Food, in its most basic definition, is nutrition used by the body to sustain life. Elite athletes gain a new perspective on food as they push their bodies to physical limits. Eating becomes an exercise in fueling the body with the necessary ingredients to produce peak performance. That's not to say that an athlete never craves a double fudge, chocolate chip milk shake. But if an athlete ate an average American diet performance would begin to suffer over time. Eating the average American diet is what has gotten most of us into a health crisis where our waistlines are expanding and our cholesterol is climbing. But the good news is that it is rarely too late to make changes that will reverse damage and improve a person's health.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you stay on the road to a healthy diet:
- Make slow, simple changes in your diet. It takes time for your palate to appreciate some of the new foods you're going to throw at it. If you take away all of your favorites you will lose the enjoyment in eating and probably revert to bad habits.
- Make immediate changes today. This sounds contradictory to what was said in the first suggestion but keep reading. If your pantry is full of artery clogging, calorie packed snacks and the fruit bowl is barren, you need to make some immediate changes. Throw out most, if not all of the junk food and stock up today on all of your favorite fruits and vegetables. If you are holding onto the junk food because you're concerned about throwing away perfectly good food consider donating it to a food pantry. Your soul will feel good for doing a good deed and your body will feel better without all that junk food in your system.
- Limit indulgent, sugary treats to special occasions like birthdays or date nights. Try to stay away from mindless snacking and save the treats for celebrations. You'll be surprised at how much more delicious they are when they are eaten less frequently.
- Variety is exciting! It is easy to find five or six dishes that are healthy and easy to prepare but those five dishes will get boring after about three weeks. If you enjoy cooking, make it a point to try something new a few times each week. When you find a delicious dish that makes your mouth water and still keeps you eating healthy, share it with friends! We're all looking for new ways to eat healthy and letting your friends know that you are making efforts to eat healthy will solidify your determination to persevere.
Maintaining a healthy diet has both immediate and long term benefits. By taking small steps every day you are ensuring a happier future for you and your family.
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