Eating healthy is a challenge for most of us. If we lived in a bubble with no outside influences, it might be easier if we're willing to do it. But we don't live in a bubble. We're influenced by commercials, billboards, emails, spouses, kids, co-workers.... Every day we are assaulted by choices and unless our will is strong, it's super easy to stray from our healthy diets.
It's almost daily that I hear someone at work talking about wanting to lose weight. They talk about fad diets, new cookbooks for blood types etc, etc. I rarely hear them talk about working out. But, interestingly, they should probably be thinking more about that than healthy eating...
Recently, our workplace dietitian referred to this article about staying slim in old age. There are studies that now say exercise is more important than diet as we get older. Eating great every day is not enough. This is bad news for a lot of people, especially those in my parents' generation who do not "work out" per se. Their idea of exercise is gardening. While that's a good way to be active, it's not an activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it in your target heart rate zone for a long period of time. Nor does it increase bone density.
For those who refuse to work out or who cannot commit to it, diets and fad diets are often attractive. I see this all the time and they drive me crazy. Drink lemon water every morning. Drink five glasses of green tea every day. Eat only protein. Drink all your food.
Then there are the "it" food finds. The most recent is coconut oil. I never jumped on that bandwagon and I'm amazed who has. When our nutritionist talked about it, I was appalled - and so happy I never bought it. And what she said is common sense: saturated fats are solid. Coconut oil is solid just like lard, butter, and shortening. Personally, I just think of all that stuff reforming in my body and sticking to my arteries. Ew! Coconut oil is the worst oil on the market today. It's 90% saturated fat!!! (Lard, for reference, is 43% saturated fat.) The oils with the least amount of saturated fat are canola, safflower, flaxseed, sunflower. Cook with those. Put coconut on your hair, nails....use it externally.
Another gripe of mine is the milk/dairy haters. Sure, a lot of people are lactose intolerant but milk and dairy products are good for you. They are natural. Soy, almond, coconut milk....look at the ingredient list for those. They have to add tons of nutrients to make them healthy.
There are no short-cuts to weight loss. Eating healthy, making the right decisions....it's a constant thing. A diet that is not sustainable will result in only temporary results. You have to commit to a lifetime of eating right. That doesn't mean you can't have a bad meal....but that bad meal should be a rarity. No one perfect and we have to enjoy life. But don't buy into miracle diets or products. Make smart decisions.
For me, the answer to staying healthy is cooking my own meals. I have to eat what I buy so that means I'm not tempted to eat out. By cooking my own food, I know what's in it. I usually have a bad meal a week and that's a conscious decision on my part. By being too strict, you can ostracize yourself from fun social events and occasions. When my co-workers all pick an unhealthy place for an event, I can't say no - at least not every time.
Oh, and work out! Wake up early, stay up late, walk around outside at lunch... Find what works and make it a habit. It's not all bad and you'll feel so much better!
My health rant is now ended.