The old saying ‘You are what you eat’ is right. Eating is such a basic in life, we do it every day, and sometimes we don’t even think about it. We just eat. Knowing the right what and how much to eat is a whole different kettle of fish though.
I think people tend to underestimate how much what, when and how much we eat affects our bodies. What you eat can mean the difference between a healthy body and an unheatthy one. It can mean the difference between having Diabetes and not having Diabetes, between having a slightly flabby tummy and having hard rock abs.
Eating can make you feel great when you are eating, but can lead to excess weight gain, or on the opposite end of the scale, not eating can lead to weight loss, anorexia and other illnesses. It’s important to get what and how much you eat right so that you can fuel your body and give your body what it needs to thrive.
I know what works for me. I’ve changed a lot in what and how I eat over the years and, together with regular exercise, I’ve managed to get to my ideal weight and am happy with my body. Like I said, I know what works for me. For me, I know how to lose weight, gain weight and maintain my weight. I don’t count calories, I just know.
You last a lifetime: choose to eat well
It’s really just about looking at what you eat and being mindful of what, when and how much you eat. It’s about changing what you eat and how you eat for life. It’s about changing habits and having a positive mindset about food and how it fuels your life. It’s about getting rid of old bad habits and embracing new ones so that they become normal.
Check out this song by Emile Sandez:
‘Dreaming only lasts until you wake up and you find you’re not asleep.
Silence only sticks around til someone decides to speak.
And luck runs out, hearts go cold.
We’re only young until we’re old,
and Summer leaves us wondering where it went.
The friends you have can disappear,
the whole world can change within a year,
And money only lasts until it’s spent.
But you, YOU, you last a lifetime. You last a lifetime.’
You only have one life, and you last a lifetime, so it’s important to choose the right foods to food or fuel for your life. Every peice of food that goes into your mouth should be considered. Choosing the right foods can improve your health and mood and extend your life.
Really think about the food you eat:
To start of getting the right foods, write a food diary for a week and analyse the results. Look at what and how much you are eating and see if you can change what you eat to have a better diet. Look at your food diary and replace any bad choices with better ones. Remember this isn’t just a diet change though, it’s a change in what you will eat forever. Make little changes at a time, and reap the benefits over time.
They say it takes two weeks for your body to get used to a change in food type… stick with it and after a month the changes should start to sink in and become normal or habit.
Examples I have changed in the past include:
- Diet coke to water,
- Mars bars to fruit,
- Sandwiches to Salads,
- Bananas to berries,
- Microwave meals to soup and home made meals,
- Milky ways to Nutrigrain bars,
- Alcohol to soda water,
- Pudding to Greek Yoghurt.
(Note: I didn’t change these all at once, I’ve done it over a few years)
It’s about thinking about what you eat and if you NEED to eat (hunger), or whether you just WANT to eat (appetite). It’s about asking yourself if you are actually hungry of if you are just eating out of habit.
Eat high protien foods to increase satiety, reduce carbs and eat good fats (lean meat, fish, cheese, nuts, eggs, fruit, salad, milk, water).
When you eat:
Choose the right times to eat so that you eat small amounts regularly and don’t end up gorging. Set up meal times and snack times, but only eat small amounts. Drink plenty of water as sometimes dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. Water has no calories, so if you fill up on water (or milk if you want) as opposed to food, it should help weight loss.
How much you eat:
Choose to eat the right sizes of portions. With me I was eating mars bars quite regularly, which is fine for me as I exercise a lot. But, a better choice would be a snack sized mars bar which would fix my mars bar craving, give me an energy boost that I’m after, but only give me half the calories. (And yes I know a much better choice would be fruit, but you get the idea!!)
Check out my post An extra 20 calories a day: 7,300 calories a year or 2lbs a year, 20lbs in 10 years. 3 stone in 20 years. In fact, it will take just 22 years for a person with a BMI in the middle of the BMI range, to become an unhealthy weight (BMI of 30 or above) by just eating an extra 20 calories a day.
It takes a long time to go on, it will take a long time to come off.
Find out how many calories a person of your weight needs in order for you to lose weight. And as you lose weight, keep a check on how many calories you need. It is important that as you lose weight you reduce the calories you intake.
Other tips include:
1. Use smaller plates, smaller bowls, and really think about how much you eat as well as what you eat. Start off by weighing recommended food portions out, then once you get used to the correct sizes of portions you won’t need to weight them out.
2. If you are prone to gorging on meals out or are tempted to eat a whole packet of biscuits, or two or three course meal is to drink milk or water, or have a small healthy snack before you eat. This will fill you up slightly and cut the craving so that you eat less overall.
3. If you go out for a meal and you really want a two course meal, have a starter and a main instead of a main and a pudding. Have healthy puddings (fruit / greek yoghurt) handy at home instead of sugary bad puddings.
4. You don’t need to be a saint all the time. A varied balanced diet means having everything that you do eat in moderation. Lots of food groups and food types. There’s no harm in having the odd cheat meal, chippy or chinese meal but try not to make it a regular part of your food intake. And try to make the majority of your intake healthy and nutritious so that your body will perform well for you.
Choose the right foods, and do regular exercise and you’ll get the body you want.
You just need to choose to do it, and do it!
Links with more information:
You are what you eat choose right
How much exercise to lose weight not that much
My snacks and daily intake
I’m really hungry…
Taking control of a healthy way of eating
800 days off the booze
900 days off the booze
1000 days off the booze
Improving a weekly diet
Do you take Multivitamins?
Ditch the fizzy drinks and drink water…
Why I don’t drink Diet Coke or Coffee anymore…
Beating the afternoon slump…