A healthy weight loss makes you feel good, energetic, productive, balanced and is such a healthy gain. In our Portion Contortion post, we covered some of the basic jargon that surrounds portion control and distortion. Now it is time to look at how on earth you find your way through serving sizes, portion plates, and why a diet never works. A Lifestyle change that looks at all of you — step by step — does work. Get it right, and enjoy the freedom of real healthy gain.
Healthy Weight Loss: Get Your Numbers Right
First of all, assessing how you stand health wise if important. Getting your basic numbers and overall health status will tell you if indeed it is weight you need to lose, or if this is a perception (A note here that if you think you, or know someone who may, suffer from an eating disorder check out the links at the end of this post). An overall medical will also tell you of other aspects you should address such as fitness, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption etc. An overall lifestyle change may be what your Doctor recommends?
Once you have your health basics, you will have an idea of what your BMR, and BMI numbers are – part of the jargon busting post on Portion Contortion, by the way. Now – it is time to put some ideas in your head 🙂 about why a diet will not work, but a lifestyle change will. There is a real difference.
Healthy Weight Loss: A Diet or a Lifestyle Change – What Works?
A diet concentrates on food alone. A lifestyle change is looking at all of you – and one part is the diet. Notice the difference? A diet is different from the diet.
Healthy Weight Loss: Diet Doesn’t Work
A diet is something we have all been on, and often achieved our goals for a while – to then slip right back up again. Some results of a diet are destructive to your health, as parts of food groups are cut out thus creating deficiencies. Examples of these are: ‘Low Carb’, ‘High Protein’, ‘Grapefruit Diet’ etc. A diet can also provoke eating disorders. A diet rarely works as cravings are the body’s signal that something is missing. Our brain misinterprets this nicely for us, and we therefore tend to eat things to compensate for what is cut out of a diet plan. I.e you crave a bar of chocolate – what you need is iron, and fast energy. Strawberries will do the trick excellently – as they are full of iron and natural sweetness.
A diet is also a form of distortion. You feel that you need to ‘cheat’ and ‘you are not allowed certain foods’. A diet concentrates on one part only: Food. Your body system gets disturbed, and whilst you may lose weight fast — it will all come back if you don’t commit to an overall decision to really change – for life.
Healthy Weight Loss: Lifestyle Change Does Work
A lifestyle change on the other hand is a full review of all you need in terms of food, hydration, exercise, mindfulness, sleep. All that makes for a healthy life. A lifestyle overhaul is about changing habits for permanent healthy gains. Food – and Good Food – is certainly part of a healthy balanced life – without cravings or guilt. A healthy diet is an expression of a balanced way of eating from each food group to get nutrients, and keeping your energy balance in check.
The point is that the distortion is in size issue. Your size in terms of how you look – you beautiful person you – is not the problem. The health issues that may follow as a result of wrong foods, and impact from these – that is a sizeable problem. Your health numbers may suggest that you need to lose – or gain – weight. But, you also need strength, muscles, peace of mind to think, sleep and lots of water to get into a balanced healthy state again.
Healthy Weight Loss: Getting Healthier
Hope that you are now convinced that thinking ‘Lifestyle Change’ rather than Diet, is what will move you forwards step by step. This of course means that you will start to move a bit more, drink a bit healthier, and consider how much sleep you need. And – yes, you also need time for yourself – Me time! If you need more convincing take a look at this great article on helpline.org: How to lose Weight and Keep it Off
In terms of Food – glorious food – the question is obvious: What should you eat? The mystery to unfold is that all proteins, carbohydrates and fats are not made equal (the details of what these actually mean is coming in the next post on The GOODista).
Healthy Weight Loss: Junk Food Jungle
We have become used to a society where processed foods, or junk, is everywhere. Even when we think we are making healthier choices, the quality of the foods may not be that good for us. You need to crawl through a junk food jungle and deploy some clever tactics to understand. Link back to the highlighted posts, so you can recognise what ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ are in our supermarket shelves today.
Healthy Weight Loss: Healthy Gains
With your health numbers in place – do yourself a few basic favours:
- Think fresh food rather than cans, packets and frozen easy meals.
- Swap out snacks, candy and ice cream and make it real treats for special occasions.
- Colour beats white every time in food. White refined sugar, flour, and margarine is not as good as honey, whole grain, and olive oil. Potatoes, pasta, and rice is not as good as carrots, quinoa and bulgur. The opposite is true for drink. Water beats soda, wine and beer.
- This is not a diet. You do not need to feel that you are cheating or breaking some rule. You aim for more good than bad – and avoid the really ugly guys.
The best way to start making better choices is to make small step by step changes. One of the basic concepts of gaining more understanding is also to grasp the concepts behind the Food Pyramid, Serving Sizes and Portions.
Healthy Weight Loss: Food Pyramid
The Food Pyramid concept was published for the first time 1974 by Sweden‘s National Board of Health and Welfare to show what was considered as both cheap and nutritious for the Swedish population. Since then many countries have replicated, and diversified the pyramid based on their cultural backgrounds, and national health numbers. Whilst the early version showed nutritious foods, it did not tell you how much of each food group was supposed to be eaten. Today, we have food pyramids that show basically four or five groupings as seen on the right from USDA. The Servings were here introduced – so what are they?
This has been much misunderstood, as it is assumed that the serving size is maximised as 1 serving size per day of whichever food you are looking at. A “serving” is the amount of food that experts recommend you eat (like 1 cup of milk or 1 ounce of bread). Servings are listed on a food’s nutrition facts label too. This is confusing, especially when you know that during one day you can have as much as 5 – 7 servings of vegetables, whereas only 1 of oil. A “portion” on the other hand is the amount of food you choose to eat for meals or snacks (like a plateful of pasta or a handful of raisins). Add to this the fact that children, pregnant women, athletes and those recovering from illness or surgery have different needs.
The big secret is that there is no secret to healthy weight. Common sense and understanding overall that it is healthier foods you need to increase – rather than staring yourself blind at the fact that you had one dice of cheese ‘too many’ – that is the way forward.
Healthy Weight Loss for Healthy Gain – Easy does it
The easier way to tackle this is to:
- Look at the Plate guide which gives an idea of what is good for you over a day – and put both serving size and plate into action.
- It is also far more rational – especially over the course of our busy days – to make sure you get as much nutritious goodness into you over the span of the day, and should you over or under do it — the next day you make up for it.
- If you want, The USDA has a free tracker of foods, and exercise. Check it out:
Easy does it. Step by step. The key is to go back to basics, and really getting back in to Food Groups, to get nutrients, energy and balance. Every day you need to eat protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals – the 5 Food Groups. You do lose weight slowly but surely, and get your health on track with fresh, real food that tastes great.
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Related and Recommended:
- Eating Disorders – Helpline.org
- Standard Serving Sizes for Common Foods – WMU
- Serving sizes for children – Build Healthy Kids
- Serving sizes and Portion Control – Dr. S Pratt, Superfoods Rx
- Life Altering Lifestyle Change – thegoodista.com
- Portion Contortion: Size Matters for your Healthy Diet – thegoodista.com