Simple Steps to Healthy Eating and Fitness
You don't need any fancy foods, special supplements, or crazy diets to get fit and healthy. What you do need, however, is commitment and a bit of will power. Now don't panic - if you don't have will power, some simple steps can help you flex your willpower muscles from the comfort of your armchair so you can get fit and healthy in no time at all.
Eat Normal Foods
Crazy diets don't work. The human body was made to consume normal, healthy foods. The closer foods are to their natural state, the better.
Consume the following foods daily:
Fruits: any and all fruits are good for you. Choose whatever is in season. Shop at your local grocery store. We only buy what's on sale, whether it's peaches and plums during summer or apples in the fall. Buy what you like so you're sure to eat it! Keep most fruits in a bowl on the counter so they're visible, handy, and ripen.
Vegetables: cooked or raw, vegetables should form a large portion of the diet. Again, purchase what's in season and eat what you like. Bagged salads are great for quick meals or side dishes. Same goes for frozen and canned vegetables. They're economical, easy to heat in the microwave, and taste great. If you can, purchase and consume frozen vegetables without added sauces for the healthiest option.
Breads: Breads are tricky, since my research and opinion from years of researching and writing about diet and health point to the fact that most supermarket sold breads are virtually useless, fortified junk products. Buy and consume high fiber and whole wheat if you can, or just cut back the amount of bread you consume. If you will only eat white bread, eat it at only one meal of the day.
Breakfast cereal most often contains lots of calories, chemical fortification, and junk. Okay, so the toys are fun, but after playing with them you're still stuck with a box of cardboard flakes. Best options for breakfast cereals are hot cereals, such as oatmeal or grits, or high fiber cereals.
Protein: Lowest fat choices are chicken and fish, again baked or broiled without added coatings. Beef isn't as bad for you as all the media makes it out to be, but do choose lowest fat cuts and again, bake or broil it, don't char grill or consume huge fast food burgers. Eggs also got a bad reputation but are proving to be healthful.
Nuts, Seeds: Unsalted and raw are fine. Just watch portion sizes.
Water: Water is the beverage of choice for weight loss! Avoid diet colas and all diet drinks. The artificial sweeteners are horrible for your health despite all the safety claims - much research points to all sorts of diseases stemming from them, so avoid them like the plague. Water straight from the tap is just fine. Add a twist of lemon for flavor. If you're transitioning away from soda pop, try fizzy waters and carbonated beverages like seltzer or Perrier for a treat. Tea and coffee are fine too, but watch how much sugar and cream you add.
No matter what you consume, weight loss is always a question of taking in fewer calories than you expend. There are many websites that help you figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Since each pound of body fat consists of 3,500 calories, you must reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day OR expend just a little bit more. Did you know that taking a half hour stroll through the neighborhood can burn up to 200 calories? Even if you hate to exercise, try a little stroll.
Portion sizes do most of us in when it comes to weight loss. Since the 1970's, portion sizes at restaurants have grown to astounding sizes, and now we are accustomed to large portions. If you have to, use a measuring cup and food scale to get a better handle on what a normal portion size looks like. If you're hungry, fill up on vegetables and fruits with a small handful of protein, like nuts or a glass of milk.
Avoid processed, packaged foods. All of them contain tons of chemical preservatives, sweeteners, colors, MSG and other garbage your body doesn't need. You're paying for packaging, marketing and convenience.
If you want to lose weight, these are just general guidelines. I'm six pounds into my own thirty pound weight loss journey and following this advice daily. Simply by cutting back my portions, avoiding all the empty calories from packaged foods, drinking lots of water (from the tap), and not snacking I have lost those six pounds. Good luck!
© 2008 Jeanne Grunert
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