Dieting is a common practice for Americans who are looking to reverse the bad decisions of yesterday’s meals. The Boston Medical Center states that approximately 45 million Americans diet each year, and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products to help speed up this process. But how effective is the common diet? Are there other ways to speed up the process of weight loss? And more importantly, how can you keep the weight off for good? Today, I’ll share with you a secret of mine; one that more Americans are beginning to realize. I will also answer these questions, getting you on track to a happier, healthier you.
Most of today’s diets are centered around 3 things: fat, calories, and carbs. Some even suggest tracking sodium, protein, and fiber. Take Weight Watchers for example; they calculate “points” by how much fat, calories, fiber, and protein are in a food. That’s right, I said points! Weight Watchers wants us to believe that we should go by their highly marketed points scale. Why wouldn’t they? They sell pre-made frozen dinners based on this ridiculous point system. With pre-made, packaged foods, why would you ever want to calculate another meal? You would obviously choose the easier option of purchasing ready-to-eat meals based on your points allowance. And you can bet Weight Watchers is counting on your laziness to net them big bucks.
I have an extremely difficult time wrapping my mind around this. Here’s why – When eating a diet rich in whole foods (foods that are unprocessed and unrefined), we don’t have to calculate anything. As long as we eat a variety of whole foods, we will get all of the recommended calories, protein, fiber, and fat, plus vital vitamins and nutrients for optimal health. The answer really isn’t as complicated as the food industry would have us believe. It’s not a calculation worked out on a Weight Watchers calculator either. What frustrates me more, is the fact that whole foods are all around us, but probably not in your grocery cart. Let’s change that today!
What should we eat?
Let’s put aside the microwavable mush for a moment. Let’s get back to our roots. What were you and I (human beings) meant to eat from day one? Food. I’m talking about real food, not food that’s been processed with chemicals, hormones, additives, artificial colors, sweeteners, etc. I’m talking about whole grains, fresh fruit, and in-season vegetables. You know, that stuff that comes right off of the vine? With fresh, whole food, there’s no need to count calories, fat, fiber, sugar, protein, etc. When you eat in perfect balance with the earth, mother nature will take care of you, giving you the body you always wanted. Here are a list of whole foods that you can begin eating today that will promote natural, sustainable weight loss.
Note: Certain medical conditions (such as diabetes) may require that you keep a journal of your nutritional intake. This may mean tracking calories, fat, sugar, fiber, etc.
How do I keep it off?
In order for you to lose weight and keep it off for good, you must maintain a whole foods diet everyday. Far too often, I see friends and family going on diets for the wrong reasons. They typically want to meet a short-term goal. Once they’ve lost x number of pounds, brought their cholesterol numbers down, or balanced their blood sugar, they immediately pick up where they left off with that box of glazed donuts. It’s insanity by its very definition: Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I hear it all of the time, “I couldn’t eat like that forever!” or “I want to enjoy my food, not eat a limited diet my whole life.” Both are reasonable statements. No-one wants to feel limited by the kinds of food they can eat. Keep in mind, though, that taste buds can change. As you spend less time opening cans and microwavable trays, you’ll notice a new appreciation for the taste of foods in their natural form.
I personally eat a whole food plant-based diet, consuming whole vegan foods, such as seeds, legumes, veggies, fruit, and nuts. I’m not sharing my eating habits to convince you its the way to go. I simply wish to convey a misconception I had when I began this way of eating. I just “knew” I was heading down a lonely road of boring and tasteless food. But this couldn’t have been any further from the truth. After many months of eating plants, I began to see that I was not only feeling and looking better, but I was eating foods that I had never even heard of before. The variety of foods I was eating had increased ten fold, and my dishes looked more colorful than ever. My taste buds begin to awaken, acknowledging the fresh whole foods it was now receiving. Even more, my desire for salt, sugar, and fat has subsided greatly.
The biggest reason I’ve not had a “slip-up” in my diet is because (to me) it’s not a diet; it’s a way of life. I take my consumption of foods very seriously. If there’s one thing in our life that deserves attention, it’s what we put into our bodies. Without health, everything else in life wouldn’t matter: money, house, car, job, etc. We must make our health the number one priority. Besides, we only have one shot at this.