What will I eat? What we eat is the largest factor in how well our body functions and our overall health. You have probably heard the saying “trash in and trash out.” Well, that is true of our bodies, as well. Our bodies require fuel to help it function optimally. Nutrition is key. Poor nutrition can deflate even the best workout.
Today’s topic is not a simple one. There are multitudes of diets that are publicized, for example, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Macros, Weight Watchers, and so on. I am not here to validate any of these, rather share the importance of a healthy diet and where to get more information on what that would look like for you.
Let me start by saying that my eating habits are not the best. I like sweets, salty foods, fried foods as much as I do the healthy ones. I will probably not give up eating cake for the rest of my life to reach my weight goal and reach a healthier state of being. However, I can practice moderation, eat more of the good stuff, and occasionally indulge. Ah, the best of both worlds.
Where do we start to improve our diets? We go to a trusted source for information on healthy food. I recommend a few places to get this information.
- The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has a Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html. On this webpage, you will find links to information on nutrition, healthy weight, etc. Take some time to explore. We need to educate ourselves on good nutrition so that we can make healthy choices and not just follow a diet plan blindly.
- The United States Department of Agriculture, choosemyplate.gov, has a wealth of information on nutrition. Check out the “Start Simple With MyPlate.” It provides information on fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and a lot of healthy tips for your diet.
- Local hospital websites – Search the website for a hospital in your community. Once you find their webpage, search nutrition or healthy diet. There often information on links to information on proper nutrition and healthy diet habits.
- Your physician is an excellent source. Talk to him or her about your plans. They have information for you, or can even refer you to a nutritionist. Depending on your health condition and medical coverage, the nutritionist may or may not be at an additional cost to you.
My tips for a healthier diet are:
- Drink up to 4-8 glasses of water per day. There is varying information if 8 glasses is more than or what is needed. However, it will not be harmful to for me drink this amount of water. I will need to work my way up to 8 glasses. Although, it is much easier on days that I exercise. A cold drink of water is so refreshing after a workout. Remember: Good hydration is great for help to eliminate waste from our bodies, cells to function properly, promotes healthy skin, and healthy weight.
- Drink a full glass of water when your first wake up in the morning. Keep bottled water or glass of water handy, if the walk to the kitchen seems too much when you first get up.
- Reduce, not eliminate, salt from my diet. I use Morton’s Light salt.
- Limit sugary sweets to 1 serving 1-2 times a week. This means I can have a cookie on Wednesday and a slice of cake on Sunday. Some weeks, I may only have 1 and possibly none.
- Use a sugar alternative, like Stevia.
- Eating a piece of fruit to curb a sweet craving.
- Adding 1-2 different vegetables to my meals. I love broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, etc.
- Increase my intake of vegetables by adding spinach and carrots to my smoothie.
- Reduce the starches in my diet, e.g. white potatoes, bread, and white rice.
- Eat until I am satisfied, but not full.
- Incorporate healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado.
- Eat a good amount of protein. I will opt for salmon, tuna, chicken breast, and ground turkey, instead of pork and beef.
- Plan meals for myself and my family in advance, so that I can use the leftovers for lunch the next day and avoid making poor food choices if healthy options are not available at home or work (in my prepared lunch).
Please share your thoughts on what helps you maintain a healthy diet or even your diet struggles. We all have them. Some days are better than others. Regardless, we keep striving to consume what is best for our bodies. Don’t expect perfect, but let your passion get you there. Have a Marvalous day!
Many of us judge our personal health by our weight. However, in order to know if our weight is healthy, we must answer the question, what is a healthy weight?
Per the Mayo Clinic, a “healthy weight means that you have the right amount of body fat in relation to your overall body mass. It is a weight that allows you to feel energetic, reduces health risks, helps prevent premature aging (such as worn out joints from carrying around too much weight), and gives you the best quality of life.”1 This is an excellent definition of a healthy weight. There are some key phrases that I want to point out to you:
- “the right amount of body fat”
- “feel energetic”
- “prevents premature aging”
- “best quality of life”
Basically, we do need to have some fat, energy to function, slow the wear and tear on our bodies, and live a best quality life. The next question is what is a healthy weight for you and me?
The Mayo Clinic, like many in the medical community, recommends using your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a better measure of body fat than the weight on the scale which includes, fat, muscle, water, tissue, etc. The Mayo Clinic has made it easy with the use of a chart for you and I to find our current BMI, and with a target BMI of 19-24 to find our goal weight. Click the link to access the chart: Mayo Clinic BMI Chart
Now, that we have a clear picture of where we need to be for our best health, here is some helpful information on our weight:
- The best time to weight is in the morning. If mornings are too hectic, weight yourself at the same time of the day on the days you take your weight.
- Use the same scale to avoid scale variability in sensitivity. Sometimes that difference between the numbers past the decimal point, for example 0.7 and 0.5, may make us feel differently.
- The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends that losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss.2
- Weigh once a week on the same day. Make it a ritual. You may choose to weight yourself more often, but with a healthy goal of 1-2 pounds, you may not see much of a difference on a daily basis.
- Talk to your doctor about your weight to make sure the goals that you set are healthy for you.
As we journey together, incremental improvements will lead to lifelong habits that will keep the weight off and not cause us to rebound. This is a process. We are worth it.
- The Mayo Foundation for Education and Research. 2019. What is your BMI. Accessed on 3/29/2019: http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/eat/what-is-your-bmi?xid=nl_MayoClinicDiet_20160426
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Losing Weight. Accessed on 3/29/2019: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html
Hello to the 5th day! Yes, we are 5 days in on this 30-day journey. Have you made the commitment with me? I have achieved the task each day. As I progress to the next day, I work to maintain what I have already started.
What has been most important to me in this first week is the daily consumption of water. Our bodies need water for our organs to function properly, for the blood in our bodies to flow well to all of our tissues that it feeds with nutrients and oxygen. Some debate on whether water is best warm or cold. My stance is this… Drink it however you like it. The main point is to drink it. I did find that drinking the glass of water before my meals resulted in me eating less. So I did tweak my day #2 on day #3 with drinking water with my meals. I drink a decent amount before the meal and throughout the meal and then end my meal finishing my water. I would actually drink more water that way. This morning, I noticed that y skin was clearer, too.
What can you do you do not like the taste of water? Here are a few suggestions to increase your water consumption without drinking a glass of water:
- Dilute your drinks with water. For example, apple juice mixed 1:1 with water tastes great. Try it!
- Opt for juices instead of sodas or other carbonated drinks.
- Be careful with the sugar content of your drink. Try drinks sweetened with stevia or low glycemic sugar alcohols, e.g. erythritol. My favorites are Bai Strawberry Lemonade, Bai Gimbi Pink Grapefruit, and Vitaminwater Lemonade.
Bai Strawberry Lemonade with a homemade steak burrito. Both were delicious!
- Keep your water cold with an insulated cup or thermos during your workouts. It will taste more like a refreshing treat during your work out.
As for today’s task, plan your meals and add fruit or vegetable to every meal. Here are 2 tip that I use to keep fruits and veggies in my meal options.
- Breakfast: Add a banana or sliced apple to your breakfast or have a breakfast smoothie that contains veggies and fruit. I love a spinach, blueberry, and strawberry smoothie.
- Lunch or Dinner: Including a salad, steamed and reasonably seasoned veggies, e.g broccoli, cauliflower, cooked green beans, or soup with vegetables. Also, I eat more of the vegetables earlier in my meal.
I hope these tips help you, as they do for me. These thirty days are mean to be stress-free and simple ways to improve your health. Modify, as needed to make the small changes in your life that will lead to larger and permanent changes in your health. If you are just joining, use the link below to access the 30-day Healthier Habits Plan.
EM 30 Day Healthy Habit Checklist
The world feels really heavy right now. The stressors of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, racial injustice, discrimination, the economy (personal, local, national, and global), the educational system, and so many more have reminded me of the value of my health and well-being. As they say, “your health is your wealth.” Unhealthy lifestyles and habits are not good for us, especially now. We need to be as healthy, both physically and mentally, as possible, for ourselves, our families, and those we serve in our community or at work. As such, I have decided to take the month of July to put more emphasis on my health. The better I am, the better I can serve my family, those in my community, and at work, and right now they all need me more than ever.
Today, July 1st (Day #1), I am committing to me, my family, and you to improve my health through purposeful actions every day for the next 30 days to strengthen my body, my mind, and my soul.
My plan for today and the next 29 days is available for download at the link below. I am ready to get started! I welcome you to join me.
EM 30 Day Healthy Habit Checklist