My rules for eating healthy and managing my weight

new US food pyramid, featuring vertical categories of the whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean proteins with a stick figure person climbing the pyramid to represent exercise. next to it is the old food pyramid.

(photo compliments of choosemyplate.gov)

I’ve never read a diet book. These fancy-schmancy planned-out diets are not my thing.

I have created some rules over the past few years that keep me eating healthy, and keep me in the healthy weight category.

.

  • Quit drinking soda. Drink water (eight 8 ounce glasses daily). With a glass of 100% fruit juice watered down and/or a glass of low-fat milk daily.
  • Eat 3-5 fruits and vegetables per day. That’s 6 to 10 all-in-all.
  • Get quality protein with every meal. The top ones are: chicken, turkey, eggs, tuna fish, shrimp, low/non-fat cottage cheese, low/non-fat greek yogurt, and whey protein powders.
  • Include fiber-rich foods as often as possible. I love popping corn on the stove plain and adding my own low-calorie flavors. Delicious!
  • White foods are evil. Enriched, bleached foods need to be replaced with WHOLE wheats; read the ingredients to make sure you’re not being conned by misleading labels.
  • Take a daily multivitamin. And a B-complex semi-daily (4 times a week or so) to keep your metabolism boosted, your body running, your immunity strong, etc. I know I can’t eat all of those vitamins and minerals daily, so supplements are a fantastic idea.
  • Stay off your butt. Spend everyday moving. Wanna lift weights or run? Go you! Break a sweat scrubbing your bathroom? That works. Weed and your garden in the evening? Okay. Chasing your kids around the park? Perfect. Break out the Wii Just Dance? Yes, that counts. Hula hoop? Awesome.
cartoon image of a plate with color blocks to represent the amount of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy you should include for every healthy meal in a well-balanced diet

(photo compliments of choosemyplate.gov)

  • Replace butter, vegetable oil, sugar with healthier alternatives, or skip it all together. Herbs, spices and seasonings offer flavor in place of butter, applesauce replaces vegetable oil in baking recipes, olive oil is a better choice than vegetable oil (measure out servings according to the label, though), agave nectar or honey are better than sugar.
  • Watch your portions and serving size. Even healthy foods can be high in calories. And if you’re going to eat junk of any preference, try to scale it in reasonably (reminder to myself: a whole pint of ice cream is not reasonable).
  • Limit dessert to one serving a day. If I’m going to eat some type of junk, dessert, or sweet (ice cream, oreos, donuts, oh my!), I limit it to one (serving) a day. If I don’t use it one day, I feel awesome about that. But I’m not going to stress about one a day, either.
  • Stop eating three hours before bedtime. I try not to eat at 9pm. I will sometimes eat a bite or two of a protein before bed (a spoonful of peanut butter maybe) because proteins are hard to digest, and therefore burn calories. That means that while I’m sleeping, I’m burning a few calories and my body isn’t starving overnight.

I also try, loosely, to get 1,500 1,800 calories a day (that’s my need), but I do not break my back counting. I just keep a daily running count in my head to make sure I don’t get wild, and also to keep track of what I am putting in my mouth.

Think about it. This is about as simple as the food pyramid plus being generally better behaved than a couch potato.

Don’t drink your calories, fill up on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Limit your fat and empty calorie consumption, and get off your butt twice a day. Big deal!

So I don’t believe in the $29.95 book that promises you’ll be as skinny as those French women or whatever as long as you never eat a carbohydrate again. Just pay attention to what you cram in your mouth and give your tushy some breathing room.

Do you have a good rule for yourself that you’d like to share?

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1 Comment

  1. I like to take whey protein because it is easily absorbed by the body unlike Casein. `

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