I trust that you took the time yesterday to answer the two questions that I asked you. If not, I encourage you to go back and do so. Your answers are important to keeping you on track.
Today I want to deal with one of the most important factors in becoming healthy and fit: your diet.
How your body is today is a result of 80% diet, 10% exercise, and 10% heredity. So, stop blaming your mom or dad or great-aunt Ruth. They are only responsible for 10% of the problem. 🙂
With these statistics in mind, your main focus in getting healthy and fit should be the food you are eating. Your diet will account for approximately 80% of your weight loss. Your success is dependent upon what you put in your mouth. You’ve got to control what you’re eating and how much water you’re drinking.
This truly makes a difference!!
1 Corinthians 10:31 (CEV) says, “When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.”
Think about that for a moment. Are you honoring God with the food you are eating on a continual basis?
Yesterday, we talked about how ultimately, your body belongs to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:19 (AMP) says, “your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit.”
Is the food that you are regularly putting into your “temple” keeping it healthy or making it sick, tired, overweight, and rundown?
“Food” for thought, huh?
Please understand that I am not against having “fun” foods. I am a mom (just like you) who has kids that love sweets, chips, fries, and other junk. And so do I! But these cannot be the mainstays of our meals.
I believe if you will get to the place where you eat clean, wholesome foods 75-80% of the time, then you can throw in the tasty desserts and other not-so-wholesome foods every once in awhile. So, make that your goal.
Forget Fad Diets!
Before we get to the guidelines for healthy eating, I want take a moment to talk about dieting.
Yes, you can lose weight by limiting carbs, cutting out fat, drinking a “weight loss” supplement,* or counting your “points,” but the weight you lose is only temporary. The moment you go back to your regular eating, you will start gaining the weight back (and most likely, even more than you lost).
What you want is long term results, which require a new way of living and eating.
Any “diet” in which you cut out a specific food group is dangerous. If it restricts you from ingesting nutrients that your body needs, it will be a major roadblock to long term success. Your body needs proteins, carbohydrates and good fats to function at its most effective and efficient capacity.
Diets always restrict you in some form or fashion if you follow the rules. This leaves you feeling deprived, and you’ll find yourself wanting to break free from the “prison” in which you are bound. And that could lead you to overcompensate in calories by binge eating.
Furthermore, diets make you feel constantly hungry. It is normal to feel hunger, especially when lowering your caloric intake, but with diets, it is a physical and psychological feeling. This could lead to you continually feeling unsatisfied and set you up for failure.
Guidelines for Healthy Eating
The following are guidelines and tips that will help you develop the habit of eating healthier and cleaner foods. Remember I am not a nutritionist, but as a fitness coach, I have learned and incorporated them into my family’s eating and we love the results!
First of all remember: clean eating is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. So it will take time to change your habits if you’ve haven’t been eating healthy. Just keep making improvements each day and very soon you’ll find you’re eating clean most of the time!
1. Eat wholesome, healthy foods as close as possible to the way God created them. Think about how certain foods make your body feel. What is in your food? Is it highly processed? full of chemicals? loaded with sugar, fats, or oils?
Start today adding in lots of fresh vegetables, good carbohydrates (fruit, whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, etc.), lean protein (white meats, beans, egg whites, Greek yogurt, etc.), and healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, almonds, etc.) – granted there are no dietary restrictions or medical issues.
Begin eliminating high fat, highly-processed foods, white bread, flour and rice – stop buying them and you won’t be tempted to eat them. It’s okay to enjoy the occasional treat, but the majority of the time you should choose whole foods.
2. Eat several smaller meals a day (5-6). Small meals simply stop hunger (as opposed to filling you up). When you go longer than 3 hours without eating, your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, rise. High cortisol levels signal the body to store fat around the belly. Eating small meals more often will reduce cortisol levels, increase your metabolism, and burn fat.
3. Stick to proper portion control – no super-sizing! Again, you should eat until hunger stops, not until you feel full. (There is a difference!) If you want some tips to help you “eyeball” your portions, click here to read: Fit Tip: Portion Control.
4. If you are wanting to lose weight, you must count your calories. I recommend myfitnesspal.com, but there are plenty of other free online calorie counters out there. It is vitally important to know how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning. To lose 1 pound per week, you will need to create a deficit of 500 calories each day; to lose 2 pounds per week, you will need to create a deficit of 1000 calories each day. When you reach your calorie limit for the day, then stop eating.
5. Stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed. Going to bed on an empty stomach will allow your body to digest the food you ate earlier in the day. It will also allow your metabolism to burn off more calories as you sleep. That way, your body can focus on the much needed task of repairing cells. You will wake up less bloated and well-rested each morning.
6. Eat your favorite foods carefully. Realize that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while! If you eliminate the foods you absolutely love, it will only set you up for failure when you are inevitably tempted. If there is something you crave, then enjoy a small amount of it. But savor those moments rather than woofing the food down!
7. Don’t keep junk food in the house. Avoid regularly buying junk food, then you will be less tempted to eat it. Instead, plan ahead and keep healthy meals, snacks and ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry. This will help curb those cravings and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.
8. Be resourceful and vigilant at restaurants. Most restaurants (even fast-food chains) have healthy alternatives on their menus for patrons to choose from. Choose wisely: grilled instead of fried; limit heavy sauces or creams, be careful with salad dressings, avoid the bread basket, etc.
Remember, food is intended for fuel and pleasure. Don’t set yourself up for failure by completely eliminating the foods you love. Instead, gradually add in healthier, living foods while cutting back on the unhealthy stuff.
Caring for your temple begins by nourishing it properly.
This post is excerpted from my book, A Life That Flourishes. Click on image below to purchase.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.