Eating healthy is not the horrible thing it seems. I am a big believer in eating healthy 80% of the time and eating fun the other 20%. I know some personal trainers who look awesome but “eat to live” and I know obese people who “live to eat” (I’m a bit closer to this extreme!). Neither of these extremes is probably the place to be. There is a good book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg that explains why we develop habits.
The brain forms habits after a cue is followed by an activity and finally a reward. For example, I sit down on the couch and turn on the TV. I eat a bag of potato chips. I’m happy because I like chips.
Activity– eating chips.
Reward– happy tummy.
It is easy to see that some of our bad eating comes from bad habits. So what do I do? We need habits and we are dependent on the cue and reward. So maybe we can not plop on the couch as much. Maybe we can change what we eat when we do watch TV. Maybe the reward can be seeing that weight on the scale or that decrease in clothing size secondary to eating better foods.
I don’t like the term diet because it sounds like a temporary fix. I want eating healthy to be a HABIT. That being said, it does help sometimes to look at a diet book or plan. The one I favor is The Seventeen Day Diet. While I don’t recommend doing it as written, I do pretty much agree with the choices of food it gives. One thing that I know from personal experience in the book that works is not eating significant carbs after lunch. Physiologically it makes sense.
Our body needs glucose for energy. Carbs are the quickest source. Later in the day, we don’t need as much glucose, so the carbs are then stored as fat instead of being used. So if you love pasta, maybe you need to have it for breakfast! The better option though is to have it during your 20% fun eating time. So try this. Just cut out carbs (bread,pasta,fruits,sugar,etc) after 2pm. Do that for a week or 2 and see what your weight does. Replace those things with lean meats and plenty of veggies.
Approximately 50-60% of Americans are considered overweight. Obesity is closely related to many health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, back pain, some cancers, and even venous disease. In 2005, it is estimated that 190 billion dollars were spent on obesity related health problems. Not only is an obese person’s insurance spending more than a non-obese person, the obese person can spend $1-2,000.00 more out of pocket. Millions of hours of work are lost secondary to the effects of obesity. It is clear that being overweight is not just a cosmetic problem.
What can be done? How did it happen?
While being obese is a multifactorial problem, the solution is much “simpler.” Obviously, I know it is not simple but there are only 2 things you need to do to start down the road to recovery from obesity. Change your eating habits (not just go on a diet!). Increase your activity. Just like quitting smoking or drinking is difficult, so is changing a sedentary life style. It is my hope that you will continue visiting this site as I hope to encourage and teach you how to change yourself into the healthier you that YOU want to be!