What are some of the basic tenets one must follow in order to eat right, stay fit and healthy? Lot of people seek advice from me on this subject since I am a health and fitness fanatic. I am no qualified dietician, however, I have been a lifelong fitness and health enthusiast and have a fairly good understanding of the subject to know what works and what doesn’t as far as diets go. You don’t have to be a dietician to understand the basicsJ
Here are my Ten Commandments that has worked for me and what I preach to others:
- Moderation is the Key: In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. The art of knowing when to stop will allow you to pretty much eat whatever you want; it’s a fool proof method for eating in moderation. E.g. eating about 3 slices of a large pizza should fill up most people’s tummy. But when you go beyond that and have more you are mostly stuffing yourself and that’s what you got to control. Eat a balanced diet, eat in moderation and eat what you want.
- Ditch fancy diets, they are not sustainable: Many of these fancy diets may show some initial results but are not sustainable as they advocate excluding or significantly reducing certain foods. It is natural when you ban certain food groups the craving for that food increases and at some point you will have an urge to binge. This proves counterproductive. So it’s advisable to follow a balanced diet and allow yourself to cheat once or twice a week. The odd burger, Samosa, Pizza a week is not going to do much harm as long as you have been eating healthy throughout the week.
- Eat breakfast and eat smaller meals through the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.
- Don’t eat out too often. Once or twice on the weekends is fine but more than that is a very unhealthy practice. If you do not have a choice and do have to eat out at office cafeteria or restaurants make healthy choices. Go for light meals that do not have fried and oily stuff.
- Load up on Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre.Remember it’s always better to eat fruits and vegetables than have juices. Juices tend to exclude most of the fibre and nutrient content. Fruits are also something you can have on the go or when you are busy at work and unable to have a proper meal.
- Replace snacking on unhealthy things like chips, cookies, chocolates etc. and have nuts or fruits which are healthy and low in calories
- Eat Healthy Carbs and whole grains: Choose healthy carbohydrates, for long lasting energy. They help you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Whereas unhealthy carbs digest quickly and you end up eating more.
- Healthy carbsinclude whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
- Unhealthy carbsare foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fibre, and nutrients.
- Have less processed foods – They are a modern day convenience that cannot be avoided completely. However, don’t go overboard with them. Like having Maggi noddle’s/Cup noodles dailyJ. Try to have as much fresh foods as possible.
- Anything that comes out of a box, packet etc. is processed and loaded with calories. Even the so called foods labelled as “healthy”. E.g. Granola bars are also loaded with added sugars, which digest quickly and don’t satisfy hunger for long. Don’t get fooled by their healthy marketing image, granola bars don’t offer much in the form of good nutrition.
- Drink lots of Water: This is one of the simplest things to do in our diets but usually is the most ignored. Mostly people underestimate the importance of water for overall good health and more importantly its benefits in losing weight. Our brain has a weak mechanism for sensing thirst and often mistakes it for hunger. So the more water you drink, the less you eat. The fewer calories you eat, the more you lose. So drink lots of water. Most estimates say at least 8 glasses (250 ml) of water a day. However, depending on your activity levels this can go up.
Last but not least: Actually there are only nine. Make sure you practice the above nine points diligently and you’ll be fit and fine. There is no point knowing all of the above and not practicing it right