If you are in your early 30′s such as myself, chances are you have spent a few decades completely damaging your body. Some of us rarely drank water. Some of us completely suffocated our digestive system with every type of junk food. Some of us have tortured our arteries with our fatty foods and cholesterol. Some of us have done all of the above.
How do we begin to turn things around? First, let’s understand that to turn around 1 decade, 2 decades, or sometimes 3 decades of bad eating habits is not going to happen in 30, 60, or even 90 days. We need to take the time to rejuvenate and retrain our bodies. We need to give the body what it craves…. satisfaction.
When humans hear the word satisfaction we get very selfish. We dive into the corrupted corners of our brain and mistakenly think what satisfies us is also satisfying our body. This is not the case when it comes to food. The research is out there for us to read and comprehend. “In a study of 38 common foods, researchers found that high-protein and high-fibre foods were much more satisfying than high-fat foods. “ (Readers Digest Canada) Let’s look at the word satisfying again. Why is this important? When your body is satisfied, you will stop eating! If you body is satisfied quicker than before, you have most likely eaten less calories than before. Less calories usually equals weight loss.
Now let’s focus on “less calories” for a moment. Less calories does not mean skipping breakfast. We have all heard 1000 times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, eating breakfast may even assist you in eating LESS calories throughout the day. How does that work? In an article that I found from (www.webmd.com) dated February 11, 2005, researchers found that “healthy women who skipped breakfast for two weeks ate more during the rest of the day, developed higher “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, and were less sensitive to insulin than women who ate breakfast every day”. In this same article, researchers found that women who ate breakfast consumed 100 less calories throughout the day compared to women that did not eat breakfast. So skipping breakfast is sort of the double whammy. We are beginning your day with a lack of energy and to top it all off we are going to eat more calories!
So, what do we eat? Well, if we stick with the high-protein and high-fibre foods we are definitely in the right direction. Now, I know what you are thinking because I am thinking it as well. “Okay, high-protein and high-fibre lunch and a high-protein and high-fibre breakfast.” We have to learn to eat a healthy breakfast as well.
I found a great website at (www.dietriffic.com) and found an article dated March 26, 2008 that talks about 25 healthy breakfast ideas. In the article, 4 things that a healthy breakfast should consist of is listed.
- One serving of a whole grain carbohydrate.
- One serving of calcium containing food.
- One serving of fruit.
- It’s also fine to have a protein serving, for example meat, or an egg, but it’s not necessary for most people.
The article also goes on to list 5 reasons why it is vital to eat an healthy breakfast.
- It kick starts our metabolism – speeding it up, and therefore burning calories rather than storing them.
- It boosts our nutrient intake – breakfast eaters have a lower fat intake, a higher fibre intake, and significantly higher intakes of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, iron and magnesium.
- It helps prevent binge eating – hunger will be better regulated and therefore less calories are consumed from unhealthy foods.
- It improves our memory and concentration – people who eat a healthy breakfast concentrate better, are more efficient, and have improved mood, in comparison to those who skip breakfast.
- Weight maintenance – those who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
Here are a few of the amazing breakfast ideas listed in this article:
- Mixed grain bread with a little almond butter, sliced banana, raisins on top, and a sprinkling of cinnamon; serve with a glass of low fat milk.
- Natural yogurt mixed with a chopped apple, berries, and whole grain cereal; served with 100% whole orange juice.
- Whole wheat English muffin topped with melted reduced fat cheese, a sliced tomato, and a sliced hard-boiled egg; served with a small glass of 100% pure fruit juice.
- Cooked oats topped with raisins, dried cranberries, sliced bananas, and calcium fortified soy milk.
- Brown rice or barley - cook the night before, then in the morning top with some raisins, sliced apple, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a little reduced fat milk.
- Fruit smoothie – add strawberries, kiwi, and a banana to the blender, a cup of natural yoghurt, one teaspoon of ground flaxseeds, and a cup of crushed ice.
If you are a 9 to 5er, lunch is one of those difficult meals to keep healthy. Co-workers always want to eat out for lunch and it is not always the healthiest of places. If we can talk them out of the fast food joints then we can surely find something healthy enough on the menu to help you make it to dinner. We can never go wrong with fresh greens and raw veggies. Reader’s Digest Canada states that greens and raw vegetables like carrots, zucchini and broccoli are remarkably low in calories but high in water and slow-digesting fibre, so they tend to fill us up. We should aim for 5 to 6 servings of greens and raw veggies per day. Another great lunch idea is a bowl of brown rice topped with chickpeas and sautéed vegetables. This meal has few calories, little fat, but enough bulk to keep us full enough to make it to dinner.
A lot of health professionals will tell us that eating 5 small meals per day keeps the metabolism going more efficiently than 3 larger meals per day. Snacks are a great way to squeeze in those 2 additional meals. But what do we snack on? A surefire healthy snack is a handful of nuts, especially natural almonds. Nuts are high in fat, but researchers consider this fat healthy fat. Also we are trying to lose weight, fat is still an essential part of our diet. The healthy fat in nuts helps us feel full and the protein uses of the calories as it digests. This is a great way to help us push through to that next main meal.
When we reach dinner it is important to stick with the program. We need to stop treating dinner as the time to have a celebratory feast to celebrate our days accomplishments. Just like lunch, if we can find something high in protein and high in fibre and satisfying enough that we can eat a smaller portion and be full, we are heading in a direction of success. Soups can help accomplish this feat. Find recipes for healthy soups and make the soup filling, not an appetizer. Adding a little more cornflower to make it thicker and not draining the base vegetables are just a few ways to make soups more filling. Add a nice salad to this dinner and you definitely have a satisfying dinner. Although not as healthy as greens and raw veggies, chicken, fish, and potatoes are all foods high in protein that you want in your diet but are not recommended in vast amounts.
As we research ways to lose weight we should notice that their are very few articles about healthy desserts. There are a few reasons for this. For us who are 30, 40, 50 pounds over weight, staying away from sweet foods for a long period of time may be what we need to cure our cravings. Although you can find sugar free frozen fudge bars and things of that nature, is it adding to our craving for junk or is it helping us eat healthier? Is there anything nutritious in that bar? Secondly, once we reach dessert, if we ate healthy, our bodies are satisfied. That dessert is nothing more than added calories and is forced upon our bodies. Our body doesn’t want it. Our mind just wants it. If we are beginning a new way of eating, maybe we should attempt to take a break from desserts for a long while.
THE SECOND STEP
Once we master the first step, eating right, our bodies will have the necessary energy to master the second step in preparing your body for weight loss; exercise.