There are many ways to lose weight – some sensible, others not so much. In fact, the internet is loaded with tons of ridiculously bad advice on how to slim down. Despite what you hear in the media, the basics of achieving a healthy weight haven’t changed all that much in the past few decades. Sure, there is a lot of debate about the details, but the overall principles remain unchanged.
Here are eight time-tested principles to living a healthy-weight lifestyle.
1. Do no harm. A healthy-weight lifestyle is safe and respectful of your physical and mental well-being. You shouldn’t feel deprived, fatigued or frustrated. In fact, if you don’t feel good, you’re probably doing something that’s not good for you.
2. Ditch the diet. If you’re considering a diet that doesn’t seem like a reasonable and sustainable way to eat most of the time, not just for a month while you’re trying to lose weight, than it’s not for you. You’re better off giving up on dieting all together.
3. Nourish your body. Eat enough food to nourish your body and meet your basic metabolic needs. In other words, don’t starve yourself. When you feel hungry and deprived most of the time, it can negatively impact other areas of your life. When you don’t feel well, you don’t do well.
4. Eat a plant-based diet. The science is clear. Although meat and animal products can be part of a healthy diet, we need to eat more vegetables, fruits and unrefined whole grains. Eating a plant-based diet and less processed food supports a healthy lifestyle by promoting weight loss, improving heart health, maintaining normal blood pressure, and preventing diabetes. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, aim for at least five servings per day; ideally eat more veggies than fruit.
5. Be fat-savvy. Although fats are part of a healthy diet, saturated fat from animals and processed foods is not a good choice. Aim to get most of your fat from healthier sources such as nuts and seeds, olives, avocados and cold-pressed oils. And don’t overdo it. Healthy or not, eating too much fat can contribute to weight gain.
6. Eat in moderation. Moderation in anything is hard to come by in our culture. We seem to always be looking for more, more, more, faster, faster, faster. When it comes to eating however, it’s better to eat less and eat slow. Not only will you digest your food better, you will feel satisfied with less. And slow mindful eating enhances the pleasure of the dining experience.
7. Move it. A healthy lifestyle is a physically active lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how well you eat, you still need to move. Healthy eating and exercising go hand-in-hand. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, and you can’t eat your way to physical fitness. You need to do both. No matter what age or stage of life you are at, being active will improve your sense of well-being.
8. Get personal. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to healthy eating. The best plan for you is as individual as you are. It should be created around your personal eating style, taste preferences, schedule, financial means, family needs, and health considerations. Figuring out your personal best plan can be complicated, so don’t hesitate to get help from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.