We have at our disposal more and more tools to help us changing our food habits: books on miracle diets, mobile applications, food supplements and even beauty clinics. But more and more we are suffering from overweight and obesity. What are we doing wrong?
This are the 10 tips that help you to reach nice healthy eating habits in order to lose weight and to be healthier.
1. Decrease consumption of animal products.
Products of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, are much richer in saturated fat and cholesterol. Even meats, such as chicken and turkey, have a considerable amount of fat. In addition, these products have other undesirable substances such as toxins, inflammatory substances, chemical contaminants used in raising animals, etc. These products have a high protein content, whose over consumption can have negative consequences on our health.
In addition to the negative aspects of our health, we must also consider the environmental aspects. Animal husbandry for human consumption is primarily responsible for the emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere (more than all our transport systems). Fishing and fish production have a very negative impact on the life of our oceans. For every kg of fish, 5 kg of unwanted species are collected, including dolphins, sharks and whales, which are then discarded dead at sea. It is estimated that in 2048 there is no fish in the oceans. To learn more about this, I recommend that you watch the documentary Cowspiracy, you will not regret it.
2. Minimize the consumption of processed products on your daily eating practices
In the industrialized world we live in, most of what we eat in our daily lives is made in a factory, comes in a package and has a long shelf life thanks to the presence of preservatives and large amounts of sugar or fa.
All foods that are subject to a process of transformation relative to their in natura state. When this happens, we are changing the nutritional value of food and these changes can have consequences on our health and the maintenance of our weight. A very simple example is the effect of fructose (the fruit sugar) on our health and our weight. The fructose is present in a healthy fruit sugar once the fruit has other substances, such as fiber and other phytonutrients, which help to control the absorption of fructose and sugar levels in the blood. While refined fructose (extracted from fruit), often present in processed foods in the form of fructose syrup, has as negative an effect on our health as alcohol.
Thus, we must always give preference to raw foods, such as fruit and vegetables, because they have higher nutritional density, that is, they provide a greater amount of nutrients for a lower caloric “cost”, which will help us to feel healthy and full of energy. In addition, fruits and vegetables are very high in fiber and water, helping us to feel satisfied and to prevent us eat more than we need.
3. Do not be afraid to eat fruit.
There is widespread fear of the fruit as it is rich in sugars. It is not uncommon to find diets that recommend decreasing fruit consumption. This recommendation is wrong and it is dangerous! Fruit is our most natural and healthy food! In addition to sugars naturally present in the fruit (which help us feel full of energy and satiated), the fruit is very rich in water, fiber, vitamins, minerals and many other phytonutrients that play key roles in the regulation of sugar levels in blood, in oxidative stress, in cancer prevention, in our mood, etc.
There is also the misconception that the fruit has a high glycemic index and is contraindicated in diabetics. Wrong! Compared with other foods we generally take as safe, the fruit has a low glycemic load. More important than the glycemic index is the impact on blood insulin levels (insulinemia). The fruit’s impact on insulinemia is low, unlike meat, which has the same impact as refined sugar.
In the past two years, fruit has been my main source of calories. My breakfast, lunch and snacks are essentially fruit (and some vegetables at lunch) and I reserve the most complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.) and legumes (beans, lentils, etc) for dinner. There are thousands and thousands of people spread around the world that feed in this way and which have an iron health, enjoying a lot of energy, vitality and have a healthy weight.
4. Eating in a salad bowl
One recommendation I often hear for people who want to lose weight is to eat on a smaller plate. Wrong!
It is true that to lose weight we need a small caloric deficit, that is, we have to eat less calories than the ones we spend so that the accumulated fat can serve as a “fuel” for our daily activities. However, this deficit should be slight so that weight loss occurs gradually and healthy over time. Only in this way will we be able to prevent the lost weight from returning.
These restrictive diets are difficult to maintain in the long term because they make us feel cranky and lack energy. It is not uncommon to find someone who can keep the diet for a few days until the day he devours everything he finds in the dispensation. What happens in these restrictive diets is that our brain will send signals constantly saying it needs food, making us feel like eating, especially food dense in calories. In addition, our body will move to store more fat to be aware of possible future episodes of low caloric intake.
The most effective and healthy way to achieve the ideal weight and maintain it over time is to create healthy habits that can be easily maintained throughout life. Our diet should provide all the necessary nutrients, it must be satiating and energizing. A diet based on fruits and vegetables is the most nutrient-dense we can find, and as it is rich in water and fiber, it keeps us satiated and full of energy. Fill a vegetable salad bowl and fruit seems to me a much more effective strategy to be healthy and achieve the ideal weight and keep it off long term to follow restrictive diets.
5. Do not cut into carbohydrates on your feeding habits.
Another common recommendation of diets to lose weight is to cut back on carbohydrates and make a diet rich in protein (also known as the Atkins diet or the Paleo diet). Wrong! Not only do these diets induce a protein overload in our body, which has negative effects on our health (you can read more on the subject here) as restricting carbohydrates will make us feel powerless and in constant deprivatio.
It is certain that processed carbohydrates (such as foods with refined sugar and flour such as bread and cakes) should be avoided. But in natura foods rich in carbohydrates like fruit. The rice, the sweet potato, etc., should be part of our diet as they provide important nutrients and help us to feel that we are satiated and energized.
6. Cooking without fat will improve your way to achieve healthy eating habits
For cultural reasons, we are accustomed to using fat to cook everything. It is true that in our country we mainly use olive oil , which is one of the healthiest fats. However, while being a healthier fat than other refined oils and butter, it is still a processed product, which has been processed and concentrated. One spoon of olive oil provides about 120 Kcal of fat, with a small amount of vitamin E and K, which can easily be obtained through other in natura foods such as avocado or linseed.
By seasoning a salad with olive oil we are transforming the calorie source of our meal, which stops being the vegetables to turn out to be fat. And as we added fat to everything we cooked, we arrived at the end of the day with a large number of extra, unnecessary calories that did not provide us with nutrients, unlike what might have happened if we had consumed those same calories in fruit and vegetables.
It is very easy to cook without fat processed. Salads can be seasoned with lime, orange or lime juice, with herbs, with pieces of avocado or with simple sauces made from home fruits and vegetables.
7. Decrease salt intake on your daily eating practices
Excess salt intake is associated with heart diseases, such as hypertension. Too much salt also does not help in the loss and maintenance of ideal weight. Each gramof salt can hold up to 300 times its weight in water in our body. Decreasing salt intake can help in the loss of water that is retained in our body and is not necessary.
Our taste buds learn to like what we give them and this learning is easier and faster than they can think. In the beginning, when we cut the salt, everything seems insubstantial, without flavor… But after a short time, our palate is habituated and developed so that we can enjoy what we eat.
8. Drinking plenty of water
Water is life! Keeping ourselves hydrated helps our digestion to be more efficient so that it is easier to absorb all the nutrients from the food we eat and eliminate the unwanted products in them. It is easier to stay healthy. A healthy body more easily reaches and maintains its ideal weight.
There are several ways to hydrate us, and drinking water is not at all the most effective. Eating foods high in water is a more effective form of hydration. Fruits such as melon, orange, grapes, tomato, cucumber, courgette, have high water content and high nutritional density.
In addition to helping to maintain ideal weight, nice hydration also helps to have a healthy skin and hair and to feel that we are better with us
9. Doing physical exercise… or rather, partying!
Doing physical exercise should be considered as important as eating, sleeping, or working… We are dynamic creatures, that for thousands and thousands of years, we evolved having to move enough to obtain our foods. We must counteract the current mentality that it is acceptable to spend 8 hours of our day locked inside walls seated on the computer, whether for work or leisure.
Exercising is much easier and more accessible than it seems. You do not need gyms or expensive gadgets. Just move the body freely! Get out of the house and walk, run, jump! If it’s raining, do exercises at home like squats, push-ups, yoga or dancing.
If doing physical exercise is for you an ordeal, look for an activity that gives you pleasure. You’re sure to find something you like to do, and it does not seem like something you have to do out of obligation but something you do with pleasure. When you find this activity, it will no longer seem like you are exercising but you are playing!
10. Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping …
It has been scientifically proven that during sleep a hormone is released which helps regulate appetite. Sleeping a good night’s sleep helps make it easier for us to feel the true appetite, that is, to feel the true need to feed ourselves because we need energy and not gulodice, and thus, ingest the right amount of food.
There are many other processes that occur during sleep that are fundamental to good health, such as tissue repair and production of other important hormones in the regulation of our metabolism. A healthy metabolism is half way to achieve and maintain an ideal weight.
More important than achieving the desired weight, is to focus on achieving good health and vitality. A healthy body will more easily reach your ideal weight and will keep you more easily. A healthy body will more easily allow us to enjoy life, live it intensely and feel good.