By Machila Dennis-Mohler, Choose Healthy Eating First, Owner,
Sisters Tri-ing Nutritionist
What is being and eating healthy all about? Does living a healthy lifestyle mean you have to cut out all comfort foods? Must you exercise 5-to-7 days a week ? Must you follow the latest “new” diet/lifestyle trend to lose those final pounds?
If you have ever been on a quest to be healthy or change your lifestyle, these are some of the questions you might have asked. Living a healthy lifestyle takes time and commitment. The change can be simple as significantly reducing butter from all foods, cutting back on sugary drinks and sweets, using leaner cuts of meat or adding more fish to your diet.
Or it can be as complicated as embarking on a “clean” eating strategy that requires a lot of research and tracking of almost everything you eat.
You must identify what works for you.
Then there’s exercise. Our bodies need to move every day. It doesn’t have to be a 5-mile run or a 2-hour workout in the gym. It can be playing 30 minutes with your children or taking a walk.
There are three basic principles that we should all follow to keep our bodies healthy: variety, moderation and balance¹. Whether you’re a seasoned tri-athlete or a beginner training for a 5k, these principles are for you.
The first is keeping a variety of food. No one food group has all essential nutrients your body needs. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan you have to make sure your body is receiving enough protein to help maintain and build muscle. Since you’re not eating meat, add tofu or legumes to your diet.
Moderation is the easiest yet hardest principle to follow (for some people). You’re eating something delicious, and you know you should stop because you’re full. Yet you eat past the point of comfortable to uncomfortable and then feel miserable–physically and psychologically. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full. The key is listening to your body to help your brain know when to stop!
The last principle is balance. When it comes to eating, it means that you achieve the proper levels of essential nutrients, as well as manage your caloric intake and energy expenditure.
If you want to lose a little weight or tone up, for instance, you need to make the necessary adjustments in your eating and exercise to reach your goal. In short, you need to find he right balance.
Adapting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. Once you make up in your mind to make change, stick with it and don’t turn back.
“Eat breakfast like a King/Queen, lunch like a Prince/Princess and dinner like a Pauper.”
Machila Dennis-Mohler is a nutritionist and chef. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, she pursued an education in the field of nutrition. She loves converting unhealthy recipes into tasty, slimmed-down versions. She provides nutrition information and recipes on her blog newhealthychef.blogspot.com.
¹Coleman, Ellen and Suzanne Nelson. Ultimate Sports Nutrition. 2000.