Nutrition 101

With the vast amounts of nutrition information available today in the media it can be hard to know what to believe. There are new fads, super foods and diets emerging every day. Everyone is looking for the next magic trick that will change their life. We read something and think, now THAT is why I am not healthy.

But the truth is that nutrition is about the basics: eating a balanced diet and exercising. Pomegranates won’t save your life and a cookie won’t kill you. It’s what we do repeatedly day after day that dictates our overall health.

With all of the information available, I sometimes even find myself confused, but have learned how to decipher the facts. Below is my go-to list.

  1. There are no good or bad foods. Everything fits in moderation. Depriving yourself or cutting out food groups only makes you crave it more. Find a balance that fits your lifestyle.
  2. There is no such thing as a “super food.” Most foods are healthy in their own way. Eating 1000 chia seeds per day will not change your life like the media promises. Eating a variety of foods will give you an array of nutrients to benefit your body.
  3. Everyone is different. This is very important to remember. What works for one person may not work for you. You must do what is best for your body, not someone else’s. Experiment and find what fits your individual needs.
  4. Rely on nutrition professionals. Just like you would only let a doctor give you a physical exam, only get nutrition information from reliable sources. The real nutrition facts are based on years of thorough research with proven results, while many fads and diets are based off of little research and in many cases long-term effects have not yet been proven. A prime example is the Atkins diet. Initially it results in weight loss, but the diet can cause illnesses long-term. Even some doctors may give you nutrition advice that may be based on opinions. My advice:
    1. Don’t believe everything you hear.
    2. Question it.
    3. Refer to a nutrition professional for guidance
  5. Be wary of the internet. Know your resources when looking for nutrition information. The most reliable sources are websites that end in .gov, .org or .edu. These are government regulated websites that contain accurate information.
  6. Health and Weight loss are not magic. Everyone is looking for the magic pill or food that will help change their life. It is exciting to think that this diet will work or that this food will save you. It’s all marketing, people. Companies do a great job making foods and pills look good to increase sales. Healthy living comes down to eating a variety of healthy foods and exercising. That’s all.
  7. Eat Intuitively. This is perhaps one of the most natural but hardest things for us to do. Most of us are very disconnected from our bodies. We ignore our hunger cues, we eat past fullness, we skip meals and we eat emotionally. Without the ability to listen to our bodies it is impossible to reach our goals. You could follow a diet that tells you exactly when and what to eat, but that can only be maintained for so long. The steps are simple: eat when you are hungry, eat slowly, and stop when you feel satisfied, not full. This alone can have a huge impact on your weight and health. Behavior change should be the first step.

If you are looking for someone in your area to help you with your nutrition-related questions, I recommend seeing a dietitian that can guide you based on your individual needs and preferences. Click here to find a dietitian near you. Have it Your Weigh.

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