Eating Right, Feeling Right
Have you ever eaten a box of Krispy Kreme donuts because you were sad or stressed or because your craving for them was beyond control? If you have, then you know the guilt and anger associated with that binge. You also know how damaging it can be to your self-esteem to have so little control over your eating habits.
Not everyone suffers from an eating disorder, but few people understand the rituals of healthy eating and the effects on your body. The United States has been called the “Healthy Portion Country.” We love our buffets, our biggie fries, our king-sized sodas, and our mammoth pastries. No other country on earth serves portions as large as in the United States.
Studies suggest that diets high in fat and sodium, such as the typical American diet, may influence the development of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and high blood pressure.
Some people use food as fuel for their bodies, while others use it as a social tool, a celebration tool, a “gotta get outta this funk” tool, or a recovery tool. Many people see food as something you eat, not as something you think about. If you've ever driven while eating, eaten while conducting a meeting, or eaten when doing another chore, you are, in effect, saying to yourself, “nutrition and healthy eating are not that important to me.”
People with healthy eating habits have learned to treat food as a drug for the body. Not only do they know what to eat, they know how to eat, when to eat, and where to eat.
Nutritionists vary in their opinions, but overall they agree that breakfast should not be skipped. Many nutritionists suggest that you eat a healthy allowance of protein in the morning to give you energy. Many nutritionists also suggest that you move away from the three-meals-a-day idea and suggest that you consider “grazing” — eating a steady diet of healthy foods throughout the day. They suggest this controls hunger and assists in weight loss. Grazing could consist of eating raisins, grapes, berries, fibers, and some proteins throughout the day in place of unhealthy snacks such as candy, potato chips, or cookies.
Some nutritionists suggest that you eat up to six meals per day: breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, midafternoon snack, dinner, and a late-night snack — all involving the appropriate healthy foods.
The following tips can help you get started on a healthier food management program:
Eat a variety of foods.
Be sure to include fiber and whole grains in your meals.
Eat moderate portions (meat sizes no larger than a stack of playing cards).
Drink at least eight to ten cups of water per day.
Eat a portion of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables at every meal.
Plan your shopping list in advance.
Eat what you really want, but in strict moderation.