Instead of Dieting, Eat for Health

binge eatingWith nearly two-thirds of the United States population being overweight, it’s no wonder that over half of these people are on some form of diet plan. However, the majority of diets fail for many different reasons. The best thing to do for overall health and wellness is to try eating for health and not necessarily just for weight loss.

Why Do Most Diet Plans Fail?

In order for a diet plan to work, there has to be commitment by the dieter to follow through on the recommendations of the chosen diet plan. However, many diet plans make that difficult by making it hard to comply and stick with it. Some diets allow too few calories and too few nutrients to satisfy hunger. Many diet plans make claims that just aren’t true, leading to discouragement when the weight doesn’t begin to come off as promised. There are many diet plans available that cut out too many food choices, even eliminating entire food groups in some instances, leading to the potential for malnutrition and possible future health risks. Many diet plans are too restrictive, not to mention downright dangerous, leading the dieter into food cravings and potential binges.

Dangers of Dieting

Atkins appIn order for weight loss to occur, less calories need to enter the body than what the body uses throughout the day. Some diet plans place too much emphasis on calories alone, without looking at other factors such as fat content and nutritional values of the foods that the body needs to function properly. Also, it is important to consider that there is the possibility of consuming too few calories. The body uses a certain number of calories for basic functioning. When this calorie level is not met, the body must draw nutrition from healthy muscle and organs, leading to health risks over time. Without adequate nutrition and food balance, the body is prone to malnutrition, increased inflammation, improper organ functioning, and increased risk of all kinds of health issues and an increased possibility of disease.

Eating for Health

Whether you wish to improve your diet for weight loss, improved cardiovascular functioning, to reduce your disease risk, or for other reasons such as overall health and wellness, not only is it important to know which foods not to eat, but to make more mindful selections of foods that are necessary for optimal health and wellness. Choosing to eat healthy will naturally help reduce the intake of calories. For example, fat has more calories per ounce than both protein and carbohydrates. Those who reduce intake of fat-laden foods will naturally reduce caloric intake. It is also important to reduce intake of processed foods and foods that contain refined sugars and carbohydrates, as these foods are high in calories and offer little nutritional value, without giving a feeling of fullness. Processed foods have also been shown to increase overall inflammation in the body, leading to an increased risk of disease over time.chart

How to Eat for Better Health

When eating for health, it is important to understand that this is not a temporary diet, but a series of lifestyle changes to maintain for a lifetime. When selecting foods to eat, it is important to choose mainly whole foods from natural sources and foods that are lower in fat and triglycerides. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are healthy for the body. These foods provide a healthy source of carbohydrates for the body that is necessary for proper functioning of the body’s systems, for longevity, and overall health and wellness. In addition to healthy carbohydrates, choose plant based protein sources, such as beans, legumes, and soy. Fish is also a good protein source, as is poultry, in moderation. Reduce or avoid red meat, as it is higher in saturated fat.

Making Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

It is easier to make and stick with a healthier diet if changes are made slowly over a period of time. Give yourself time to adjust after each change so that each aspect of eating a healthy diet is easier to maintain for the long term. For example, begin with portion control, eating the proper foods in the right amounts concerning serving sizes. Then you can choose to cut out unhealthy foods and replace them with more natural, healthier food selections. When cutting out foods, only cut out one or two at a time to avoid feelings of deprivation. You can still enjoy some foods that you really enjoy, but limit these to smaller amounts than actual serving sizes and only eat them on occasion.

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