Eating for good health can lessen your risk of these diseases, and improve your health if you already suffer from any of them. Day by day, meal by meal, we give our body the fuel it uses to function. This can be junk, or it can be healthy, nutritious and nourishing. Also, even though obesity increases your risk of degenerative disease, just because you are not overweight does not mean you are healthy. Real health is what is happening on the inside. You may not realize the cumulative effect of a lifetime of poor food choices until you already have been diagnosed with a disease.
To get started on eating for good health and longevity, follow the guidelines listed below:
Start a food journal
Spend some time analyzing what you currently eat on a daily basis. Most people’s diets follow the 80/20 rule. 20% of their food choices make up 80% of their diet (caloric intake). This happens because of habits, tastes and convenience. When keeping a food journal you don’t need to write down every bite you take. The goal is to find your triggers for unhealthy eating. For example, do you grab donuts from the lunch room, have fast food for lunch because of time constraints or snack on unhealthy food in front of the TV at night? Decide what makes or breaks your healthy diet. Awareness is the first step to change.
Make a commitment to better health
Ultimately, you are the only one who controls what you eat. It is up to you to commit to making eating for good health a priority in your life. It may be a big change from your current lifestyle. If you are not committed to a healthy lifestyle, you will quickly revert to your old ways. Why? Because – they are your habits and they are convenient! This does not mean every bite you eat must be “health food”. But the more you make good choices over bad choices, the more you will improve your health.
Learn what healthy eating means
Watch the movie “Food, Inc.” Do some research on line to learn what foods are the best for whatever disease you have or want to prevent. Ask people who are knowledgeable and whose opinion you respect. Read ingredient labels. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up on line and find out if it is healthy or not. Food manufacturers are very good at disguising unhealthy ingredients with uncommon names.
Experiment with foods you have not eaten before and see how they make you feel. Sometimes it is not the food that is unhealthy but how it is prepared. Learn new, healthier ways of cooking and preparing foods.
Make gradual changes and form new habits
You have been following the same eating habits for many years, so introduce changes slowly for the best long term results. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Pick just one of the things you identified when writing your food journal and make a healthier choice. Maybe it’s fruit or raw vegetables instead of chips with your lunch, or avoiding late night snacking. Stick to that for the next 21 days. When it becomes a habit, change another one. Slowly, with each change you implement and stick to, you will become healthier, and you will also find your body now craves healthier food instead of the unhealthy food it was getting before. This is because your body recognizes it as nourishing fuel, not empty calories to store for a later time.
If you are reluctant to make changes to your diet because you don’t think it will be tasty or satisfying, ask yourself how your current diet is working for you, and if your health is worth giving it a try. By following this process and introducing new foods and healthier food choices slowly, you may even find your tastes will change. By implementing these easy steps you can start eating for good health today and make a significant difference in your health.
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And you can get a free mini course on 5 tips to a healthy lifestyle at http://www.healthwellnessconnection.com, where Mary Ann MacKay shares her research promoting healthy living through nutrition, diet and a healthy lifestyle.