Healthy Eating Key Secrets
People get in the habit of eating the same stuff over and over. As immature teens, we often get into a pattern of eating anything that is fast and easy to prepare. For an active teen, this is not usually such a bad thing. What is bad, is the habitual intake of 'nutritionally dense' foods, and then carrying this habit into our more sedentary adult lives.
Many people try to eat healthier and use more veggies and fruits in their cooking, but still do not see any improvement. In many cases, the issue here is that they may be cooking the right types of food, but they are preparing them incorrectly. Sometimes they just have them in the wrong proportions. In the 50's, people were taught that most of your diet should be grains, then veggies, then fruit, then meats. In the 90's this was revised to say that most of your diet should be veggies, then grain, then fruit, then meats. There is some thought now that veggies, then fruit, then grains, then meats Would be the best proportions to eat.
If people are getting into healthier eating, it is usually because they are trying to change their body around. It could be because of health issues, or it could be because they are getting worried about developing health issues. The next logical place to turn to when you are trying to improve health, after food, is exercise. Lots of people plug away at exercise very ineffectively for a period of time and then just give up on it. Usually going away with an attitude that they do not have the genes for a slimmer and healthier body. They are trying to do the right thing, but they have a bad understanding of what exercise can and cannot do for them.
So the big three issues that bar people from a healthier lifestyle are:
1) Habitually eating the wrong food.
2) Not preparing healthy food correctly
3) Not having realistic exercise plans or expectations.
There are two other issues that gets in the way:
a) bad mathematical skills - some people cannot add up the calories and fat they are preparing to consume right now and how that adds to their daily total
b) bad retention skills -- some people cannot remember from snack to snack what they have eaten so far that day.
There have been several studies that prove that when you force an overweight to eat the diet that they admit to eating, they will often lose weight. In any event, the only solution for a) and b) above is just better record keeping on your part. Keeping track of your food intake on paper for a few weeks will make you much better to estimate in your head.
Eating the Wrong Food
We all know that burgers and fries are bad. There two reasons for this: a) a bad mix of grains, meat, fruit and veggies for a healthy meal b) the food is prepared in a way to maximize weight gain. Most people are also unaware that certain types of fruits, although not bad in themselves, are a barrier to reducing weight. In his book The GI Diet
Rick Gallop talks about the types of food that we should be eating to lose weight, and to maintain weight, and what types of food we should avoid altogether. Most people would really be surprised at which healthy foods that he recommends you not eat because of the food cravings that they can generate afterward. There are many other diets such as the Atkins Diet, but the choices there are not nearly so healthy, and the rebound of weight is bad. The GI Diet teaches you about foods in an easy enough way that makes it very easy to develop healthier eating habits. This is a recommended diet for anyone who has trouble with weight.
Bad Food Preparation
For most people, it is not so much what they eat or how much they eat, but it is more about how the food is prepared. Take french fries for instance. Twenty fries have as many calories as a whole large baked potato with sour cream and onions on it. The entire baked potato will fill you up (volumetrics) much more than the fries and take a lot longer to digest, so you do not get the sugar rush.
A good way to prepare potatoes is to cut three potatoes (skin on) into segments similar to roast potatoes, but smaller - about 1" by 3/4" or so. Put this into a plastic bag with two tablespoons of canola oil, a sprinkling of basil, pepper, a pinch of salt, Italian seasoning, and a touch of oregano. Bake this on an open faced pan under a broiler for 20 min or so - turn after 10 min. This is very low fat, no cholesterol, and very filling. If you under-cook them slightly so that they are el dente, they are even better again. This will feed two to three people as a side dish.
Cream sauces are the bane of healthy eating. Bearnaise sauce will usually double or triple the calories of anything it is put on. Other starch based sauces (like gravies) are similar -- stay away from them. Green beans or yellow beans are best served when there is a slight squeak to them when you bite down on them to chew. They are not particular high in calories, but cooking them el dente will make your body expend almost as much energy digesting the food as the energy you get out of it. Prepared this way, they will fill you up but not out.
Exercise Plans and Expectations
Most people have no clue as to how to exercise, or even why to exercise for that matter. It takes almost an hour of strenuous pace on a treadmill before you wear off the calories of a single muffin. So why do it?
The objective of exercise is to improve your cardiovascular health and muscle tone. But do not get discouraged about the comment that it takes an hour to burn off the calories of a single muffin. The true advantage of exercise is that it will tone up your muscles and they will burn more energy -- even when you are doing nothing!!
The other advantage of exercise is to improve your cardiovascular health. This gives you more energy to get through your day. If you have more energy, then you will tend to move more quickly through your daily routine. Moving faster steps up your energy consumption and that in turn helps burn off calories, or at least keep you from gaining weight if you are already fairly trim.
To prove this point, take a look at other people. Notice how much more slowly heavier people move through life. In general they move about 25% slower than trim people. Are they moving slowly because they are heavy? Or are they heavy because they are moving slowly? If you look at the tendency of teens today to just play computer games and snack, you will see that moving slowly (or not at all) tends to lower your metabolism, and that will make you put on weight even if you are not technically overeating.
So if you are going to put in time at a gym to lose weight, it will be twice as effective if you force yourself to hustle through your regular day. If you are going to exercise at all, the minimum you need to go is 3 times a week for about 1.5 hours per session. When you are at your session, you should be into a sweat within 10 minutes and stay that way for the duration. If you are not breaking into a sweat at the gym, then you are kidding yourself that it is helping you lose weight.
The next time you are at a gym, look around and notice what it is that people are doing. The people who are more fit tend to attack their exercises. They exercise at a pace and steady rhythm and go from exercise to exercise with only small amounts of break time in between. Now look at the heavier people at the gym. The ones who are there because they think exercise will make them trim. In general, 75% of the are just going through the motions, and they will fail. They will fail because they do not keep up a rhythm. To exercise effectively for weight loss, you are looking for about 4.5 to 5 hours of intensive exercise a week, over a minimum of three sessions -- 5 is better, coupled with actively hustling through your day to day life.Try to pretend that you are always late for where you are going next, and hustle there as fast as you can walk.
The Final Barrier
The final barrier to losing weight, or to improving your health is attitude. If you are unsuccessful, it is probably because you just do not want to bad enough. In his book Awaken the Giant Within
Tony Robbins stresses that the only way you can break a habit is to teach yourself to hate continuing the habit so much that you will learn to despise your behavior whenever you do it. This internalized sense of revulsion in your behavior is the best policeman you can ever have to stay on the straight and narrow. His book is more focused on habits that get in the way of being successful financially, but he also touches on quitting drinking, smoking, and dieting as examples of unhealthy habits that people can more easily relate to.
This is just one of a series of articles and tips that should help you improve your eating and living habits to ensure a long and healthy life. Please read the rest of the articles provided as well. We will add to them regularly, so please return regularly.
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