Juice fasts, colon cleanses, low carbohydrate/sugar/fat, cabbage soup, raw food, DIET, DIET, DIET. The greater majority of us have tried at least one of these with varying degrees of weight loss results. All of these trendy diets have one thing in common: eliminating a main food group of which our bodies need in order to function properly. Don’t get me wrong, these diets can work to provide temporary weight loss. In addition, this weight loss is typically fast and we are a nation that likes fast. We want faster technology, faster cars, faster cash, faster meals, and faster weight loss. We can’t escape the fast pace! However, what we do know by looking at the obesity epidemic in America is that what we’ve tried isn’t working on a long term basis. We are the sickest our nation has been since our inception. These trendy diets are not providing us with long lasting health benefits that protect our bodies and minds from chronic physical and mental disease.
Rather, in order to achieve long term results, we must understand the benefits that REAL food plays in our health. We must understand that healthful carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the right portions are necessary for proper function by our bodies, and this includes weight loss. We must accept that all foods fit and that slower, steady weight loss is the key to long term, sustained weight loss.
I am a firm believer in that REAL food must be enjoyed. We need to learn to eat more from the ground up not from the box down. Most children cannot tell you where fruit and vegetables actually come from. They don’t know the origin difference between an Oreo made in a manufacturing plant and an apple from an orchard. We, as a society, must realize that in order to achieve our best emotional and physical health, we must fill our shopping baskets with foods that are surrounded by soil versus those surrounded by cardboard. We need to spend our money on vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. We must emphasize what is most healthful and focus on these foods 90% of the time. So, what do you do with the other 10%, you ask? Enjoy and savor those foods that may not fit into a daily balance. Whether that food is a cookie, cake, brownie, chip, fast food, or some of our favorite Cajun delicacies, enjoy it. Take your time to serve your portion, and actually taste the food by observing and savoring the flavor. Once you are done with the one portion, take time to notice how this food made you feel. Do not feel bad for indulging in this once in a while treat. In order to achieve lifelong weight loss and wellness, we need to feel that we can indulge here and there, while maintaining a healthful balance on a daily basis.
A healthful balance means no food group is off limits. All foods fit! Just in the right portion and amount. Ideally, our focus needs to be on a protein, carbohydrate, and fat balance made up of minimally processed, antioxidant and fiber rich sources. Fiber rich carbohydrates should be consumed in the presence of lean protein in order to achieve long lasting fullness. These are carbohydrates that are typically not going to be found in a box; such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, dried beans, whole wheat products (with at least 3 g fiber per serving), fruits, and vegetables. Healthful plant based fats also help to reduce inflammation throughout our bodies, leading to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and injury. We certainly cannot forget about lean protein. This is the building block of lean body mass. We cannot achieve an ideal resting metabolism without supplying our bodies with adequate amounts of lean protein.
Clearing your plate of dieting and adapting to an improved way of eating will assist you in achieving lifelong weight loss and maintenance. Learning how to fit all foods and providing quality foods to you and your family will not only improve your health, but give you more sustained fullness and energy along the way. To learn more about making all foods fit, contact Kate, a Registered Dietitian for an individualized assessment and plan.