Have you ever tried to lose weight by fasting, drastically reducing calories or omitting entire food groups? Many of us have. Sadly, even those who exert tremendous effort and do experience significant weight loss, may find that the body will return to its prior set point, unless lasting and meaningful dietary changes are made to help keep that weight off.
Eating Well for Life
Elimination of food groups or starving ourselves can result in feelings of deprivation and rebound binging. Rather, a few key elements can help you find a healthful balance in your life. Focus on simple lasting and meaningful changes:
- Obtain nutrients from balance between all food groups
- Eat with realistic portions, stop when you are full
Enjoy indulgences mindfully; be aware of them, enjoy them, but limit them.
Tips for Good Choices within Food Groups
With regard to food choices, our bodies rely upon nutrients from all of the food groups. Of course, the proportion of each, and specific choices made within each group, do matter. Get started with these tips in each of the following categories.
- Vegetables – As one of our lowest calorie and most nutritious food options, including vegetables of all kinds in your diet is ideal. Aim for those with naturally vivid colors and roughage to get a whole host of powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Limit those soaked with oils or battered and fried to maximize their goodness.
- Fruits – Full of fiber and nutritious goodness, fresh fruit is tough to beat. Be leery of fruit that is packed with syrups or frozen with sugars as they can provide additional unwanted calories.
- Whole grains – Aim for half of your grains from whole grains. Swap out the refined grains in your carb choices (i.e. bread, pasta, rice, cereals, cookies, etc) in favor of “whole grains.” Looking for “Made from whole grains” on the product label.
- Protein – Lean proteins and plant base proteins are on-trend for a healthier you and for the sustainability of food production across our planet. Consider swapping out your regular choices to include a variety of fish and seafood, poultry, lean beef, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds.
- Fats – While not actually a food group, oils (fats that are liquid at room temperature) offer essential mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and other important nutrients, and still headline as a most important element of the diet.
The trick to maintaining a healthful weight is in making lasting and permanent changes, and not short-lived, drastic efforts. Work toward a better you with realistic changes that you can live with, for life.