| June 30, 2011, midnight
You wouldn’t knowingly go to a gas station and fill up with poor quality gas so why do you put poor quality fuel in your human tank?
Our fast-paced lives are filled with food on the run – grab it and go – run through the drive-up or pop it in the microwave. The fast foods may be tasty and fill your tank, but far too often you are filling up with empty calories, salt, preservatives and fat.
The further the food is from its natural state, the harder your body has to work to use it and the more likely it is to contain ingredients that are actually harmful to your health.
Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fresh meats are the right fuel for a healthy body. Eating a high protein and low simple carbohydrate (starches) diet is the key to long-term health. This means opting for nuts, beans and lean meats instead of fatty, processed proteins; choosing whole grains over white and refined; using olive oil rather than vegetable oil; and grabbing fresh fruits or vegetables in exchange for fries, chips, cookies and packaged treats.
If you are trying to lose weight, decreasing your calories by 500 calories a day equals one pound per week. Soft drinks, fruit drinks and sweet tea are loaded with empty calories from sugar, so if you drink several glasses a day, you can lose one pound per week simply by switching to water!
Moderation is the key. Try making healthy choices that you can maintain for the rest of your life. A fad diet may help you lose weight in the short run, but you typically crave the very foods you are eliminating and gain the weight back when you go off the diet.
Weight loss pills to ‘jump start’ your diet are usually unsuccessful, because if you do not establish healthy eating habits and regular exercise, you tend to gain all of the weight back and more when you stop the pills.
Exercise is important. Find an activity you enjoy so that you will stick with it. Walking, bicycling, gardening or any activity that gets you up and moving helps. Add resistance to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while sitting still! This can be lifting weights, using machines, Pilates, yoga, or something as simple as push ups, curls and crunches. Doing a small amount daily in 5-10 minutes gives your body similar benefits as exercising 30 minutes at a time.
At Burke Primary Care, we want you to be a healthier, happier you!
Points to remember:
- Fill up with high quality fuel!
- Use smaller plates to help control portions.
- Eat slower, at a table with your family, TV off.
- If the label has more ingredients than you care to read, it probably is not good for you.
- Avoid sugary drinks.
- Limit convenience foods and fast foods.
- Avoid fried foods.
- Go for a stroll after your meals.
- Add regular exercise to your daily routine.