Along with the subject of the foods that you do (or don’t) consume, it makes sense to also consider whether or not you need supplements; vitamin, mineral, herbal. The whole reason to tweak or change your diet is to move toward a healthier lifestyle – that is the same reason you should consider which supplements you might will help you – and which ones you may need.
There are several reasons you should consider adding nutritional supplements to the food and beverages you consume, but the biggest reasons are to add in nutrients that may be lacking or in short supply in your diet (there are many reasons behind this), and in order to address with specific physical issues.
The bottom answer for most people to this question is YES. When most people start logging the foods they eat, they discover that their diet is quite as “balanced” as they thought it was. Also, many of today’s foods are grown with intensive practices in depleted soils – resulting in foods with significantly lower nutrient levels than in previous decades.
In upcoming posts, we’ll look at the nutritional measurement RDA in more detail and look at some more specific herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplements you should consider adding to your diet.
Questions or comments? Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.
So what did you eat today?
Can you answer that accurately and in detail?
If you are wanting to move toward a healthier diet and healthier lifestyle you need to know the answer to these questions. Just like when using a map or GPS – the first thing you have to do in order to plot a course to get somewhere is know where you’re at – identify your location.
When I coach people on improving their overall health, I find that it is crucial that they keep a food log or diary of all they consume. It is also important that they keep track over the course of several days. By tracking over the course of several days or a week and logging *everything* you consume, you’ll get a more accurate picture or where you’re at, what items are normally found in your diet, and what you need to change. Once you’ve done this, you can begin to pick your targets for change.
Coming up – next steps: what changes should you target and what about jumping into one of the more popular diets?
Questions, comments, or just want to chime in? Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.
Seriously – there seems to always be some new diet that is all the rage; some diet or hot new method to lose weight, cleanse your body, detox … you get the idea. All it takes is a glance at the magazines at any grocery store checkout to see what the celebrities consider to be the latest and greatest way to shed some pounds. The promises are many – this is the hidden secret, this is the one that doesn’t make you change what you eat, this one lets you eat as much (fill in the blank) as you want, the Paleo diet, Keto diet, Low Carb diet, All Carb Diet, Gluten Free Diet, Peanut Butter Diet, All Veggie Diet, and the list goes on and on and on. But do these really work, and are they good for you?
Upcoming are several posts that will deal with these questions, questions about diet, diets, and dieting, and also some guest posts that will give you some real-life firsthand accounts of experiences as a result of various diets and approaches to a healthier lifestyle.
As a foundational truth though – remember that diets don’t work – not in the long term and not for lasting change toward a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes they can be helpful (and just the thing you need) to shed a few pounds or kick start a change in lifestyle – but “going on a diet for a while” is almost always destined to fail since you’ll eventually end up right back where you started (or worse off) once you return to your old ways.
The bottom line – “diets” in the traditional sense don’t work – but a change in your diet can work if you incorporate those changes into your daily life and make them foundational for a new lifestyle. If you do that – there are several different dietary approaches out there that do work. Upcoming posts will take a closer look at these questions, provide some real-world feedback, and attempt to address any questions you might have.
Questions or comments – please use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve posted in the past regarding artificial sweeteners and their detrimental effects on your health.
It’s such a tempting idea – something for nothing – all the sweetness of sugar and none of the calories or problems that come from eating lots of sugar, drinking sugary drinks, and eating sweets, etc.
It sounds too good to be true! And it is.
Research continues to show that there is a cascade of bad effects that happen when you take in artificial sweeteners.
You won’t necessarily drop over from drinking one diet soda – but if they’re bad for you why drink even one?
Consider this: most rationale people wouldn’t eat a slice of cake or a brownie baked from a mix that only had a few – maybe even only 1 or two mouse droppings – because even in that small amount, we know it is not good for you. So why include diet soda or products with artificial sweeteners in your diet at all.
A recent article published by the CBC references several researchers and several new studies that once again link artificial sweeteners to both obesity and type 2 diabetes. I think it is best to avoid soda of all types – either sugar sweetened or artificially sweetened. What is especially troubling in the CBS article is a French study that is referenced. The beverage habits of more than 66000 women were followed for more than 14 years. All soda or pop drinkers had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes – but the diet soda drinkers had an even higher risk than regular soda drinkers.
Why risk it at all – there are plenty of other healthy options to explore, including just plain water.
Take one small step today toward a healthier lifestyle by dumping artificial sweeteners from your diet – you’ll be glad you did.
Questions or comments – use the reply form below. I’d love to hear from you.
I frequently get questions along the lines of “what exercise burns the most calories” or “what exercise can I do to lose weight, or burn fat”, or what is the best exercise.
The next few posts will look at running as exercise and some pros and cons that go with running.
Before I dive too deeply into the benefits of running though, it’s important to remember diet is more important that exercise. By that I’m referring to the food you eat and the approach you take to food and nutrition, not going on a diet! A healthy diet is really all about eating healthy and nutritious foods as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Remember, your body really does want you to eat right, and it might take a little time to recognize the signals it gives you, but your body is signaling you all the time about the foods you eat.
So why do I recommend running? Aside from the fact that I like to run and it’s one of my favorite fitness activities, one of the top reasons is that when people are ready to seriously confront fitness and to try to lose weight, you will be hard pressed to find any exercise that will give you as quick and dramatic result as running. I highly recommend some moderation and common sense if you haven’t run before – don’t go out assuming you can run 5 miles on your first day!
But with the help of others, (and some good cheap or free training programs out there) you’ll find that running can quickly reward your weight loss efforts and that the pounds can start to drop off dramatically.
In some upcoming posts, we’ll look at how running can benefit you (not just losing weight), some suggestions on how to approach running (so that you won’t give up), and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it (and not sabotage your results).
Questions, comments – use the form below, I’d love to hear from you.
Listen to your body – it sends you signals about what you eat, how you eat, and how much you eat.
If you pay attention, it lets you know when you should stop eating, which foods agree with you or which foods cause you to not feel good, These are all signals your body is giving you to try to protect you from foods you shouldn’t eat and to guide you to eat the right amount of things it needs.
1. Take your time eating, thoroughly taste and chew each bite – this gives your body a chance to begin the digestion process in the right way, and also gives it a chance to signal you when you have eaten enough. There is a feedback mechanism built into your body – specific hormones that turn hunger on and off (ghrelin and leptin) – learn to “feel” and listen to these hormones and other signals that your body gives you that you have eaten enough.
2. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods.
Headache in the afternoon some days? Upset stomach? Gassy? Stomach that “just doesn’t feel right” or is flip-flopping? You might find an interesting correlation between certain foods and when these symptoms occur. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to keep a log of the foods you eat as you start to make changes to move you toward a healthier lifestyle.
Your body is talking to you all the time – you may need to relearn to hear it, and then listen to what it’s saying. This is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining and protecting your health.
Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you.
Less than a week into the new year, many people are rethinking their New Year’s resolutions and thinking about whether they should give up on them already and considering how realistic they were in the first place.
Don’t give up!
Even if you’ve missed some days, you still have almost the entire year ahead of you. I’d encourage you think about the positive compounded changes you will be enjoying a year from now if you stick with it! Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve already broken your resolution – any positive movement forward you make moves you closer to your goal than you were last year.
You didn’t get to where you are today overnight, and you won’t reach your health goals overnight either. The important thing is to keep moving forward and keep doing the good things that move you toward a healthier lifestyle. You should also continue to review what other little steps you can take to move toward a healthy lifestyle. Consistently keeping little changes will add up to big changes over time.
I’ve met many people who have given up. They tell me about how they have tried “being healthy” or tried to eat better or tried quitting junk food and messed up, so they gave up. You probably know people who have planned big changes after a birthday, or as a New Years’ Resolution. You might even be one of those people who started a new workout or fitness program that you gave up on a few weeks into the year. It can be very discouraging when you want to be healthy but find yourself doing unhealthy things.
Chances are, either you’ve had this experience yourself or you know someone who has. And if you have, it’s easy to feel doomed to an unhealthy. My simple message to you: Don’t give up! Just because you got off track doesn’t mean your plans for a healthy lifestyle are totally derailed.
If you miss a day or two in your workout schedule or your new diet – don’t give up! Don’t let a missed workout or two or a cheat meal or dessert keep you from continuing on toward your goal. Taking one little step at a time toward a healthier lifestyle is much more important than taking no steps at all.
I like the phrase “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” as reminder that it’s more important to make some progress rather than none at all. Stay focused on the good things you are doing rather than the mistakes you make along the way.
Questions or comments about this post? Use the section below – I’d love to hear from you.
This may be the most important part of what you need to do in order to begin to move toward a healthier lifestyle. You have to decide what is really important to you – once you do this, you can begin to move toward it and eliminate the things that stand in your way.
You have to decide what is most important because that is will define what is not as important. I know some people that can hardly ever pass a donut shop without stopping. If donuts are your “thing” or you feel like you can never pass up chocolate cake, certain physical or fitness goals are probably out or reach. If a certain level of physical health or athletic performance is your goal, it won’t seem like such a great sacrifice to give up some of the sugary treats and other things that you might otherwise eat. To put it another way, think about whether the daily things you do from a dietary and fitness standpoint move you toward or away from a healthier lifestyle. Did the dietary and exercise choices you made yesterday move you toward being healthier and feeling better, or was it just more of the same way you’ve done things for the last month, year or many years.
If your top priority is to wake up and feel healthy, strong and vital every day, to reduce illness and/or injury and to avoid the bad effects of the typical western diet, you begin the measure your meals and snacks and the things you do (or don’t do) against that goal. I personally stay focused on how good I feel every day, and I don’t want anything to derail that or keep me from that. In order to do this, I think it helps to keep this at the front of your mind with a simple phrase or reminder.
If you’ve never felt that, or if you wake up not feeling good every day, I’d challenge you to consider changing your goals. Don’t expect everything about your body and health to change overnight – because it won’t. But you can begin today to make little changes that will move you toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time. Remember that you didn’t get to where you are today overnight either. Set your sights on a lifetime goal of healthy living and feeling good.
Start with your goals part2, or why you need to ask yourself – what is “being healthy?”
The two most frequent questions I get when people talk to me about health and fitness are variations on:
- How can I lose weight?
- How can I get healthier?
It’s interesting to note that I don’t usually get questions about how to keep weight off or about what kind of healthy lifestyle will help you maintain a healthy weight.
(This is the root of yo-yo dieting; where people lose weight and then end up gaining back all the weight they lost – or sometimes even end up weighing more than they did at first.) For this reason it’s very important to think about living at a healthy body weight rather than thinking about just losing a certain amount of weight or fat.
Body composition (muscle/fat) is also very important – it’s not just about losing weight. This will be addressed in an upcoming post.
Also, I don’t usually get questions about maintaining a healthier lifestyle – the questions are usually about losing extra weight or losing fat and about getting “healthier” – not about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is the point of today’s post: you have to come up with a clear picture in your mind of what it means to have a healthier lifestyle. This means you need to define what it means to be “healthier” thinking about it in terms of a lifestyle – something that you maintain. This extends to all parts of your life: diet, activity, fitness, stress, sleep, emotions, etc.
Once you can clearly picture what a healthy lifestyle looks like, you can begin reviewing your habits, diet, and different areas of your life and put a plan in place for a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you read the upcoming posts for ways to clearly identify and define a healthy lifestyle and how to get there.
Questions or comments? Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.