Happy New Year, are you like most of us starting the New Year determined to make this a healthy one? Does this include lowering your cholesterol, getting off the pre-diabetes fence, or weight loss? If so let me share some tips with you.
I recently heard a statistic stating – 96% of people who start a weight loss program or use diet supplements gain the weight back. Why do you think this happens? My guess – it’s because it is not a life change, it’s a temporary fix. Do you know why those weight loss programs get results? Simple, they are all low calorie; even if you take a diet supplement the directions will state you need to eat lower calorie meals and exercise. For a permanent solution, make a lifestyle change, one that is not complicated, and one that you can stick to for life. Here are a few tips:
- Always have color at every meal. Color comes from fruits and vegetables, which are a power house when it comes to nutritional value, and they are low in calories. I strive to make 50% of every meal colorful.
- Get rid of added, refined sugar, and this includes “sugar in the raw”, it’s still just refined sugar. Learn to drink your coffee and tea unsweetened; you can retrain your taste buds. Also, there is a difference between added sugar and natural sugar that is present in fruit and vegetables. The sweetness in fruit comes mainly from fructose (fruit sugar), but fruit also contains water, fiber and beneficial nutrients, such as phenols. Phenols are an antioxidant offering protection from the damaging effects of free radicals that can lead to heart disease, inflammatory conditions, and even cancers. So skip the donut or cookie and have a piece of fruit.
- Get rid of processed foods. Do you ever read the ingredient list of processed foods? I do, and I can tell you there are a lot of ingredients in processed foods that I do not want in my body. Also, have you walked down the freezer section of the grocery store lately? Grocery stores had to remodel to add 2 rows of frozen meals! If these are your “in an emergency” go to, then as long as you don’t have too many emergencies they are OK. Otherwise these meals are highly processed, with a lot of additives and I do not recommend them on a weekly basis. Need quick easy ideas? Get my free eBook: 10 Ways to Serve Rotisserie Chicken, and start cooking!
- As mentioned above, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to simply cook. You do not have to make gourmet meals with 15 ingredients, you can keep it simple and use just a few fresh ingredients, you just need to do a little planning. For example, it’s easy to stir fry some protein (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, tofu) with some fresh veggies, and serve over a bed of rice or better yet quinoa. Hint: I often make more than we will consume for a meal so I have leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Exercise! Do something, you don’t have to join a gym, but you need to move. Find an exercise you enjoy and will do most days of the week. Also, mix it up between cardio (aerobic) and strength training. For cardio you can walk, run, bike, or swim. Strength training is important to build muscle to prevent falls as we age.
When I counsel clients on healthy eating I never have them count calories because quite frankly people will not count them for more than a few days. What I have clients do is be aware of calories, for example, if you are aiming for 2,000 calories a day and the meal you are about to eat is 1,800 calories that doesn’t leave many more calories for the rest of the day. Click here to read my article – Is It Just Calories That Count.
Fat and protein are also important to include in your daily intake. For more on fat click here for my article – Omega 3, 6, & 9 ,and for protein here’s a link to my article Protein – How Much & What’s Your Source to see how much protein you need on a daily basis.
I’m wishing all of you the very best for the New Year, hoping it starts out healthy and continues that way.
NOTE: I will be sending out a “Health Tip” blog on a weekly basis this year, they are short and sweet. You can read them here at www.RD4Health.com or sign up for my newsletter and blog to receive them automatically.