Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Angie Mitchell

Recent Posts by Angie Mitchell:

Nutrition and Weight Loss: Why Is It So Hard to Stick to a Diet?

ThinkstockPhotos-157175948.jpgIt has been found that up to 50% of women in the US are on a diet at any given time. Americans spend more than $60 billion on weight loss products. So with all of these individuals spending money and dieting, why are we still by far the least healthy country in the world?

Most of the reasons are due to the extreme and unrealistic expectations that diets force individuals to follow. So why is it so hard to stick to a diet?

  • Trying to change your life and not making it a lifestyle change: Anything that has a start and end date when it comes to food choices doesn’t make it a lifestyle change. If you think of it as “I only have to get through this for the next x amount of time,” this isn’t something that you could or should maintain for a lifetime. Learning how to eat meals and snacks that will nourish your body for the rest of your life leads to success for the long-term.
  • All-or-nothing mentality: Are you on a diet or completely off of one at all times? The key is balance. Allowing yourself to have all foods in moderation at all times has been found to be the most successful “diet” there is. Enjoying foods that you would normally think of as forbidden, but making sure to balance it with the good-for-you everyday foods is key. Instead of cheat meals or days, toss that thinking out and enjoy any food at any time.
  • No patience: Change is tough. Trying to completely overhaul your diet is a recipe for disaster! Instead, have patience by making small changes that will last. One week start trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet and figure out how you can make that a new habit. Once you have achieved that, move on to another goal such as packing lunch three times per week instead of one. Slow and steady changes have been found to be more effective, and you are more likely to stick to them.
  • Not nourishing your body: When you are walking around hungry, it is really hard to stick to a restrictive diet that has a lot of do’s and don’ts. A balanced diet that incorporates whole grains, lean protein, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy will help to make you feel full and satisfied and able to get through the day without the hunger pangs or guilt feelings for overeating. Aim for three food groups at mealtimes and two at snacks to guarantee a satisfying and balanced diet.

Studies vary, but between 5% and 20% of individuals that lose weight are successful at keeping it off long term. Those that are the most successful report following a balanced diet, self regulation by checking their weight once per week, averaging one hour per day of physical activity, eating breakfast, and maintaining consistent eating patterns across weekdays and weekends. Follow these tips to help add yourself to the list of successful dieters!

Looking for an app to help you track your diet?  Download our quick read for Angie's top 4 app choices for healthy eating! 

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Topics: nutrition weight loss snacks lunch diet

Nutrition: How to Incorporate Clean Eating into Your Diet

ThinkstockPhotos-450746389.jpgYou hear a lot about clean eating these days. Does it mean washing your veggies and fruits before eating them? Avoiding foods that come from the ground? Not eating things that fall on the floor?

What does clean eating mean?  It is a phrase that is thrown around a lot these days. However, there isn’t a true definition of exactly what this means. To some it means eating fresh such as fruits and vegetables. Others see it as not eating anything artificial such as dyes and additives. However, since there isn’t a standard definition of clean eating, here is how to incorporate clean eating into your diet.

Eat Whole Foods

Whole foods are just what they sound like! Instead of reaching for the apple-cinnamon oatmeal packet in the morning, have some oats with a chopped-up apple and cinnamon sprinkled in it (or try these other recipes for apples and pumpkins). This can still include some packaged foods, too, such as brown rice or quinoa, frozen veggies, and canned beans with the liquid rinsed off of them. Essentially you are choosing more foods that haven’t had anything added or taken away from them.

Check the Ingredients List

We lead busy lives, and it’s unrealistic to think that you will never take a shortcut in the kitchen. However, it is important to be aware of what you are eating, and the best way to do that is to always read the ingredients list. This is much more important than reading the information on the front of the box! Focus on the ingredients first, and don’t let terms like trans-fat free, reduced fat, or sugar free trick you into thinking it must be a healthy product. If you can’t pronounce or explain what the ingredient is and why it is in the food, put it back on the shelf.

Go Back to the Basics

Instead of buying granola bars or salad dressings, spend a little extra time making these items at home. You will not only cut out a ton of unnecessary ingredients, but you will also save money in the long run. Go through a typical day and find all the items throughout that you can start replacing with a homemade version. From the gas station cappuccino in the morning to the bottled stir-fry sauce at dinner, try to come up with as many homemade versions as you can to clean up your day.

Check in with Your Body

When you eat better, you feel better. This has been proven with many research studies, but try it out for yourself. Jot down your sleep patterns, energy levels, mood, skin and hair quality, and overall feeling and see if cutting out all of the extras doesn’t make you feel better, too. Look back at your results and the extra time spent prepping those whole foods will be worth it.

Keep in mind, clean eating means a lot of things to different people, so find what works for you, your health, and your family and go from there. If you have any questions about cleaning up your diet, please contact me at amitchell@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext. 239.

Click below for NIFS top 4 picks for healthy eating apps to help keep you on track.

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