(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
5 Beginners Tips For a Healthy Lifestyle
By Natalie Baugh
Spring is in full bloom and summer is right around the corner. Right about now is when the commercial adds start coming out promoting how to get that “quick summer bod”, and “how to loose weight fast”. The dieting industry is currently a multi-million dollar industry world-wide. It is constantly in the media, making the fad diets sound appealing, while dieting industries continue to increase their revenue.
Once a person adopts a specific diet, it almost becomes like their religion. They will do whatever it takes to stand up for the diet they are on, as well as “preach” about it to all of those around them. Many diets have come and gone over the years, such as the paleo diet, juicing, fasting, and the ketone diet. Each one promising to help you loose weight fast. While fad diets may sound appealing, time and time again, research shows that dieting simply does not work. While people may loose weight initially, research indicates that most gain the weight quickly back, if not even additional weight thereafter. So what is one to do? Just ignore health all together and lives off Smores Pop Tarts the rest of your life? While that does sound appealing, living a healthy lifestyle is actually not as hard as most make it out to be. Here are a few quick tips about how to start living a healthy lifestyle.
Educate yourself! It is extremely important to thoroughly educate yourself concerning any changes to your diet. If you make any changes to your diet, ALWAYS consult professional advice first. These changes can be anywhere as simple as eliminating one single food from your diet, to eliminating a whole food group. Anytime one eliminates certain foods from their diet, it may cause harmful, if not deadly affects to the body. People that are on extreme diet fads do not realize the possible harm they may be causing their body. Most dieters, diet without medical supervision. God made our bodies so intricately, and provided specific foods for our bodies to remain healthy. If we eliminate any of these major foods, it may have lasting detrimental affects to our bodies.
While many are quick to call themselves “nutritionists”, few actually have the correct schooling and education to give sound advice. Social media can be a dangerous platform to give those a voice who act like they know what they are talking about, when they truly have no idea. Scary enough, one does not even need a certificate to call themselves a “nutritionist”. Many companies take in young people, “train them” according to their company’s beliefs, and push them to have a loud voice over social media. The diehard dieters often also retain most of their information from Dr. Google, reading blogs about their diets and automatically accepting what they say as fact. Sadly, much of what is conveyed by the uneducated nutritionists is incorrect and not supported by science. This leaves the public confused, and most often also hungry. Be weary of those who call for extreme changes in your diet!
Good medical professionals that have been thoroughly educated to give sound advice are Registered Dietitians. Registered Dietitians go through at least seven years of schooling in order to correctly advise on specific diets. Some doctors also have specific training in Nutrition to be able to give thorough nutrition advice. If you do need to be on a specific diet, for medical reasons or howbeit, make sure to have continual check ups with your primary physician. They will be able to check your lab work and assure that you are not falling deficient in any areas.
- Protect Your Mind
Believe it or not, the food we eat is extremely connected to our psyche. What if I told you that you can eat whatever you want, and still live a healthy lifestyle? Many would say that statement is too good to be true! Yet the sad reality is, that statement is how we should be living our lives.
The food we eat has a direct impact on our emotions, our eating habits and how we feel about ourselves. As mentioned prior, many who join extreme dieting fads participate in what is known as “YOYO” dieting. This is where one diets, looses weight, gains back all the weight (if not more) and then diets again. It becomes a vicious cycle and has shown to lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, chronic diseases and low self-esteem. Studies show that if one wants to become obese later in life, then they should start dieting at a younger age. Research also shows that the most sustainable diet is knowing how to eat in moderation.
- Listen To Your Body
In 2012, Evelyn Tribole (A Registered Dietitian) came out with a book that revolutionized the dieting industry. Her solution? Do not diet. She thoroughly explains how dieting causes psychological damage and creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead, she preached a concept that is known as “Intuitive Eating,” which is the practice of listening to your body’s social cues. She explains how our bodies naturally tell us when we are hungry and tell us when we are full. However, many people suppress these natural hunger indicators to follow their specific diet. If you continually tell yourself, “Do not eat a brownie, do eat a brownie, do not eat a brownie.” What is the one thing you will crave the most? A brownie. This is because you have intentionally deprived yourself of a specific food, causing the brain to then obsess over this one food. This leads to a concept known as deprivation and feasting. This is where one is deprived of the food for so long that they then binge on that food. Such binging can lead to depression and guilt.
What is a better solution? Educate yourself, and take a bite of the brownie. If one is educated and knows which foods are healthier and which foods are not as healthy, then they will be able to make smart decisions to know how much of which foods they should eat. This is where the concept, “everything in moderation” comes in. Guilt should never ever be associated with food. You should never feel guilty for eating something, such as a brownie. Yet, you can practice eating wisely. Living a healthy lifestyle is knowing how to be smart, and how to feed your body the best nutrients you can so that it may perform optimally.
- Make It Colorful
God designed our food to look pretty! Every different color food is high in different nutrients. There are five major food groups that should be included in your meals and they include: protein, carbohydrates, fats, fruits and vegetables. Making sure that your plate is well balanced between these five will help make sure your body is receiving all of the nutrients that it needs to. Eating a variety of each food group is important as well. There is no one food that has all of the nutrients that we need. Our bodies need a variety of foods in order to remain healthy. Also, always be willing to try new foods, even if you previously thought you did not like it! You may surprise yourself. Our bodies are made to be continually nourished throughout the day. Studies show that people who deprive their bodies of food for a long period of time, and then feast later on, causes slowing to the digestive system which leads to weight gain and other chronic diseases. Remember that it is okay to give your body the fuel it needs, so that you are able to be your best self! A car is unable to run without gas. You are also unable to function without food. See food as your secret weapon to further bettering yourself in your life. Correct brain fuel will only help you achieve your goals faster!
- Be Comfortable In How God Made You
God made each of us so different and beautiful. Contrary to what the media likes to indicate, there is no one specific “look” that portrays beauty. The reason why so many people who have deep insecurities have unhealthy relationships with food is because what they eat is something they can control. Thus, if one person is unsatisfied with their body, they are able to extremely deprive or over supply their body of nutrients, leading to serious health consequences. To fix an unhealthy relationship with food, one must first go to the source problem and determine what inward problem is causing the unhealthy relationship. Personally, I struggled with this when I was younger. After being bullied for my weight when I was little, I went through a period of time where I unhealthily restricted my body from food due to extreme body dismorphia. I needed to come to the realization that I was beautiful already to God, and that He perfectly designed my body to be how it should be. Only then was I able to overcome my unhealthy relationship with food and start correctly nourishing my body. Please know that you are so loved by Jesus, and that He created you perfectly in His image. That means that whether you are short, tall, large or small, you are beautiful! And just how God designed you to be.
Eller, G. M. (2014) On fat oppression. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. Vol. 24. Iss. 3 pp. 219-45.
Garcia, R. (2016) Transtheoretical model key constructs applied to the intervention and treatment of weight cycling and yoyo dieting: cognitive-affective bases of health for weight management. International ournal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Vol. 3(3)
Nicolette, A. (2004) Nutrition: why crash dieting does not work. Dance Australia. P. 26.
Ogden, J (2010) The psychology of eating: from healthy to disordered behavior.
Tribole, E. (2012) Intuitive eating. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.