we kicked aside thoughts of calories and concentrated on the positives of food? Think about the following:

  • We all eat. We can’t survive unless we do. Food is not the enemy—even high-calorie choices have their place.
  • Sugar does not make us fat. It’s that huge amount we tend to add to foods and drinks. Not only that, high-sugar foods often replace ones that provide needed nutrients for better health. Likewise, avoiding high-fat, high-sugar foods and keeping them out of the house can prompt more healthful eating and loss of weight.
  • Diet is not a bad word. We all are on a “diet.” The word refers to whatever we eat—from toast and water to caviar and wine—that is our diet. What is your current diet, or what do you want it to be? Small changes can drastically alter a less healthy meal pattern into one that helps maintain a healthy weight and improve overall health. The brochure at http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/DG2010Brochure.pdf  provides a great resource for a healthier lifestyle.
  • Add instead of subtract. So-called “weight-loss diets” focus on what not to eat. Instead, consider what you can add to your diet.
    • Add fiber to ensure a greater sense of fullness.
    • Drink ample water between meals to keep you hydrated and replace some of the urge to eat.
    • Each day add five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables, four to six ounces of protein foods (lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, legumes), the equivalent of three servings of reduced-fat milk/milk products, and six servings of bread/cereal/pasta with half of those servings from whole grain sources.
    • Use some of the above foods to make reduced-calorie desserts such as puddings or fresh fruit combinations.
    •  See http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/ExecSumm.pdf  for more details on healthy eating.
  • Watch portion size. One of the greatest culprits in the “battle of the bulge” is overindulgence. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes from the time food reaches the stomach for the brain to realize you are getting full. Eating more slowly helps bring about satiety to keep from overeating. The following serving sizes help prevent consuming too much: fruits and vegetable, one-half cup cooked or one cup fresh; lean meats, about the size of a deck of cards; bread, cereal, or pasta, one slice or one ounce; milk/milk products, the equivalent of eight fluid ounces.

These five principles can help you have a healthier diet and perhaps a healthier you during this new year. You don’t need a resolution to do that.

Have a happy, healthy 2013.

 

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