All diets, as far as I am concerned are fads and bad for you. We should be adopting a healthy sustainable eating plan that is easy to maintain and follow. It should be a lifestyle. It really is that simple and this is how.
There is a lot of science and research behind food and eating which one could go into. However, I want to keep things easy to understand and user friendly. So here goes:
What is a Diet?
Most people embark on a diet (special course of food) for two reasons –
- To lose weight
- For health reasons
As far as I am concerned there should only be one reason and that is for health. In this case it should be prescribed by a Doctor, Nutritionist or Dietician.
Why don’t Diets work?
- When you restrict calorie intake (food) or cut out a food group (Protein, fat, Carbohydrate), you will lose weight. But you cannot sustain this for a long period of time without compromising your physical and mental health.
- In both above cases, you will not be taking in the required vitamins and minerals needed for normal body functions.
- When you deprive yourself of certain foods it leads to cravings followed by binging and eventually an unhealthy relationship with food.
- As soon as you stop the diet and resume ‘normal’ eating, the fat will pile back on. Leading to yoyo dieting and continued weight gain instead of loss.
- At this stage your self esteem and sense of helplessness and failure is compounded. Not to mention the physical health issues associated with yoyo dieting and weight gain.
- Dieting results in weight loss. We should be striving for fat loss only.
What is a Sustainable Healthy Eating Plan?
It is a lifestyle!
Learning to eat in a manner that will maintain or sustain a healthy weight and overall wellbeing. In other words, Calorie output (energy), equals calorie input (food).
It includes eating from all food groups – Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.
Why will this Eating Plan work?
It is sustainable because it is easy and realistic and it will become a way of life.
As you do not deprive yourself, there will be no need to binge and you wont have cravings.
You will learn to love food and view it as a necessary friend and not an unwanted enemy.
The million dollar question is HOW do you achieve this?
- There is no one size fits all but as a guide, each meal should consist of 20% complex carbs, 20% protein, 10% fats and oils and 50% should be salads and or vegetables.
- Complex carbohydrates are whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, millet and sorghum). Sweet potato, pulses and starchy root vegetables. Carbohydrates are imperative if you exercise. They also provide probiotics for gut health and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Limit fruit to two portions a day.
- Cut out all ‘free’ sugar. This is refined sugar found in sodas, sweets, sauces and processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water
- Cut out refined carbohydrates such as white pasta, white rice, white flour. Bought baked goods, processed foods, ready prepared instant meals, sauces and gravies. This is not a deprivation, it is strictly for health reasons.
- Portion size is paramount. Get used to eating smaller servings if fat loss is your goal.
- Include a variety of foods especially fruit and veg. More ‘colour and snap’. This will ensure your daily requirements of vitamins.
- Read labels. Low fat normally means added sugar and sugar free means added fat. Stick to full fat or cream. If it is low fat it has gone through a process and hence bad for you.
- Stick to this eating plan 80% of the time. There is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time. Just watch those portion sizes.
- An Alkaline Eating plan is essential for your health.
- Eat foods that support GUT health. This will mean that your body will be able to function at an optimal level.
NOTE: The most important thing to add to all of the above is exercise, fresh air, sunshine, mental stimulation and laughter and you will then have the best prescription for overall health that anyone could ever recommend.
So there you have it. The message is, keep it simple, keep it real, keep it healthy and love your food! It is all about moderation and balance. You are now one more step closer to being healthSMART…ish.
Please feel free to Contact me if you want to find out more of the nitty gritty as well as the science behind it all.