Healthy Eating – Your Way

generations

Life Is Better Once You Get It

I got a phone call the other day from my good friend Michelle and when I first heard her voice I could tell she was excited.

Michelle and I have known each other forever and in the past we shared the same attitudes about food and dieting except that I was able to break free of the hold while Michelle continued to struggle. Through it all she has been one of my biggest supporters and I have always been there for her.

Turns out that she finally gets it, or at least that’s what she screamed when I answered the phone.

I’ll get back to that story in just a minute, right now I’d like to welcome you to the third and final segment in my reader-inspired series that encourages you to change the way you think about food and yourself.

Part 1 of the series included a weight loss intervention to-do list, and Part 2 covered habits. This segment guides you toward the foods that will help keep you healthy, happy, beautiful, and lean…plus a few delicious recipes and some tips on portion control.

But first, back to the phone call from Michelle.

Ever since the holidays I’ve been eating healthier and I feel better, but every time I step on the scale I want it to move faster. And then it hit me! It’s my portions! I just sat down and looked at my plate and it hit me like a ton of bricks! Why didn’t you ever tell me about portions?

Wait… what?

We talk portions up the wazoo, but I was so excited for her that all I could say was “Oh my gosh! I’m so happy for you! What made the difference”?

She tells me that she bought some plastic portion control containers that she fills with her meal for a perfectly portioned plate. Obviously I’m a little late to the party because I’ve never heard of them but I was so happy for her.

This was her AH-HA moment!

I was heaping on the congratulations and encouragement when she finally said, “I know we talked about it a lot, but I guess I just wasn’t listening or didn’t think it was that important, but now I get it”.

And then she thanked me, and my heart melted even more, because I was thrilled that she finally gets the whole picture and that her life is about to take a wonderful change.

Perfect Timing

Writing isn’t one of my talents and I was struggling a bit with this last segment when her call came, but her enthusiasm and happiness was all I needed to sit down and start banging away at the keyboard because it makes my heart sing when someone gets it.

And it’s okay if it doesn’t happen right away; we all have different means and ways for things to happen, but if you can keep an open mind and think about what makes sense for you, I know that eventually you’ll get it too.

So with all of that being said, lets move on to the good stuff…

Healthiest food

Mom knew what she was doing when she force-fed you those veggies.

From asparagus to turnip greens, and apples to watermelon, most vegetables and fruit by themselves are fruits and veggies downloadloaded with nutrients and low in fat and calories. And a recent study done by the University of London found that eating seven servings or more of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of dying from any cause by 42 percent, compared to eating less than one portion.

And as if that isn’t enough good news, those same fruits and vegetables improve skin tone and prevent wrinkles.

Score!

Of course all fruits and vegetables are good for you, but the ones listed below are ranked at the top and cited in those studies.

  • Blueberries, strawberries, avocado, guavas, kiwi, papaya, apples, oranges, and bananas
  • Kale, spinach, romaine, swiss chard, and mustard greens
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy
  • Peppers, beets, carrots, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • Onions, mushrooms, and garlic.

And here is even more deliciousness. These foods, when eaten as close to their natural state as possible help to keep your body and mind healthy, beautiful, and strong.

  • Lean beef, chicken, and turkey; wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and other wild caught fish
  • Almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax-seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts
  • Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, and lentils
  • Milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese
  • Brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole wheat, buckwheat, millet, and rye
  • Olive, sesame, and canola oil
  • Cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, peppermint, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, saffron, cumin, rosemary, curry

Now I’m no chef…heck I’m not even a prep cook, but I’ve found some great websites and delicious, easy recipes that if I can make, anyone can. And don’t let the label of vegetarian or vegan turn you off because plant based recipes can be delicious.

80/20 Philosophy

Although I’m hooked on healthy now, as a former food addict and sugar junkie I still have my moments, and past dieting experience tells me that denying little indulgences now and then can backfire.

But that’s where the 80/20 Rule comes in.

Making at least 80 percent of what you eat each week healthy and nutritious leaves room for those necessary indulgences, because healthy eating isn’t about following strict nutritional guidelines and feeling deprived; it’s about finding the foods that keep you healthy, happy, beautiful, strong, and lean.

Food Pyramid

I’ve always loved to eat, and portion control was something I was never in control of, but too much of pyramid oldanything isn’t a good thing, so paying attention to portions is important.

Remember the food pyramid? I remember learning about it in health class but unfortunately for me that’s where most of the information stayed. It was discontinued in 2011 and replaced with My Plate. Notice how vegetables are now the largest recommended portion…

I may have never heard of the portion control containers that Michelle used for help, but I’m happy that she found them.

If you have portion problems, finding the right tool or tip to help make the connection for your ah-hamyplate_blue moment could happen at any time, so keep an open mind and consider these:

  • Use a small plate
  • Consider a portion to be the size of your palm
  • Eat your veggies first
  • When eating out, box up half of your entree before you start
  • Eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you’re full
  • Set your utensil down after each bite
  • Visualize the reflection of a happy and trim you.

Doing It Your Way

After decades of dieting and hating myself I finally figured out what I needed to do, and I started by doing exactly what you’re doing right now…becoming informed. Next came trying the tools and tips that made sense, and then becoming aware of the results.

I’ve eaten more vegetables in the last few years than I have in my entire life, and I agree that nothing tastes as good as how healthy and lean feels.

The reason it worked for me is because I did it my way. I took the time to get to know me and my habits, and though starting slow was an option it just wasn’t my style. So I jumped in, gave it all I had and I haven’t looked back since.

Which way would suit you best? Will you take the leap, or make small healthy changes that are just right for you? Whatever you decide, here are some hints for a smoother transition.

Strategize 
This is too important to wing it. Whether you’re clearing out your entire pantry or just making a few small changes you need a plan that you can refer back to. Find recipes, make lists, and create daily menus in advance.

Think fresh
Make the bulk of your diet fresh, real food that you’ll find by shopping the perimeter of the store. Processed food loses nutrients, and their synthetic replacements aren’t the same as the real thing. Plus processed foodpacking snacks usually has added sugar, fat, and oil, to enhance flavor.

Keep it real and keep it fresh.

Snack
Nibbling (not chowing) on healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, crackers and hummus will help you stick to your meal plan.

Stay hydrated
Thirst mimics hunger and dehydration puts stress on your organs, but if that isn’t enough to get you to carry a bottle of water around how about this; even mild dehydration can leave your complexion looking dull, pasty, dry, and wrinkled.

Water people! Lots and lots of water!

Take a walk
It doesn’t matter what you do, just move a little more than you’re moving now.

_________

What are you thinking?

I’m eager to hear the different strategies, and it would be great for the community if you would share. Leave a comment telling us your plan. Are you all in, or are you taking steps? The only right answer is the one that works for you.

If you’d like help forming your strategy take advantage of my 30 Minute Mindset Makeover. Together we’ll find the approach that’s just right for you. And don’t forget to download my free guide 10 Tips to Lose Weight Without Dieting where there are more stories and helpful tools.

Know someone who might find this article interesting? Please pass it along.

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