Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 10 Diet Tips

Sometimes you just have to make a list... here are some of my favorite tips about nutrition:

1. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Spend less time around those who aren't
I can't overstate the importance of this one.

2. You've gotta have goals
I'm going to make a bold statement. Goal setting is the single most important thing you can do. period. Without a goal, you're bumping around aimlessly. This is bigger than nutrition, weightless, or diet. Setting a goal creates a benchmark for your success in any realm. Not only does a well-written goal tell you where you're going, how you plan to get there, but it should also tell you how far you've been.

3. Tell others your goals
Not only with this help with some accountability, but your friends can encourage you along the way.

4. Your home is your fortress
Sometimes you just gotta have an Oreo. But here's the deal, don't bring them into your house. If you've just gotta have them, go out and get the small snack size pack. Throw the Girl Scout cookies away, or if you just can't because you spent $27 on cookies, give them to someone who will keep you honest (see #1, #3)

5. Don't eat anything your grand-parents wouldn't recognize as food
Gogurt, Splenda, Stuffed Crust Pizza, Energy Drinks, Jalapeno Poppers, Pop Tarts, Chicken Nuggets, Fritos, Skittles, Fruit Roll-Up, Juice Box...
'Nuf said!

6. Don't eat anything you don't recognize as food (see #5)
I have a book on my shelf that is 1-1/2" thick, it's an encyclopedia of food additives. You wouldn't believe the things that are added to our food. Stuff to make it colored, stuffed to make it not separate on the shelf, stuff to make it last longer, taste sweeter, on and on. The way I see it is this: if it's created in a lab, chances are your body doesn't have any idea what to do with it. So one of two things can happen: 1) (best case) it just passes right thru you; 2) (worse case) it gets stored somewhere. Neither is acceptable.

Spend a little time on this site, and you'll see what I mean about food additives: http://www.wildflavors.com/?page=flavor_profiles

7. Eating out, Just Say NO
Easier said than done, I know. But if you at least try, you're more likely to eat out fewer times that you would without the goal. Remember, the "chef" who designed the recipe at your favorite restaurant is not interested in your health. S/he is cooking for flavors, textures, smells, appearance, and experience. The price is added lard for texture and richness, salt for enhanced flavor, and so on. So keep this in mind when you order.

8. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
I call this the "Fresh U" most grocery stores are laid out so that all the fresh foods are kept along the perimeter of the store, because they have to be refrigerated. Here you'll find your friends broccoli, cauliflower, yogurt, lean meats, and eggs.

9. Shop from a list
So when you have to go down the long aisles that are outside the "fresh U", you only grab exactly what you need: coffee and tea, paper towels, oatmeal, nuts. And for the sake of Pete, don't go hungry!

10. Delete the word "Diet" from your vocabulary
"Diet" implies something that has a beginning and an end, and usually has something to do with losing weight - and fast. For a sustained weight loss, healthier lifestyle, and well-being, you're improving your nutrition. Focusing on the NUTRIENTS in your food. And this is a life-long process.

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