Start with the basic food rules to improve eating habits
Every day I take time to clear my mind. I go on either a hike or walk, and I think about what is going on in my life. The other day after my walk I got back to my car and I found a text from one of my clients. He asked me to share with him an example of my daily meal plans. So I did:
4:30 a.m.: a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, water and local honey, cooked on the stove
10 a.m.: a kefir yogurt with an apple
1-2 p.m.: scrambled organic eggs with veggies
4-5 p.m.: fruit (apple, banana, pear) or sometimes a peanut bar
8-9 p.m.: anything my family had cooked at home (chicken stew with vegetables and rice)
I told him that this is an example of one day’s eating habits. However, I didn’t think it was enough information for him, so I told him the rules I go by:
1) Eat three to five times a day
2) Eat breakfast within 30 minutes after you wake up
3) Stay away from processed foods
4) Cook at home
5) Eat fruits and vegetables
6) Cut down your meat intake
7) Eat organic
8) Drink only water
9) No dairy
My client said that drinking solely water will be difficult for him. I compared the behavior of eating healthily with marriage: “Changing your eating habits is like a marriage — if you want the benefits you must take the whole package, even the things you don’t like.”
He responded, “Marriage is not easy.”
To which I replied, “You’re right. I never said changing habits is easy. Anything in life that is worthwhile requires responsibility, commitment, dedication and discipline.”
“Do you eat carbs?” he asked.
“Yes, I eat rice, pasta, bread and anything that is not refined, processed with chemicals or harmful to my health. It must be organic. Good carbohydrates are not the problem, because they actually contribute positively to your health. Bad carbohydrates include refined pastas, sugar, bread, processed pastries and other processed foods, which are bad for your health and contribute to obesity. It is OK to eat a pastry once in a while, but make sure it’s homemade. I eat pastries maybe once every two weeks.”
I ended the conversation telling him that before worrying about the nutrients the body needs he should make sure to follow the food rules. Then, we could continue on to the next step and take it one step at a time.
Most people are unsure about their diet and are confused thanks to all the inaccurate information. I recommend beginning small with the basic food rules, and you will see long-term results in your life.
Sandro Torres is a fitness professional and owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale. His column appears on the second Tuesday of the month in Body & More.
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