Half of you already cringed and had the desire to stop reading didn’t you?
As a personal trainer, I see my client’s faces drop whenever I mention the words healthy diet. The word diet has a negative connotation for most of us because we have tried “diet” and “diet” only to fail again and again, returning to our “preferred” foods and thus failing to meet our health goals.
But what does diet really mean?
According to the Webster’s-Merriam Dictionary, diet is simply: food and drink regularly provided or consumed for habitual nourishment. Well that explains a lot doesn’t it? A diet isn’t something you go on to lose weight and then go back to “normal” eating; it is simply the way we eat and drink on a daily basis, thus causing a habit, and further a propensity to eat certain foods.
So now that we’ve gotten the definition out of the way, we can begin to change the way we view the word diet. What we really want to focus on when beginning a lifelong change in our diet, henceforth referred to as eating pattern, is changing our habits.
In order to eat healthy, first we must determining what that means. So many of us have tricked our bodies into craving processed, sugary foods that we are no longer to listen to the needs of our body, thus we eat based on our feelings and cravings rather than eating to fuel our body.
To begin to eat healthy, we must effectively turn a huge cruise ship that’s been heading in 1 direction for a lifetime in some cases; this is a slow and gradual turn. The important part of this journey is to keep turning even when we fall down for a period of time.
What does it mean to eat a healthy diet?
A truly healthy diet consists of whole foods, foods that come from the ground, and healthy minimally processed meats. In oversimplified terms, the less processed a whole food is, the healthier it is. When we eat foods that are unnatural to our bodies, such as refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, the list goes on, our body can’t properly process this diet, thus causing us health problems and weight gain.
Think of the body as a machine; when we introduce substances to the machine that it is not programmed to consume, the machine malfunctions, hence diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. ensue.
To change our diet means to change deeply ingrained habits; our bodies have adapted to “enjoy” these unhealthy foods over time, so don’t give up when beginning this monumental change. The long-term benefits of eating a healthy, whole food diet are extensive both in body function and aesthetics.
Giving in to the short-term desire of eating the cookie or chips is never as satisfying as looking great naked or getting off all of those dreaded meds. There is no tomorrow; start the change today!