No one has to be unhappy about the way they eat unless of course the way your diet has evolved has caused problems related to health, social issues and personal issues. I emphasise the first sentence because I believe (like the rest of the professional coaches out there), that diet shouldn't be restricted unless you are a full-time body builder. Having a flexible, balanced and mindful diet is the best thing you can do to your body if you do not take time to work out twice or thrice a week.
Firstly, let's talk about what you eat. What are the kind of foods do you eat and why do eat them? Do you eat the food because you are hungry, because they're tasty, because it is time to have a meal together with everyone else, because your says that you have these choices of junk you need not omit, or because it has been said that these foods are good for your body? Most importantly, are you constantly mindful about how your diet makes your body feel?
There are so many different kinds of food available today and all of us probably already know which foods are good and bad for us. What we need to know now is the differentiation of these foods according to carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Of course, not one food is only made up of one category thus the categorization is mainly done so in relative of the largest compound the food is made up of. Carbohydates consist of starch compounds such as rice, noodles, potatoes and fruits. We shall remove vegetables from this category as vegetables although starchy, has more fibre and water content than regular starch compounds. We also do not want to limit the vegetables to the amount of carbs one is to consume daily. Protein consists of meat, eggs, shellfish, and soy. Fats consist of oils, nuts, butter, cheeses, milk, etc.
These three pictures should give you a sufficient overall illustration of the healthy and unhealthy components of each category.
"Do you eat the food because you are hungry, because they're tasty, because it is time to have a meal together with everyone else, because your brain says that you have these choices of junk you need not omit, or because it has been said that these foods are good for your body?"
There is definitely nothing wrong with eating due to hunger but it is how long since the starvation and the real call of starvation that confuses people whether it is right to consume as your body dictates. Always have half a cup of water before filling yourself up with food as thirst may be the problem and not actual hunger. Starving yourself for too long also causes over-eating, which not only leads to obesity in the long run, but a lot of damage and discomfort to the belly. Over-eating expands the stomach in which in time, more and more food will be needed to help a person feel full. Thus, weight gain become inevitable with a lack of mindfulness in understanding your body alarms.
Healthy food can be inexpensive and tasty too. The reason why a lot of people think that healthy meals are expensive is because they have never really budgeted a whole year of unhealthy food and a whole year of good food. Once you start adjusting yourself to consuming real, good and healthy food, you will start to realise that you need not as much as you think to keep full and meals are actually just as affordable. Real food is also initially less tasty to most people as the taste buds have not been accustomed to tasting the real flavors of natural food. It doesn't take a whole year to adjust your taste buds but two to three months of consistent real foods will definitely readjust your palette. Readjust your palette and have fun playing with healthy recipes after! It all takes patience.
Being constantly mindful about your body alarms isn't what many of us today and that is why most of us head to the clinic at least once a month these days. Diet plays a huge part in maintaining a person's health as some of us may unconsciously develop food allergies as we age. Take time to account how you feel throughout the day. On days when you feel lethargic and moody, look back to your food diary and ask yourself what may be wrong. Was it the junk food with the high sugar content that led you to feeling moody? On days when you feel recharged, was it because you haven't had a whole lot of carbs and protein at a meal? Some times, protein and carbs can make you feel sleepy. Fats, like nuts, when taken in moderation, helps to keep your energy levels steady.
Secondly, are you eating right to maintain good health? Many of us fall sick from time to time and most of us try to stay away from the doctor as much as possible by popping a panadol when we feel pain. The truth is, excessive aspirin tortures the liver and we cannot always reach out for Panadols to aid ourselves. What is the best defense then? First, hydration. Hydration is important as ever and there is certainly no need to drink 8 glasses a day. Drink whenever you can. Second, sleep. Sleep at least 6-8 hours and have a good month to experiment how much sleep you really need. Thirdly, good ventilation. Make sure your environment is well ventilated and that the air is as purified as it can be. Lastly, timely meals and a good bottle of multi-vitamins.
Thirdly, are you eating to manipulate your physique?
Some people go on a certain diet to stay in shape, some people go on some other sort of diet to lose weight and some people go on extreme diets to put on weight to no avail. What do you need to do in each of these situations considering that you are not preparing for a body-building contest? The safest way is always to have real foods and adjust the portions according to your body type. Type of exercise also plays a huge part in the manipulation of one physique as muscle development and reduction fluctuates your scale more than the amount on real food on your plate.
Everyone is different in this case and the best way would still be the one suggested by a doctor and a certified personal trainer. Generally, to maintain your weight, do what you are you are doing and don't neglect the amount of regular physical activity you have been doing. For those who are looking to lose weight, follow the portion as mentioned on "how much food is enough" according to your body type. Stick to that portion for a good two months, start reducing the portion slowly after introducing more regular physical activity and you should do just fine. For those people who can't seem to put on any weight, eat slightly more than you need to as stated on "how much food is enough" according to your body type. In addition, do more weights and have more carbs after smashing your strength exercise.
I hope this article has cleared your mind and motivated you to readjust your intake. Our body is our temple, where we charge up to help take on our daily tasks and do greater in whatever roles we partake. Start today, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. If you fail, try again the next meal. Good luck!