Ever heard the phrase “You are what you eat”? Bearing in mind that the “what” comprises both the “how” and “when” of what we feed on, I am sure you will agree that if we scrutinised a snapshot of our regular nourishment and eating habits, the disclosure would be somewhat sobering at best, and staggering at worst. The computer geeks call it “Garbage In, Garbage Out”… so I ask: what do YOU eat?
Healthy eating can mean different things to different people, but in the simplest of terms, it is eating the right quantity of food, in the right proportion, at the right time, consistently. It has nothing to do with conventional dieting, however eating a balanced diet at every mealtime will ensure that you lose and keep off those excess pounds safely and for longer. “A balanced diet at every mealtime?” I can almost hear the murmurings! The idea immediately opens up a can of worms most times, because the whole concept of getting the right balance in taste, essential nutrients and calorie intake every single time is fast becoming a science on its own, and with our busy lifestyles versus the time it sometimes takes to make these ideal balanced meals, there is little wonder why we have all in one way or the other opted for the easier ways out – from skipping a meal, to taking the fast food or take away option, in the hope that if we just added a bit of salad to the mix, then that should do the trick.
The complexities that come with trying to eat healthy are real no doubt, but it still is more of a necessity than it is an option really, to feed our bodies and our families well. After all, we are what we eat, and on the longer term, a healthy body has more sustained levels of energy, is well toned and makes less frequent trips to the doctors. Plus, if we could possibly demystify it and break the concept down a bit, such that the complexity starts to look that much more attainable, enough for you to give it a second take, then I just might achieve my aim here of helping some to begin to see, and others to reinforce their persuasions that healthy eating is actually attractive, if only for the dividends it promises to give back to you in your health, as well as actually saving you time and money!
So, “How do I make the necessary changes to my eating habits?” did I hear you ask!
1. Decide on the regularity of your meals
The main variations here are 3 full meals a day with a snack or 2 in between or 5 smaller meals a day. Remember, all your meals must be balanced, so I quickly stuck with 3 meals a day in my case; 2 less meals to worry about.
2. Decide on the time
It is best to get breakfast in by 8am and dinner down no later than 8pm. Hmmm… I know this appears hard enough to achieve, but if you keep the 12 hour clock as a guide, and do everything possible to ensure you are done with breakfast by 10am at the very latest, you should be able to manage dinner by 10pm at the worst, and opt for a light meal, or for lesser portions without compromising on the nutrient balance, considering the ‘lateness’ of the meal, if this is the way it works for you. An earlier dinner is better no doubt, but eating well, regularly and consistently, is by far more important for your overall, health and wellness.
3. Ensure you do not miss any meal
The biggest victim here is breakfast and I perhaps was the vilest offender! Too busy to sit down to eat in the morning or simply not hungry enough for it on other occasions, so you tell yourself: “let’s just coast till midday and then it would be time for lunch”… does this sound familiar? Do not skip your meals, particularly breakfast. It is scientifically proven to be the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your body’s metabolism, and as long as you are regularly eating what your body needs (not what you crave!), then that process gets to function optimally all day long, making sure that only what is necessary is what gets used up and stored where needed, and that the toxins, waste and any excesses get completely expelled promptly. Although it is just breakfast, it has to be balanced, so a bowl of cereal alone won’t cut the deal, even if you added dried fruits and nuts! It might just have the RDA* but you definitely need supplements to up those levels, to ensure the body gets all the nutrients required for it to function properly. So, be a lot more generous and get a good helping of protein, fibres, vitamins and minerals and non-saturated fats to fully compliment the simple carbohydrates and high levels of refined sugar that characterise a typical cereal breakfast – i.e. wholegrain bread for toast (with a good healthy spread) and semi-skimmed or (even better) soya milk in your cereal, along with a glass of pure fruit juice is a nice combination and good breakfast option.
4. Keep yourself fully hydrated
Did you know your body needs 35ml of water for every kilogram of body weight? The right water levels in the body assist the on-going detoxing process that occurs in a well-nourished body. As a rule, 2 litres of water a day is a great starting point. I drink so much of it now; I cannot understand what my phobia or near taboo of the good (and natural) stuff ever was!
If scrutinising what you eat actually reveals that your meals are mostly indulgent and /or irregular, then you definitely need to overhaul your nutrition towards healthy eating. It will require a heartfelt commitment and strict discipline but the rewards will be all yours. Remember, “You are what you eat”, so if you eat well you will be well!