To me health, wellness and fitness is a triad of effort. We have to control how much and what we eat, quantity and quality of our physical activities and the maintenance of our internal organs. This article will discuss the first of the triad, how much and what we eat.
The first article of this series discussed getting started on a program. In it I made suggestions of what to do when you start from ground zero. The next biggest obstacle to a top-notch health, wellness and fitness program is learning what to eat and controlling how much you eat. One of the seven steps I mentioned in Where to Start, Part 1 was that you should find a nutritionist. Although I’ve never hired a nutritionist, over the past couple of years I’ve really started reading a lot of materials on proper eating. There are many diets out there for losing weight, but what is more important is the long-term diet that you adopt.
Since I’m not a nutritionist, I’m only going to talk about very high level generalities. Again, talk to a doctor or nutritionist for your specific dietary needs. Common Sense says you need to eat…
- Vegetables — these energy packed items offer the greatest bang for the buck in my opinion. You have to pay attention to what veggies you are choking down as to many potatoes and not enough carrots will cause you to gain weight. The key is variety and moderation.
- Red meat and poultry. Personally, I’m not into RED meat, but every now and then I’ll grab a steak or hamburger. I do however eat a lot of poultry as chicken seems to be easier on my digestive system. The key here is how you prepare your food and again MOD-ER-A-TION! Instead of having a big steak and potatoes, eat a small portion of steak and some hot veggies with a salad.
- Fishes of the Sea — I think eating well prepared sea food is one of the easiest ways of maintaining good health and wellness. The plus side is that there are so many sea food products out there. One could never get bored with dinner with all these options.
Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you were hungry? Do you really remember what it feels like to be hungry? I started thinking about this article a few days ago and realized it has been a while since I was hungry. Most people rarely get to the real hunger stage as their daily actives generally have eating scheduled well within their hunger comfort levels. But every now and then your body will tell you that you need to eat and most people heed the first such call.
Since I haven’t really felt hungry in a long time, I decided to remind myself what it feels like so I could better describe what I think we should do for our daily eating habits. As of this paragraph it has been twenty-two hours since my last meal. My only nutrition today was water. Right now I know that I’m hungry. My body is generally fatigued, my stomach is making these involuntary movements, and I feel a little light-headed. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’m setting at about a 1 where 10 is “I’m so hungry I’m going to die in the next five minutes if I don’t eat something right now.” To be honest, I’ve never been at a 10 and I would suggest that most Americans are never outside of the 2 range. But my personal Hunger Index would be at say a 7. I know that I could easily go to bed in a couple of hours without eating and wake up in the morning, go to work and by lunch time I would be real hungry and have to eat. My personal index maximum is about 36 hours I guess.
The point I’m really trying to make here is that our personal Hunger Index is nowhere near the reality of the Death by Starvation Index. This experiment has taught me that we should know what our internal index feels like and work to change our internal index limitations. My suggestion to you is to find out what your Personal Hunger Index feels like. Go twelve hours without eating and see how you feel. Next week, I’m going to try a thirty six hour period of fasting so I can further understand my bodies Hunger Index.
In general, Americans eat not for hunger, but for entertainment and pleasure. An indication of this reality is that Americans eat portions that are way too big. No wonder sixty percent of us are overweight or obese.
There are many tactics that can be used to curb how much one eats. Here are a couple suggestions:
- When you go out for dinner, share a meal with your friend(s). Instead of four people buying four entrees, buy three and share.
- Take longer to eat the same amount of food. If you take your time eating your meal, you’ll find that your mind will catch up with your tummies indication that it is full. Usually, the mind trails behind the desire to eat by 10-20 minutes, which means that you are for the most part eating about ten to twenty minutes too long depending on the meal. Now you know why skinny people usually talk the most!
- Eat more times, with much less portions. So, instead of one breakfast eat two times for breakfast – only eat smaller portions. With this tactic, you could eat about six times a day.
Ok, so go out there and get in touch with your tummy and learn how to eat smarter. Learning what to eat, how to eat and how much to eat is a huge task and takes time and effort. This is the second step to increasing the quality of your health, wellness and fitness! What was the first? GETTING STARTED!