You don't need to go far to hear about the latest trendy diet. Just turn on the TV or walk by the magazines in the grocery store and you'll see example after example of eating fads, strict rules, and headlines about weight loss or weight gain. From food fads to yo-yoing weight to diets that blur the line with eating disorders, we need to stop and consider: Is all this actually healthy? Is dieting and deprivation really the way to go?
I believe that you can achieve a healthy weight without dieting or depriving yourself. We can all agree that deprivation is not realistic and most people who go on a diet gain their weight back. Instead, developing realistic lifestyle habits will help you achieve a healthy weight, maintain it, and enjoy life more. As a registered dietitian, let me share with you some of my favorite habits for eating well and living a healthy lifestyle, diet-free!
1. Manage your appetite.
Extreme hunger caused by skipping meals can lead to extreme eating and binging. To prevent extreme hunger, always be prepared with a healthy option like raw nuts and fresh fruit like apples and bananas. For example, keep healthy snacks with you in your purse, gym bag, and car. If you're running errands and get hungry, instead of going through the drive-through, go to your healthy snack stash. It is important to listen to your body and be intuitive with your eating. If you are hungry (or feeling other symptoms of hunger such as a drop in energy, being on edge, or difficulty making decisions), then eat. If you aren't hungry, you do not need to force yourself to eat. Listen to your body and respond to what your body needs.
2. Stay hydrated.
We can often mistake hunger for thirst, so pause to consider what your body really needs. Being properly hydrated will help you improve digestion, reduce belly bloat, increase energy levels, and improve mental clarity. The more energy you have the more likely you are to keep up with tip number three: exercise!
3. Move every day.
Research shows that exercising can improve your mood, body awareness, appreciation for your body, and it can help you eat better throughout the day. Exercise is crucial for achieving a healthy weight—and it is also a beneficial way to reduce stress, improve mood, and clear your mind. I love to pray when I'm running and find it's a special time when I hear from God. Maybe the reason I am tempted to skip my workouts is because when I do exercise, I feel better, think better, and live better, and the Enemy does not want that!