Being bound by biological needs food accounts for most of the processes happening inside our body. And it can both serve as a fuel or toxin depending the way you leverage it.
Translated in vernacular it can keep you young, making your body function like it is supposed to, providing infinite health benefits and keeping you away from disease; or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, be the chief cause of certain diseases and conditions.
Having a healthy diet is thus a rather big priority. But the phrase itself is somewhat misunderstood and often times leads towards practices that radically oppose common sense.
In addition, it is a phrase that people are bound to repeat “just because”. TV-shows, obscure statements by quasi nutritionists in magazines, marketing and advertising efforts trying to pollute common sense on daily basis…
What is really healthy?
How much effort or lack thereof is needed as to constitute a healthy diet?
Can we scrutinize the process down to basics and make it a no-brainer?
Rhetoric questions… Boring.
Providing an intelligible response, you see, is not that notoriously hard as one might think. We just study the nutritional needs we all share, modify as to match our lifestyle in terms of energy spend and maybe throw something else in just for good measure.
And since this topic is the “meat and potatoes” (no pun intended) of a healthy diet guide it would be rather inchoate to refer you to another page or series of links.
However, since we here address lifestyle as the main reason for almost everything happening in our life ranging from abstract “how-we-perceive-succeed-and-why-we-act-react-or-run-on-a-treadmill” stuff, down to tangible and rather more “not-raising-any-eyebrows” kind of things like you would assume appear in a pragmatic health, fitness, or any other useful magazine, it would be best to address another chapter first, and leave the details for another article.
Namely, the size of the letters with which the phrase healthy diet is written directly corresponds with how you conduct your life on daily basis. And to try and maintain healthy eating habits around these days is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Therefore, as to escape the exercise in frustration, it is best to address the issue of how and where you get your food from first.
The one place to rule them all
Forget about eating out. Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Subway, healthy this, healthy that… They all account for the majority of unhealthy related eating habits. Eating the wrong foods as to start with, eating on the go, eating fast, eating sporadically at intervals hard to remember and match even the next day or two.
Not to mention the extra buck that is, in a way, thrown down the drain.
We structure our schedule when it comes to going throughout the day, doing our productive work, schedule and plan on exercising, so logic dictates that diet should be given even that much attention to.
And the best way to do that is to ensure you are the Picard of that diet Enterprise (or Kirk, if you so prefer). And the fastest, and do I need mention cheapest, way of doing that is to be organized and set a system that will, by itself, help into making the right decisions for you.
Naïve and rudimentary of a concept as this may sound, we are talking about eating only from your fridge. And this is the first step.
Don’t eat out, or if you do, order the salad – this is probably the most worn out advice when it comes to “dieting” as the mainstream advocates it to us.
“Radical times require radical measures” – most often referring to weight loss and the term dieting understood in the worst sense possible. And all of this is bull@#$% (probably gonna be edited).
Our take on healthy diet and more importantly how to make it a part of your LIFESTYLE, is to do just that – arrange things from a lifestyle point of view. And the radical measure of trying not to eat out is only to serve as a turning point and help perception wise.
Sure, after a while, you can go back to eating at your favorite places, or have breakfast and lunch scheduled with folks again, but it is imperative to set aside one month where you eat things from your fridge only, as to emphasize on what is really healthy and to develop the reflex of thinking that you eat to live, and not the other way around.
For all intents and purposes this technique is divided into two equally important parts. The first is trying to make the habit of eating only at home. And the second, of refining your fridge’s insides.
It can always be think of as the other way around, but truth remains that eating out may often times prove less than savory when you try to maintain a new way of eating, be that trying to starve yourself, or reconstructing your diet in a healthy fashion.
So step one is ditching the coupons and membership cards and whatnot that lets you eat at these health repressors (ouch, that hurt), and start getting used to eating at home. This, however, is easier said than done.
How to make the first step
Let’s take it this way – assume that you drink your coffee (along with some other things) at Starbucks , eat your lunch somewhere else, go for a snack at the first cart you see across the street. Trying to break this chain all at once will result with failure nine out of ten times.
Therefore, try and decide over which one health repressor (wow, there it is again) will be out first. Say you can’t alter your coffee ritual all too sudden and it will require a lot of will power or building momentum. Ok then, try bringing lunch from home.
While there, also try to make a black list (I’m serious, really) of all the places you would not allow yourself to go to. This week, let us all together put one name down (short of ideas, let me: MacDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell…). “Dear Diary” as this concept might sound it quickly accumulates, and builds both a habit of avoiding, as well as a slight repulsion towards these places.
Fast forward one month, you will be rock solid on the habit of eating at home. Now comes the second, for some justifiably harder part.
It gets quite easier to stay on track when you are the one dictating both what and when you eat. And learning to eat only at home, in a way, helps you go through this tenfold. And that has been addressed with the first step.
When it comes to the second one, it also starts slow and builds momentum.
First thing first, what comes easier, you gonna change the number of meals. It is no longer breakfast, lunch, dinner, but rather- breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and then maybe another snack- five to six meals per day; And this is the foundation.
Initially, what this will cause is having to buy more food. Or so it seems like.
Providing rationale to all this, I can assure you that you will only spice up diversity, and not quantity that much as you thought. In a matter of fact breakfast, dinner, and lunch all of the sudden shrink by little as snacks start to fill the gaps.
As for what snacks to buy, let us make it easy at the very beginning – let us make it a rule you will be conditioned to abide by of eating only one piece of fruit per snack. This helps you forge the habit.
In addition, try to lower calorie consumption during main meals. For now keep them just the same when it comes to what you eat.
Next step is adding hydration – try and also make it a habit to drink half a gallon of water per day. If you want to make it easy when it comes to drinking on intervals throughout the day a general rule of thumb would be to drink in between every two meals (not breakfast-lunch, but breakfast-snack, snack-lunch…)
Now, since we’ve already established that the point of this article is to convert you into healthy eating guru by leveraging baby steps, let us map the rest of the road.
Ideally, you can try and refine all your main meals all of the sudden.
This, as I’ve tried many times before, seems like a losing proposition. Applying the practice of leveraging baby steps you are way better off transforming one meal per week. Say this one you change breakfast.
Take Sunday and go to the supermarket and buy all the healthy ingredients you can think of that can be served ten to twenty minutes after your feet touch the floor in the morning.
Another rule of thumb here is to make sure you add balance to your diet by dividing your food nutritional value fairly close to 40% protein, 40% carb, and 20% fats (healthy fats, since not all fats are created equal. Though the same goes for carbs- you would like to get most of your carbs from vegetables and fruit).
This is a basic blueprint and it can change depending on your needs (more on that in another addition to this article).
Once you are done with changing your breakfast, next comes lunch, or dinner if you so prefer. After the third week it is all set.
The fourth one may serve as taking care of whether or not the snacks provide you with enough nutrition according to your needs (if you do strenuous exercises (like this 21 Day Workout Review) you cannot count on having the same snack composition as someone who tends to live a sedentary lifestyle – meaning one fruit might as well not suffice).
All happy and healthy
And good looking as well, you see, the thing is that once you leverage the power of building habits by applying baby steps it gets easier to follow through. In fact it becomes second nature. As if you cannot function otherwise.
And this is the most important part – changing your lifestyle when it comes to food. These two multilayer but not-that-complex steps will allow you to do just that.
After a while this diet becomes the only way you are comfortable to function with and then you can change the regime like rules and give yourself the liberty of trying a cookie or two now and then, go out to lunch, take a late dinner in bed.
The thing is that now, having you mind and body conditioned in a different way, these things will be the precedent, and not the other way around.
The way towards embracing healthy diet, at least the way I see it, has never been easier.