Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Fit Focus with Jacque Butler

Eating Well in a Nutshell

When people ask me questions related to health and wellness, most often the subject has to do with food. It makes sense; not everyone exercises, but everyone does eat. And I’m glad there is interest in nutrition because—and I know I sound like a broken record to those who know me—diet is 80% of weight loss and management. We really are what we eat.

Here are my most basic and general tips on eating well. (In weeks to come, we’ll drill down into the specifics of this stuff.)

1. Surround yourself with nutrient-dense foods. Don’t buy the junk. We are a society that thrives on convenience. If what’s convenient, meaning right there in your fridge, is healthy, that’s what you’ll most often eat. And there’s nothing easier than grabbing an apple from the fridge.

2. Stop making excuses. You can find a reason every day to “make an exception” and eat junk. It’s someone’s birthday (cake), it’s the Fourth of July (hot dogs and chips), it’s the last day of school (ice cream), it’s my vacation (free for all), the kids have a game/dance/karate/piano (Pizza Hut delivery), Girls’ Night Out (chips & salsa and margaritas), etc. All of those exceptions add up to a diet full of junk…and weight gain.

3. Eat mindfully. I’m not saying our diets must be perfect all the time. But I do suggest really thinking through the cheats. Is it worth it to you…really? Is the food you’re about to eat truly delicious? How much do you need to satisfy the craving? Are you eating more than that? If the answer to the first two questions is yes, then go for it. But pay attention to the second two questions as well.

4. Portion control is really important, but when you’re eating truly nutritious food, you can eat a lot! There is practically no limit to how many fresh, raw veggies you can eat, so go for it!

5. Drink water! Thirst gives many of the same signals as hunger, so if you’re well hydrated, you won’t feel as hungry. Additionally, water is what our bodies need above everything else. Being well-hydrated will increase function in many areas.

6. Eat small meals throughout the day. You must fuel the metabolic fires! This will also help you avoid the super hungry/super full cycle. Feeling generally satisfied throughout the day feels good.

7. Avoid sugar. We are conditioned to believe fat is the culprit, but in fact our bodies need healthy fats. We don’t need sugar. As my former trainer bluntly put it, “Sugar makes you fat.”

This is barely skimming the surface; there will be more details to come!

Best in health & happiness!

Jacque Butler is the owner of JB Fitness in Glenwood, Iowa. For tips on fitness & nutrition, you can follow JB Fitness on Facebook.

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