Cheating – on your taxes, on a test, on your partner – is just plain wrong. And chances are, even if you were to consider cheating, you probably wouldn’t ask for permission from your accountant or your teacher…or your mate. So why are people always asking me if it’s “okay to cheat” on their diet? Does it feel “good” to be “bad”? Do they want to place the blame on my shoulders if their cheating doesn’t lead to weight loss? Or are they simply saying, “I just can’t be this strict with myself every single day – I need a break!”
Posts tagged: eating healthy
January is all about resolutions and “turning over a new leaf”. So all this month, we’re talking about the big nutritional benefits you can get from making just a few small changes. Now let’s take a look at ways you can start to eat less without leaving your tummy grumbling.
We started with little adjustments you can make when you’re buying food, and in the last post I suggested some ways in which you could make changes in the way you prepare your foods to shave calories and make them healthier. You might already be reaping some benefits if you’ve been trying to make these changes – and you may even be thinking that there isn’t a whole lot more tweaking you can do. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but a little fine-tuning in the way your foods are served can also affect your food intake, too.
Now that the holidays are solidly behind us, the reality of those New Year’s promises we made to ourselves are starting to settle in. Many of us start out the New Year with big plans for big changes…which is why all this month we’re focusing on the ‘little things’. That’s because small steps – taken together – can add up to big results, and are often easier to handle than huge sweeping changes that can be unsettling. In the last post, I made some suggestions for small changes you can make at the grocery store – that is, after all, where the path to healthy eating begins. But now that you’ve brought your healthy ingredients into the house, you want to make sure to keep them that way when it’s time to cook. And with just a few small changes, you can make every dish you prepare at home a little bit better for you.
You’re not hungry but you eat anyway:
Life and calorie control would be a whole lot easier if we only ate when we were truly hungry. Then it would simply be a biological drive that needed to be satisfied – like downing a glass of water when your throat is parched. It’s the rare person who doesn’t eat for reasons other than hunger – most of us find ourselves doing it from time to time. Read more »
If you’ve read any reports about how a struggling economy can affect your health, most of them are pretty negative. What’s usually mentioned is that when money is tight, people spend less on pricier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, they cancel gym memberships, or they may turn to high calorie comfort foods or drink more alcohol. And if they dine out at all, it’s more likely to be less expensive – and usually less healthy – fast food. So it got me to thinking, are there some lessons we can learn about how to save money and still be healthy? Read more »
A couple of weeks ago, I posted my top 10 resolutions for a healthier 2012. Maybe you’re already doing many of the things on the list – in which case your list of resolutions will look a little different from mine. But as you’re thinking about your own health and fitness goals for the upcoming year, I’d like to add a few words of encouragement – with some thoughts on how you can make promises to yourself that you can actually keep. Read more »
People often ask me if there are certain foods that they should – or shouldn’t – eat at the same time. Some people have heard, for example, that “if you don’t eat proteins and carbs at the same meal, you’ll lose weight” – but a study published about ten years ago1 debunked that idea. On the other hand, there is another concept around ‘food combining’– sometimes called food synergy – which recognizes that certain foods offer bit more nutritional benefit when eaten together than if you eat them separately. Think of it as a nutritional ‘one and one makes three’.
- Colorful veggies with a little fat. Many fruits and vegetables contain compounds called carotenoids – natural pigments that give foods like tomatoes, carrots and spinach their beautiful hues – from the pigments lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein, respectively. Carotenoids function as antioxidants in the body, which is one reason why fruits and vegetables are such an important part of a healthy diet. But if you eat your veggies with a little bit of fat, your body is able to take up more carotenoids. So adding some healthy fat from avocado or olive oil to your salad will help you absorb the lutein from the romaine lettuce, the beta-carotene from the carrots, and the lycopene from the tomatoes.
When it comes to eating well and exercising, Americans seem to be pretty good at “talking the talk”. Most of us claim that we’re taking in less fat, sugar and red meat, that we’re eating more fruits and veggies, and that we’re exercising regularly. But when it comes to actually “walking the walk”, it’s a different story. There seems to be a big gap between the number of people who intend to engage in these healthy behaviors and the number who actually do. And that seems to suggest that knowledge alone isn’t enough when it comes to adopting healthy behaviors – just because we know what we should be doing, doesn’t mean we actually will.
A few months back, the results of a survey1 were released by a market research firm that’s been tracking the eating behaviors of millions of Americans for over 30 years. The survey presented adults with a series of statements related to nutrition and healthy lifestyle behaviors – things like, “I exercise regularly” or “I limit my sugar intake”. The participants were then asked two things – how often they actually followed these behaviors over the previous twelve months, and how often in the next year they expected to.
It looks as if the obesity crisis in America isn’t going away any time soon. In its sixth annual state-by-state survey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently reported that the incidence of obesity among adults has doubled – or nearly so – in 17 of the 50 states over the last 15 years. What’s even more staggering is that 20 years ago, not one state reported an obesity rate higher than 15% – now, obesity incidence tops 15% of the population in all 50 states.
Yes, we’re not as active as we should be, and we eat too much – but why has our calorie intake gone up so much in recent years? High calorie foods, bigger portions, and more frequent eating contribute, to be sure – but a recent study1 attempted to tease out which of these factors have contributed most to America’s problem with girth control.
Last week, a friend was telling me that he’d eaten a huge serving of a delicious end-of-the-summer watermelon the evening before. Afterwards, he got to thinking – did he overdo it? Can you, in fact, eat too much of what’s good for you?
I get asked this a lot, particularly when it comes to fruit. Depending on what it is you’re concerned about, the answer could be yes or no. If you’re worried about eating “too much sugar” from fruit, then I’d say the concern is unwarranted. Yes, fruit is sweet from the natural sugar it contains, but it’s also packaged up with vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of healthy phytonutrients that act as antioxidants. And, you’re probably not getting nearly as much sugar as you think – you’d need to eat a quarter of a large watermelon to match the sugar in a medium-sized soft drink. That’s a lot of melon.
One of the biggest complaints people have about eating healthily is the perception that it requires more hours in the kitchen to prepare nutritious meals. But there are so many convenience items available now that preparing healthy meals is a snap.
For protein, you can buy fish or poultry that’s already seasoned and ready for quick grilling or frozen pre-cooked shrimp that can be tossed with some pasta and veggies for a quick dish. And don’t overlook canned tuna, salmon or chicken breast that can be added to salad greens, rice dishes or soups.