If it was as simple as just having a desire to look and feel your best, we’d all be rocking our favorite jeans, wouldn’t we?
I can tell you that desire is not the problem. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 56% of women and 42% of men are trying to slim down. This year, a whopping 45 million Americans will choose a diet as their way to get there and will spend a whopping $33 billion on weight loss products along the way! There seems to be a new diet each week to choose from.
Even with so many people spending their time, effort and money on diets to improve their health, it’s interesting that more Americans are overweight and/or obese than ever before.
The most common roadblocks to diet success I see are yo-yo dieting (switching from diet to diet) and on-again-off-again dieting (not sticking with a diet long enough to achieve sustained success). Getting healthy doesn’t require a crazy, restrictive diet, and it doesn’t have to be miserable or hard. It’s more about creating healthy habits and positive changes that you can continue over long periods of time. Again, don’t think about being miserable and restricted; think about learning to enjoy healthier ways of doing things that fit into your life.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to consume your every bite of the day. It does take awareness and a conscious effort to take healthier steps.
To get you started, let’s look at three super-simple changes you can make in your diet that over time will have a huge impact on how you look and feel. These three steps will help you be more aware so you can make a conscious effort toward a healthier you:
Know how much added sugar you are eating. Even though it’s been around for centuries, it’s demonized for causing weight gain and a variety of health problems. I’ll let you in on a secret (shhh!): Sugar is not the demon. The amount of sugar you’re having is the problem. For women, shoot for 100 calories per day (or about 6 teaspoons of sugar). For men, it’s 150 calories per day (or about 9 teaspoons of sugar). Start by replacing your most sugary treat with a healthier lower-sugar option. Many times, sugary drinks are packed with a massive amount of sugar and are the best place to start. Know how much processed food you are eating. Often, when people come to me for nutrition guidance, cooking fresh food is a thing of the past for them. Everything they’re eating comes in a wrapper. These processed foods are low-nutrient fuel for your body. Instead, they give you a false sense of satisfying your hunger even though your body is struggling to maintain health and run optimally.Once you reduce or cut out processed food, you need to replace it with better, more nutrient-dense food. Shoot to eat three healthy meals a day that are focused on whole food, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you begin to have more energy and feel better. When you lower your sugar, stop eating fake food and focus on whole-food nutrition, you lose weight and feel better. Healthy nutrition does not have to be complicated. Focus on simple, easy-to-implement steps and habits and continue them long term. It doesn’t matter how small you start. The most important thing is to move forward little by little each day.
Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition, which has offices in Durango and Bayfield and offers virtual-coaching options. She can be reached at 444-2122 or email@example.com.