The picture on the right is of my beautiful daughter, Michele, on her first birthday. Birthday cake is not diet food, but it is possible for birthday cake to be part of a healthy diet. It depends upon the cake, the quantity and how often you eat it. We didn't let Michele eat the whole cake.
Mirriam Webster's Deluxe Dictionary says "diet" is food and drink regularly provided or consumed. Diet has become a dirty word because so many have made money telling us "diet" is all about losing weight by eating the strange things they recommend. I won't repeat the strange weight loss ideas some of them suggest, because they don't make sense and I don't want to give anyone the idea that they do. At some time in my life I have probably tried them all. This article is "not" about losing weight, it is about being healthier.
The diet industry has really done a job on the self esteem of women and girls especially. Television, motion pictures, and magazines have distorted and often altered the image of the perfect body. (That body you want to imitate probably has been retouched beyond reality, so how could you possibly hope to look like that? I wonder what affect the movie "Avatar" will have on our body image?) There is no perfectly "shaped" body to my knowledge, there is however a "healthy body". We are all meant to be shaped differently. We are not "cookie cutter" images, we are people, and each of us is perfect in our own way.
Listen everyone, young or old, life isn't about "FAT" life is about "FIT".
I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. I am not a trainer or exercise guru. But I have some suggestions for a fit life, and if it sounds good to you, "ask your doctor" if it is right for you.
Most people can eat everything in moderation. Portion control is not about counting calories, in my opinion, it is about the size of the serving. Stop and think....just how big do you think your stomach is? How healthy can it be to repeatedly stuff it beyond its intended capacity? Measure your portions if you must, but don't overeat. It is better to eat more smaller meals instead of three enormous meals each day.
Take smaller bites and chew your food well, and no second helpings. Eat slowly. Have a pleasant conversation with friends or family while eating. It takes time for your body to recognize that it is full. Chewing your food longer will make it easier to digest and will cause you to eat less. Pay attention to what you are eating. Enjoy the taste and feel of your food, but slowly. There seems to be some controversy about whether you should drink with your meals. If you want something to drink with your meals make it water and sip, don't gulp.
Eat a wide variety of foods, being in a rut can be a real roadblock to healthy eating. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible, and try new foods. Don't eat the same thing day after day. When you can, eat raw fruits and vegetables instead of cooked. They are better for you, and your body will feel better for it. Eat locally grown and in season as much as possible. Eat organic if it is available, and affordable.
Restaurant and Fast Food portions are out of control, and they have the nerve to brag about it in their commercials. When you order ask for a box to put half of your meal in, then take it home for the next day. Better yet, split the meal with your spouse, child or a friend. That will keep you from overeating and save you money at the same time.
Don't deprive yourself of the foods you like, but do eat sensibly. Eat a sliver of cake not a wedge, and savor each bite. Eat one or two candy kisses not the whole bag. Eat fewer high fat foods. If you are a meateater, eat smaller portions, and eat it less often, especially red meat. Eat high fiber foods often, such as; nuts, beans, and whole grains.
Teach your children to eat good food right from the start. Make the food with kid appeal. Arrange the food in funny faces or animal shapes. Let them eat finger foods and dip them in healthy sauces.
MOVE THAT BODY
You don't need to spend your hard earned money on the latest gadget for exercising your body. Those expensive pieces of exercise equipment often don't work, may cause injuries, and clutter up your house. I love computer games as much as the next person. They are fun but I doubt they are very healthy. Wii is an exception that makes you exercise your body as you play. I don't have a Wii but they seem to give you a workout. Get outside, people need fresh air, sunshine and to exercise more than a thumb or finger.
In my humble opinion the best exercise is walking, and after that it is whatever activity you love enough to do on a regular basis, for pleasure. I'm not a big fan of children playing a sport where parents are screaming at them to do better and fighting with coaches about how their kid was wronged.
I am a big fan of families playing ball in the yard or at the schoolground or park. Laughter is great medicine and playing ball for fun is great exercise and brings a family closer together. Taking long walks with your kids is enjoyable, nature walks are great. Gardening with your kids is good for everyone. Dancing with your kids is good exercise and seeing you act silly in front of others just might make your children less self concious. Not all activities have to be organized or cost money. The important thing is that you all do it together. Don't be a passive-bystander-parent. Get in there and set a good example.
Diet and exercise don't have to be dirty words. What is your favorite "free" exercise?
2010 (c) Sharon A. Soffe