I don’t know about you, but I am sick of people “dieting”. I’ve tried it, you’ve tried it and it always ends the same. Maybe you lost 45 pounds in just 4 months, only to find that once you got off the diet you’d gain it all back within a month. Or maybe you’ve just never lost any weight on diets and keep trying the new ones. Either way, we’ve all been there and it’s just no way to live. We shouldn’t feel guilty for eating, and we certainly can learn to make better choices for a healthier lifestyle. So, I’ve come up with these 4 things that will help you make a sustainable diet for the rest of your life.
In today’s society we think of a diet as a plan for losing weight that is barely tolerable for a few weeks let alone the rest of your life. Merriam-Webster states that “diet” means “food and drink regularly provided or consumed; habitual nourishment.” So I challenge you to think of it this way from now on. Then according to Merriam-Webster, sustain means “to give support; to supply with sustenance or nourish; keep up”. So that’s exactly why I am calling this a sustainable diet, because it is something we all can do for the long haul. It’s not rocket science, it’s just about making the right choices.
1. Make healthy choices. Whether it is choosing grilled chicken or fried pork chops, or veggies instead of fries, just make the healthier choice most of the time. I’m not saying you can’t have that piece of cake from time to time, but for the most part you should eat a nice colorful plate of food. Veggies, fruit, carbs and lean protein should make up your plate. Some fats are necessary but steer clear of the butter, and go for the olive oil instead. Don’t eat things you don’t like because that will only make you dislike eating healthier. You can branch out from time to time, but don’t feel like you have to eat tofu just because some health website says you should. Remember to keep it simple, and pick the better choice.
Additional tips: Instead of whole milk switch to 2% or skim. Buy lower fat cheeses in the store, because many are made with 2% milk now. Use egg substitute (or egg whites) instead of eggs in recipes to lower cholesterol content.
2. Exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean you have to go run a marathon every weekend or anything though. Find some active things you like to do, and find someone to do them with. Tennis, playing tag with the grandkids, frisbee golf, running, walking, or anything else that gets your heart rate up for about 20-30 minutes every other day. My husband and I started running 7 weeks ago and just completed our first 5k race this past weekend. I probably could have done it by myself, but it was so much more fun with him by my side the whole time! The best thing about exercise is that it releases endorphins which are natural pain and stress relievers!
3. Drink water. You don’t have to limit yourself to only drinking water, but you should drink a few glasses of water a day. Then you will be well hydrated and able to be active! Treat yourself to a coke, sweet tea or latte from time to time, just be sure to drink more water than pop, etc. everyday!
4. Reward yourself. So you’ve been eating healthy and working out all week. Why not go out for dessert with your BFF to celebrate?
The reason this is a sustainable diet is because you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything really. Just remember to limit your intake of “bad” for your foods and up the intake of the “good” ones. I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but these are the things that have helped me and my husband get our health in check the over the last few months. They are choices we make everyday and some days go better than others. Overall though, we make the healthier choices and our bodies thank us for it by giving us more energy and happy endorphins. :)
Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sustained, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diet
Endorphins info: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001