Our bodies are like gas tanks. When you "fill up," there's nowhere else for the fuel to go. The overflow of calories in your body can't convert into energy, so it ends up settling in as fat. But it's not good for your body to run on "empty" either. It's a delicate balance.
Rather than following a particular diet, look at the bigger picture. Think about the nutrients your body needs to give you more energy, fight off disease and give you a general feeling of well-being. Ask yourself, "What is the most nourishing choice for my body at this time?"
If you are in the habit of "over-fueling" your body, simple lifestyle changes in calorie consumption are the key to preventing obesity and other illness.
Pay attention to what you eat, and you'll feel satisfied with less food. Your stomach is the size of your fist. Use that as a visual to determine portion size. Reactivate your internal sensor that tells you when you're full.
Here are some healthy eating tips you can try right away:
- Eat lean meats, and keep the portion to the size of a deck of cards.
- Keep a food diary—it helps control overeating and helps you be more mindful of your choices.
- Cut up vegetables for snacking when you get home from the grocery or when you are in the kitchen prepping for another meal. Use these as your grab–and-go foods.
- Avoid mindless munching in front of the TV or computer.
- Use an 8- to 10-inch standard dinner plate or smaller.
- Store tempting foods and snacks out of sight or don't buy them at all.
- Bake or grill your meats instead of frying.
- Put salad dressing on the side and dip your fork as you eat.
- Cut out breads, rolls and crackers, especially when eating out.
- Eat whole grains.
- Substitute high-calorie sodas with six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Divide restaurant portions in half and take the rest home.
Think "from the earth" and moderation. And don't let yourself get discouraged. With time, eating fewer calories will become part of your lifestyle, and you'll be able to maintain a healthy weight.