By Dr. David Friedman
Obesity rates have skyrocketed in recent decades, and although you yourself might not be obese, or even overweight, it is still important that you keep good general health. Keeping yourself in good shape can make all the difference, both later in life and right now. Regular exercise is recommended, at least 30 minutes a day, but it would be foolish to believe that exercise alone is enough to keep you healthy, and some people just don’t have the time for it. A healthy lifestyle is comprised of a number of things, and working out is just one of them. The saying “you are what you eat” is true because what you feed your cells, you become. Eating healthily might just be the most important single thing that you can do to keep yourself disease free and in the best possible shape. Knowing what exactly you should eat can be tricky, however, and it can be difficult to keep up the motivation to lay off the cakes. Here are some useful tips for eating well to stay healthy.
The hardest part of a lifestyle overhaul is the beginning, especially if you are not accustomed to eating well. If this is the case, you should ease yourself into it gradually, via a sort of natural health revolution. Start by cutting out some of the worst offenders; perhaps you are guilty of eating one too many donuts, or maybe you eat fast food for dinner multiple times a week. Try switching a donut for something healthier, such as a piece of wheat toast, and cutting down your fast food intake to just once a week, and then even less frequently than that. Maybe it is just all about smaller portions. Cut out one thing a week, and then gradually add to it; you will hardly notice the difference!
Cut It Out
As you are trying to cut the bad things from your diet, it might help to know exactly what they should be. Start with any excess fat. Anything that is overly processed is likely to have a fairly large amount of fat in it. Some fat is important for your diet, but too many saturated or trans fats are incredibly bad for your health. They can wreak havoc with your cholesterol levels, causing heart problems and other complications. You cannot, and should not, cut fat completely out of your diet, but stick to unsaturated fats and cut out anything fried. Sugar is another substance that, in high quantities, can cause a whole array of health problems. People often overestimate the amount of sugar that one person needs each day, so remember that less is always more—especially as a lot of your daily sugar will come from food items that are not usually classified as “sweets.”
There is a common misconception that, in order to lose weight and be healthy, you have to limit what you eat. And while that might be true to an extent—huge portions and excessive junk food are both unnecessary and unhealthy—cutting out food groups, entire meals, or even eating less than you should are all dangerous habits. Just because you are dedicated to correcting your diet, it does not mean that you cannot eat. On the contrary, your diet should be full and balanced. Eat lean meats, such as wild caught fish and grain fed poultry, and as many organic vegetables as you want.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right motivation to eat healthy, especially when junk food is readily available and tastes so delicious. The old saying “21 days makes a habit” can bring you a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s just three weeks of dediction before good eating habits will become part of your lifestye. Sometimes having a friend or personal trainer can help you stay on track. Another thing to try is taking out an old pair of jeans that used to fit you. Leave them out so you can see them daily. Try them on if ever you feel tempted to eat something counterproductive to you reaching your ideal weight. After three weeks, you will notice how easy it becomes, and you will feel happier, more energetic, and all around more physically fit. Those “skinny jeans” from the past could end up fitting you this summer.