Don’t you get overwhelmed with all the stuff you read about diets? I mean, really! Don’t eat carbs, don’t eat meat, eat whatever you want as long as you don’t exceed a given numbers of calories a day, blah, blah, blah. I believe people are different and what works for some doesn’t work for others. I’m not huge on diets. I’m huge on lifestyles. I think eating is something you do to maintain your “machine”. You *must* eat and eat well. So, what follows are my suggestions and you can take from it what you choose.
1) When you want to alter your eating habits, don’t try to do too much at once. That’s the first, most important rule. If you try to do too much, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You want to make a lifestyle change and permanent change takes a little time and effort. A lot of eating habits are just that, habits…and it takes a while to change them. Look at what you need to change and make a strategy for eliminating and changing. Most likely, if you start eating regular meals with healthy snacks (or small “meals” ) in between, keeping your blood sugar level, it will help you resist those unhealthy, processed snacks. One strategy is to do a “food prep” day. My nephew and I were just talking bout making egg/vegetable cups in muffin tins to freeze since I need to eat less fruit (I eat fruit smoothies for breakfast and they’re starting to affect me in a bad way).
2) If you’re a soda junkie, wean yourself off of them. They’re nasty for you. I mean, if you pour a certain soda on meat and it disintegrates or if it removes rust from your bumper, do you REALLY want that to happen to your insides? There’s absolutely nothing good about sodas except as a household or car cleaner, so think of that as you want to grab a soda.
3) Limit drastically your sugar intake. Sugar is super processed. I’ve heard (though not verified) that certain centers of the brain react similarly to sugar, cocaine, and heroin. I can buy into that one. People get addicted to sugar and it can kill you. If you want a sweetener, use natural stuff like honey, maple syrup, or Stevia, but use it in moderation.
4) Eat as little processed food as you can – boxed, canned, frozen, whatever. Exceptions are frozen vegetables and some canned vegetables that don’t contain chemicals on the label. Do some research into those additives. Find out what they are. Eating fresh just takes a little planning.
4)You can find the Mediterranean Diet, Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, Vegetarian diets, and on and on. There is a common thread on most of them — eat lots of fresh vegetables, as organic as you can get them. I am going to suggest one thing – be smart and use common sense.
5) Here may be something that many may dispute strongly, but I’m going out on a limb because I firmly believe it. Stay away from fat free foods, other than skim milk if you want it. I have several reasons for saying this. Mainly, when fat is removed from many foods, it’s replaced by sugar or chemicals. At least with fat you get something honest. I could go into this more, but trying to keep everything short and sweet.
6) Hydrate!! I just heard something on the radio (on NPR, no less!) that said that there was no scientific evidence that says you need 8 cups per day. I’ve been training athletes for over 15 years and all studies I’ve read (and they’ve been extensive) say that, at the least, we need to drink an ounce per 2 lbs of body weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you need 75 oz of water a day. It’s not really a lot. Think about it, your body is mostly water. We lose water simply by breathing! If you wait until your thirsty, you’re already starting to dehydrate. Don’t turn into a prune, drink the water.
That’s it. do your thing. Don’t freak out. Use the basic outline above and go for it. Be sure to eat, don’t starve. That doesn’t help at all.
On top of that, get sleep and spend time playing. Enjoy this life!! It’s the only one you have.