Excuse me while I step up on my soap box.

One of the main reasons I hate do not like fad diets is because while they may work short term and you may definitely lose the weight you want, they only give you a false sense of fitness and health….in other words….they don’t last long term and you are not always as healthy as they may lead you to believe.

For example, one of the fad diets I despise is the low carb diet.  It’s this type of dieting that (in my humble opinion, of course) keeps you from eating the actual good foods that your body needs.  And another thought, what’s going to happen when you stop this low-carb dieting and you start eating carbs again >>> you’re going to gain back the weight.

Newsflash:  Your body needs carbohydrates.
Carbs provide your body with primarily energy, as well as fiber and vitamins.

When your body does not take in the amount of carbohydrates that it needs to keep going, it will start pulling energy from other sources within your body in the form of protein.  And where does this protein come from:  your muscle tissue.

When your body starts losing protein from the muscle, you can only imagine what happens next:  you obviously begin to lose muscle tissue and growth of the muscles (atrophy), you lose energy and your body weakens = unhealthy body = bad news for you.

So, what’s the answer to this problem?  You guessed it:  a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates and protein.  Yay for carbs and protein!  *Insert cheering*!

Now.  Let’s talk about protein.

Your body’s primary use for protein is to build and repair tissues.

Now apply those uses of carbs and protein where you are right now:  are you dieting, exercising, strength training with weights or have medically related nutritional issues?  How would your body benefit right now from the intake of carbs and proteins?

Having said that, there are of course healthy and not so healthy choices of each.  Better choices of a carb enriched diet include:  fruits and veggies, beans, whole grain pastas, sweet potatoes, and high fiber whole-grain breads (rather than white).

Better protein choices include fish, chicken, lean red meat, soy, nuts and legumes.

According to the American Heart Association we need:

  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
  • Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week

The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily.  Remember, even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a better life.

Other Dietary Measures:

  • Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week
  • Processed meats: No more than 2 servings a week
  • Saturated fat: Less than 7% of total energy intake

I also love this illustration provided by the USDA on nutrition.

Don’t make it hard on yourself.  It’s all about moderation and balance and making the right food choices.  No, I don’t always follow the “rules”, (you can see where I chowed down on that fried shrimp sandwich, but I did choose the smaller one over the larger ;)),but overall I know I make healthy choices and live a healthy lifestyle.

And remember the Food Pyramid your learned as a kid?  Follow the KISS rule:  Keep it Simple Sister!  😉

Eating healthy is an everyday choice, not just something we do for a few days or weeks out of the year when we’re getting ready for bikini-weather, or not just each January 1 with a new resolution.  And the good news is we get 365 chances each year to start over!

Is today going to be the day for YOU?

(Remember my disclaimer?  I’m certainly no doctor or expert-I don’t make enough money to have the answers.  I simply offer my opinion and ways I try to live a healthier lifestyle).

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