Keeping Fit: Seven Highly Effective Eating Habits | Lifestyles

More than adopting a particular “magic” diet or weight loss program, healthy eating is much more a matter of a few important habits practiced regularly. If you want to change the way your body looks and feels, here are the basic (nutritional) principles behind a successful body transformation.

1. Eat enough protein (at least 15-20 grams at each meal). Lean meats, low-fat dairy products, egg whites, milk or soy products, lentils and beans are all excellent. But most foods, including whole grains and vegetables (even fruits!), contain protein. Protein shakes are also available for added convenience or supplementation if needed to get what you need.

2. Stop eating regularly. A break of 12 hours per 24 hour period is a good minimum (from the last meal of the day until the first meal of the next day). Most men and some women who want to slim down will do even better with a 2-4 hour break (or eating within an 8-10 hour “window” each day).

Alternatively, taking a full break between dinner one day and dinner the next once or twice a week can also work very well. These diet-related “downtimes” promote cellular health, boost immunity, accelerate fat burning, and are likely to prolong life.

3. Eat vegetables and sometimes fruit with every meal. These fibrous, low-calorie, bulky foods let you live out a fantasy – eat all you want, and more than you ever thought you’d eat – and still lose fat! They also provide an amazing range of health-promoting nutrients, so work them up.

4. Eat more whole grains and reduce or avoid products made with white flour and sugar. White flour and sugar, along with vegetable oil (see 5 below), make up more than 60% of most Americans’ calories. Since none of these provide significant nutrients besides calories, they can be eliminated entirely without harming your health. Save them for special occasions or not at all.

5. Watch your fats. Since the Institute of Medicine has stated that there is no safe level of saturated or trans fat intake, we should aim to keep these fats to no more than 5-7% of calories. Instead, use lean or fat-free versions of animal foods. Minimize or avoid all added oils as much as possible. Healthier fats include whole olives, avocados, seeds, and nuts. Also consider oily fish a few times a week, or a DHA supplement, and a tablespoon or two of ground flax seeds each day for healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

6. Focus on whole foods and keep your diet plant-based. Whole foods work synergistically, giving them a greater total health impact than their individual nutrients. So don’t rely too much on supplements to meet your nutritional needs. The health benefits of things like fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phytonutrients, etc., are profound and have more impact when taken as part of a whole plant-based diet than when taken as part of a whole plant-based diet. they are taken as a supplement to a convenience or processed diet.

7. Develop food preparation strategies. Every successful “body transformer” has a plan for their meals and how they will be ready when they need them. They set aside time to pack lunches and snacks, to prepare food ahead of time (like weekends), so they can just grab it during the week, etc.

That’s it! These seven habits, practiced 80-90% of the time (most people treat themselves to a free or “cheated” meal every three days or so), are the basic system you can use to get in shape. Until you really make them work in your life, you really have nothing else to worry about nutritionally.

Many people, regardless of calories, macronutrient ratios (like high carb/low carb), or anything else, will achieve all of their health and fitness goals simply by following these seven habits.

They are so effective.

Action steps

1. Consider the seven habits above. Do you perform all of these steps regularly? Most people don’t, so so few have very good health and optimal weight. Think about the seven habits you don’t have and how you could start incorporating them into your life more regularly.

2. When you successfully develop a new habit from above, focus on developing another, then another, until all seven become your usual routine. Your body will thank you!

Thomas Morrison is a fitness coordinator at the Bradley Wellness Center.

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