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Healthy Eating

Diets Don’t Work

Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, depriving yourself of the foods you love or staying unrealistically thin. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and stabilizing your mood.

People who lose even 5 – 10% of their body weight report significant improvement in how they feel, blood pressure readings, and blood sugar levels. Weight loss increases energy levels and stamina, improves mood, reduces joint pain and increases mobility, may reduce the amount of medications needed, and helps with sleep. So what is the secret to attaining a higher level of harmony in our lives?

There is no one weight loss plan that will work for every person.   To be successful, the weight loss plan must be tailored to the individual. The meal plan usually needs to be tweaked several times to achieve the goals of the individual and over time as the individual’s needs change.

So what does work?

The meal plan recommended by the Heart Association to prevent heart disease, the Cancer Society to prevent cancer, and the Diabetes Association to prevent/control diabetes all basically are the same:

Increase consumption of:

  • Fruits and vegetables at all or most meals.
  • Lean protein, including fish 2 times a week .
  • Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado, olives.
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Whole grain breads and cereals.

 

Decrease or eliminate consumption of:

  • Fried foods.
  • Processed meats.
  • Highly salty foods.
  • Highly processed foods.
  • Added sugars.
  • Saturated and trans fats such as bacon, butter, margarine, shortening, mayonnaise, and high fat meats.

People who eat grilled, baked, broiled or poached fish even just once a week have a lower incidence of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

One Last Word

You can lose weight without exercising but it is almost impossible to lose weight by exercise alone. It is, however, much easier to lose weight if you increase physical activity along with the reduced dietary intake. And increased physical activity is essential to maintaining a weight loss.

If you have been inactive for a long time or have health issues, consult your physician before starting any exercise program. For many people, walking 10 – 15 minutes one to two times a day can make a significant improvement in stamina.

Engage the whole family in a program of eating better and moving more. The support structure helps you stay on track.

Want More?

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean Diet are excellent methods for improving dietary intake. Both approaches emphasize whole foods, lean proteins and the good fats. They can be adapted to almost everyone’s food preferences and dietary needs. To learn more, visit:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

http://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov

http://oldways.org

http://www.eatright.org

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