A list of Do Not rules usually causes some people to mentally defend themselves. Attempts to control a healthy weight require a positive attitude, not a negative approach. A recent magazine cover at the check-out stand declared that there were 5 definite Do Not rules for weight loss. Just reading this headline made me cringe. Food and nutrition should be a constructive experience. When negatives are encountered, human nature wants to revolt or justify. This can be counterproductive.
The first negative ordered: Do Not miss breakfast. I agree but I advocate a more positive action: Eat breakfast. Eating when waking jumps starts metabolism. People who eat breakfast control their weight better than those who skip it. Adding calories before starting the day avoids overeating throughout the day.
The next non-positive was: Do Not overeat “healthy food”. I agree with that one too. Eat healthier foods but control the amounts. Alternatives to fatty, sugary options contain calories too. Fruit, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts, avocados, granola, fruit yogurts, dark chocolate each contain valuable vitamins and minerals, as well as, extra calories.
Another Do Not said: Do Not over-do portions and amounts. A positive way of saying this is: learn what a healthy portion size is. Commit to eating just what your body needs as opposed to as much as you like. Pasta is healthy food but a 12-inch plate of pasta is enough to feed 4 people.
Continuing on the list was: Do Not eat standing up. Politely treat your body to a chair, couch or bench while eating. Mindfully taste and savor and chew and swallow the efforts of purchasing and cooking and presenting that which passes your lips. I believe that ice cream cones are exempt from this recommendation.
The following advice recommended: Do Not over-do low-fat foods. This sounds like an oxymoron. Let me put it this way: Low-fat foods often contain extra sodium, double the sugar, and more chemicals. Because these foods are often lighter in weight, people tend to eat more thinking that they are healthier. Consuming a smaller portion a favorite high-fat food is often more pleasurable and healthier than overeating a low-fat version. Research has proven that certain fat is necessary for the body. Eat the real thing.
Lastly: Do Not drink the wrong beverage. This advice continues to involve an opinion. Who is to state which is the wrong beverage? Limiting high sugar and alcohol drinks can fit into a healthy meal plan. Feeling guilty for sipping on a refreshing lemonade or enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is counterintuitive. Water is always the best bet, low in calories as well as speeding up metabolism and decreasing craving for sugary drinks.
Approach a healthy intake from a Can Do attitude. Avoid the Do Not fear of eating. Consuming food can be one of the pleasurable acts of the day.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.