Eating in a healthy manner isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s actually pretty simple. Don’t confuse simple with easy though. The concepts are simple, but changing your habits might not be so easy. Don’t expect to flip a switch and change overnight. Take small steps and eventually big changes will happen.
Now, the truth is, you don’t need any of those ridiculous diet books that are crowding the bookstore shelves to see these changes. Most of those are just filled with new gimmicks that sound great, but are really just designed to sell books, not make you healthy.
All you need is common sense. If you have that, we’ve just won most of the battle. If you don’t, well, this will be a little more difficult. Either way, here goes…
- Read Food Labels Most people have no idea what they are putting into their mouth. It is time for you to start reading the ingredients on the food you buy. You’ve read this far, so I know you can read. If the food you are buying sounds more like a science experiment than food, put it back on the shelf. Also, it’s time to be an adult. No more Fruit Loops or Pop Tarts. If you really want to be healthy, start making healthy choices (make healthy choices for your kids too, while you’re at it). Quite honestly, it is hard to believe how much of the food in your basic grocery store is overly-processed, preservative-, sugar-, and fat-filled crap. Here are a few things to avoid when you’re trying to make better choices:
- Enriched, white, bleached, or unbleached flour. If this is the first ingredient, put it back and get something that is made with whole wheat flour or another whole grain instead.
- High fructose corn syrup. Sugar by another name is still sugar. This is just a cheaper, easier to produce kind.
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These just suck. They are evil. If you’ve heard of trans fats, these are them. Food manufacturers take an oil and add an extra hydrogen atom to the chemical structure so that it stays solid at room temperature. Unfortunately it does the same in your arteries.
- Too much sodium. The US government says you should limit your intake to 2400mg per day. The British government says 1500mg per day. Either way, less won’t hurt you and more could. Some processed foods have a day’s worth of sodium in a single serving!
- Eat Breakfast Yes, it is that important. Your mother was right. And remember, no Fruit Loops. You are an adult. People who consistently eat breakfast, eat less over the course of the day than those who don’t. And while you’re at it, don’t skip any meals. More on that later.
- Slow Down I don’t care what you say, you eat too fast. SLOW DOWN. Our bodies play a cruel trick on us in that our stomach and brain seem to have a time delay between them. This means that it takes our stomach about 10 minutes longer than it should to tell our brains that we’ve eaten enough. This is one reason we overeat. Another reason is the fact that most people wolf down their food so fast, they must think their plate will explode if they take too long. This is dinner, not a pie-eating contest. Slow down. Really. This alone will make a huge difference in your weight. Think I’m nuts? Try it for a week and see. What I want you to do is put your fork down on the table after every bite. I know it’s hard, but take your hand off of the fork and put your hands in your lap and slooowly chew your food. That’s right, I said slooowly. Chew each bite at least 20 – 25 times before you swallow it. Focus on what you are eating. It should take you at least twice as long to eat as normal, but I’ll bet you eat less and still feel satisfied. Simple. Maybe not easy, but it sure is simple. And I guarantee it works.
There are more Ridiculously Simple Rules, but that will get you started on the road to healthy eating with a goal to never diet again.