While overeating is a common problem there are also many times when we don't eat enough and that can be a problem too.
Food is our fuel and when the tank is on empty, it affects our metabolism and hinders our physical and mental performance.
I find that there are generally two main reasons why some people don't eat enough. The first reason is because of "weight loss" intentions and the other reason is because of "being too busy to eat". The "weight loss" reason stems from an intentional effort of restricting calories with the idea that this will help lose weight quickly. The "too busy" reason happens when life is going faster than the speed of light and food falls to the wayside.
Let's dive into how both of those reasons play out and some tips on how to overcome both so that you can fuel your body the right way.
Did you know that most people who eat the "Standard American Diet" aka "SAD" are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids?
You might be asking "why ARE omega-3 fatty acids so important and can't I just take a fish oil supplement and eat whatever I want?"
There are like a MILLION benefits of having adequate omega-3s in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health and decrease inflammation in the body. (Inflammation is the underlying cause of many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and diabetes.) They also help to regulate blood sugar, balance your hormones, keep the cardiovascular system healthy, and lower cholesterol.
While omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for health, there is an over-abundance of them in the typical American diet, and because they compete with omega-3 fatty acids in the body, having too much omega-6 can wipe out omega-3. When these two fatty acids are not in balance, our health suffers. Not good.
We live in a world in which we have been tricked into thinking that we could do whatever we want...eat whatever we want, abuse our bodies however we want...and then take a pill, or have some kind of medical treatment to erase it all.
But it doesn't work that way. Our lifestyles and eating habits play a very important role in how our future will play out. The major diseases plaguing us today...obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, some autoimmune disorders, dementia, etc....are mostly due to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
You can't erase a lifetime of bad habits with a pill or a medical treatment.
Do you ever look at the nutrition label on the packaged food that you buy?
If so, what do you pay attention to the most?
The fat grams? The protein? The carbs?
You know that tag line for snickers? Snickers satisfies you. Well...smoothies satisfy ME. Because I load them with TONS of nutrients that give me energy and staying power. If you hate the idea of drinking something that is super healthy and would rather eat an artificially flavored , corn-syrup filled piece of candy that contains partially hydrogenated crap (aka Snickers bar), than don’t bother reading the rest of this post.
What’s on your agenda for this week? Planning on grilling?
Here are some simple strategies to keep in mind for eating well at your summer BBQs, along with a 20 minute workout you can do while the grill is warming up.
BBQ season officially started up this weekend and with that comes along lots of chips, dips, and other not-so-healthy snacks. And this also happens to be the very time of year that many of us are wanting to look our best for the summer. For ladies that means wearing a swimsuit on the beach without a cover-up. For guys that means being shirtless by the pool.
Avoiding all that garbage food that shows up at most BBQs and summer parties can be part of your strategy for eating well this time of year. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies for making this happen. So let's get to it!
Sugar is addicting...
The average American consumes approximately 20 teaspoons of added sugars daily. The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake be limited to 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women (heart.org). What are some realistic strategies for reducing sugar intake?
December is a high-stress month. Lots of month-end reporting for your job. The holiday season with all its pressures to shop, spend money, and prepare. And it also happens to be that time of year when lots of sickness is going around. No time is a good time for getting sick, but December is definitely at the top of the list. Getting sick at this time of year totally sucks when there is so much on the rapidly growing to-do list.
It also makes it harder to keep up with workouts and healthy eating intentions when you are sick. Fortunately there are ways to keep your power fueled and prevent sickness or minimize the duration and severity of a cold when it does happen. Let's get right to the point...
"I get very hungry at work and I start eating everything. How do I stop them from bringing that stuff to work???"
And my reply was..."You DON'T stop them."
When you are stressed, you want to eat junk food, yes?
Drown your sorrows in a pint of ice-cream. Wolf down a bacon double cheeseburger. Eat a big plate of fries.
This might seem comforting in the moment but it is the worst thing you can do.
When you are under stress, your body takes much longer to clear saturated fats from your bloodstream. Stress also slows down the speed of how food is moving through your digestive system, which leads to weight gain and increased inflammation. Increased inflammation leads to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, by the way.
So you have committed to a diet plan for yourself and you are super motivated and determined because THIS time you are going to stick to it. Your intentions are to follow it PERFECTLY. "That’s it, I’m going to be good starting tomorrow!" (whatever your definition of “good” is).
You start off like a rockstar eating perfectly. But then a few days go by and life gets in the way. You find yourself starving after a late unexpected meeting at work. Or there was no time to cook dinner after driving your kids to baseball practice. Before you know it, you ordered a pizza and 3 slices later your perfect diet intentions go up in smoke. Might as well give up because what’s the point, right?
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Megan Ántoni Placa, MS, CNS