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I did a lot of thinking the last week about what it really takes to change and stick to a lifestyle change of healthier eating. Of course it takes dedication, change and breaking habits and/or beliefs about food. However if you want it to truly be a lifestyle change then for most, deprivation cannot be a part of healthier eating. In life sometimes you are going to want a treat such as ice cream, potato chips, fried calamari, chicken wings, etc. and of course you should be able to eat them (in moderation) and you can. This is why it's better to call it healthy eating and or lifestyle change because it has to be real and doable for a lifetime. Diets don't work forever nor do they make us feel fully satisfied when we are on them. As soon as I think of the word diet I hear deprivation.
Eat within your calorie range and the affects of sugar
Of course if you want to lose weight you need to stick to a certain calorie range and sometimes adding these things in or substituting snacks is fine. Here's the only thing you need to be aware of when eating healthier to lose weight when adding in sugary or white flour snacks or foods – white flour and sugar consist of carbohydrates called sugars and starches. What happens when you consume these types of foods is they tend to metabolize at a different rate thus raising your blood sugar levels. I've read and studied over and over again that foods with a higher fiber take a longer time to digest and release glucose into your bloodstream at a more gradual rate. When you eat foods high in sugars and white flour products such as candy, cake or pastas (just to name a few), your blood sugar goes up and your pancreas releases insulin to help metabolize the carbohydrates and level out your glucose level; glucose is quickly released into your bloodstream causing spikes in the blood sugar. My best way to explain it as simply as possible is this tends to cause you to feel hungry and crave more sugars and white flours. This is when we sometimes feel as if we are never satisfied.
Chance of gaining weight
The problem is because these foods cause you to crave more of the same foods there is definitely a chance of gaining weight or not sticking to a healthy eating plan. Also constant intake of these foods is not good for your health since they can cause diabetes or if you already have diabetes make it worse.
Carbohydrates, however, are what provide the energy your brain and body need. Of course complex carbohydrates are the better choice; whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, etc. Simple carbohydrates every now and then are okay but know they will affect your body when you eat them.
I do not believe in depriving myself but I also do my best to eat healthfully most of the time. At one time I found it much easier to have a treat day. My treat day was Sunday and I would eat anything I wanted on that day within reason – but I changed that. I now allow myself a treat when I desire it but in moderation and I do count it into my daily intake. I do not eat it above and beyond my calories. Some are able to eat the 100 calorie snacks and be happy with that and although they are white flour or sugars, you need to do what works for you to lose weight or retain and still live happily and satisfied. It's not as healthy for your body or brain but sometimes it takes time to get to a place of going totally healthy, if ever. They certainly have much healthier snacks on the market these days also.
We all function differently. I know people who can stay away from all simple carbohydrates all the time; I am not one of those people. I need my indulgences every now and then and I am okay with that. If you are someone who didn't eat healthy and now you do and you have your sweets every now and then, if it's going to keep you eating healthfully most of the time then it's a wonderful thing. Just be aware of what it does to your body.
Also, if you are eating healthy regularly and you do have a treat day you will feel it the next day. The reason I decided to write this article is because last week I had a few extra treats and the following I felt the difference. I was sluggish upon waking up, my stomach was not feeling great and I just felt heavy. I rarely if ever feel that way and never when I eat healthfully. So while I'm saying we are human and of course it's okay, (unless you are advised by a doctor to stay away from sugars) I'm also giving you the 'bad' and what you can expect. Be healthy, be smart, allow yourself to be human!
All in all my Fab40 friends...we are human and it’s okay to indulge just know you may not feel as well the next day and know what it is doing to your body. It’s not going to stop me from having my treats but I am more aware and it seems year after year my eating habits get better and better. I definitely eat different than I did in my thirties and definitely, definitely since my 20’s. I’m sure in my 50’s I’ll eat even healthier. Hey I just thought of something...what happens when we are in our 50’s ??? Can we no longer be on this site? LOL
Over the years I’ve studied nutrition and healthy lifestyle/eating and these are some things I’ve read and things that work/worked for me for living a healthier lifestyle.
Are you ready to make some small changes this year to be healthier and fitter? It's amazing how sometimes just making small changes can make a significant difference in so many areas of our life. By making these small changes we can have more energy, possibly less weight and/or body fat and better health. You know how I feel about resolutions so these aren't resolutions; most resolutions get broken; this is just some new health and fitness thoughts we can all incorporate into our lives if we haven't already. A new year/a new you!!!! Why wait to start getting healthy?
Water is number one on the list. Not only is it necessary to drink water to keep your body properly hydrated but it helps to get rid of toxins in the body enabling you to feel healthier. It has been said over and over again water helps to aid in weight loss. When we are dehydrated that prevents our fat burning. Our muscles also need to be lubricated. If you are taking in more fiber when embarking on a healthier eating plan you also need more water because the fiber needs to be lubricated.
In order for me to take in enough water during my day I start off with a bottle or glass upon wakening. Right now while typing this at 7:00am I am drinking my 16.9 oz bottle of water; then I allow myself the tea/coffee or any other beverage.
Next is Green Tea. Though I haven't added this in yet there are so many wonderful things being said about Green Tea for quite a while now. In 1994, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent.University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol. I will soon be adding a cup or two a week into my new healthy lifestyle.
Freshly squeezed juices. From Jack LaLanne to other well known experts and stars it's been said freshly squeezed 100% juice is the best. I know individuals with different illnesses who started juicing to prevent or to aid in wellness. Most switch to organic fruits as it is said to be better for a healthy immune system. I haven't squeezed my own juice in years but I just bought some beautiful Ruby Red Grapefruit and I am going to start this week. YUM!
Fruit instead of dessert. If you normally eat junk foods at dessert time replace them with fruit.
Veggies, Veggies, Veggies. Add veggies to each meal; not only do they fill you up but they are good for you, too. I find I am full longer and eat less when I add veggies to each meal. My favorite is cauliflower. Spinach fills me up the most.
Eat less sugar. Sugar contributes to eating more sugar, mood swings, and many other changes in your body. Do your best to eat less. Of course be very very careful with artificial sweeteners. Stevia is said to be the best substitute but that's a whole other article to be written.
Eat more whole grains. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains.
Whole grains include breads and Cereals, Oatmeal, Bulgar, Whole Rye, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Millet and the list goes on and on.
Working out – If you are someone who needs to do things with others:
Get a workout buddy; go to the gym with them, do a DVD at home or take a walk together. A buddy can add variety to the work out and also be someone to encourage you and for you to encourage. I sometimes enjoy talking to a good friend on the phone while we are both walking individually in our separate home towns.
Hire a personal trainer. Be sure if you hire a trainer to let them know if you want to start out slowly so you don't overdo it from the start and you want to keep going back. Also let them know if you like variety so you don't get bored. Most trainers are open to hear what you need from them in order to make it a better lifestyle change for you. A personal trainer worked for me in the past and I am a certified personal trainer so I totally believe in it if you need to be accountable to someone.
These are just a few of the things I am doing to be healthier this year. I hope you'll join me on continuing my journey to a healthier lifestyle.