10 Healthy Eating Commitments You Can Actually Keep
Overeating and Anti-Aging
We know we can not stop aging so we will have to settle for slowing it down. This is not as hard as you would imagine. Anyone overweight will tell you that they want to “look better, fit into clothing, move more easily, be more energetic or improve health.” Here is another important reason for healthy eating. A healthy diet will lead to a healthy and longer life. Being cognizant of your eating habits is part of a healthy anti-aging lifestyle.
Perception is reality.
If you are perceived to be old and feel old, then you will be treated that way. When people talk to older individuals, often they tend to talk in a slower manner, talk in a louder voice, and talk using infantile language. No one wants to be treated in a demeaning manner. How many times have you wanted to tell someone that your hearing is fine? I am here. Talk to me and not my son, daughter, grandchild, companion, etc. as if they need to interpret for me.
Obesity is associated with poor health. It may lead to degenerative diseases including heart problems. osteoporosis, depression, diabetes, and the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. Our bodies were not made to carry so much extra weight. It will decrease your life expectancy and make your last years more difficult.
Everyone can and must take control of their own health. You are the only person who can take control of your eating habits. Here are ten commitments you can make and stick to in your quest for a healthier you.
10 Healthy Eating Commitments
The idea is simple, decrease calories and burn more than you intake and the pounds will come off and it will help you to live to a ripe old age. But of course, simple doesn’t always equal easy.
According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, only about one in every six Americans who have ever been overweight or obese loses weight and maintains that loss.
One big reason for the lack of success is that the more abrupt a complete overhaul of what we eat is attempted, the less likely we are to stick with it long term. But since yo-yo dieting is not designed to be sustainable, what should you do? Healthy eating is a solution.
If any dieting tricks make you think, “I guess I could do that for a LITTLE while” that’s a sign that you likely won’t have long-term success.
In short, eating nothing but salads for a month isn’t going to lead to life-long results. It is not a good anti-aging strategy nor does it relate to healthy eating.
Try these small and reasonable changes in everyday decisions. Over time they can make a difference and set you up for long-term success.
1. Drink water
Do you find yourself craving a little something extra after a meal, even when you’re full? Try drinking some water.
A stomach is like a baby, it makes noises and kicks around to let us know it’s unhappy, but it’s up to us to figure out why it’s making a fuss. Hungry and thirsty are similar signals and can be easily confused. This often leads to us eating a scoop of ice cream when our body is really asking for hydration.
If you feel a twinge of hunger shortly after a meal, try drinking a glass of water instead of rummaging through the fridge.
Even better: Replacing sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sweet tea with water during meals will help with digestion, to reduce calories, and help you enjoy the flavors of your food more.
2. Cut out bedtime snacks
When we are tired, we are more likely to indulge in unhealthy or mindless snacking. It’s easy to fall into a habit of wandering to the kitchen to stare blankly into the fridge at night. In this situation, leftover pizza is infinitely more appealing than a handful of baby carrots.
Have a substantial dinner and then stop eating at least 2-3 hours before you hit the hay. That way you won’t go to bed hungry and you won’t fall victim to the late night munchies.
Even better: Need another reason to cut out the night time noshes? Snacks, in general, give you a boost of energy, which means your sleep quality could be compromised by those late night treats.
3. Put it away
No matter your intentions, if you leave a 6 pack of cupcakes on the counter, it’s going to make them harder to resist. Leaving unhealthy snacks out in the open means your having to fight a mini battle every time you come into the kitchen.
Put unhealthy treats out of sight and keep the oranges and apples in plain view. It will make it easier to have the healthy stuff as your go-to and save the other snacks as a treat.
Even better: Don’t just put treats out of sight, put them on a high shelf or in the back of the pantry. Anywhere you won’t catch an accidental glimpse is ideal.
4. Cook more
As a general rule, anything you eat out at a restaurant, you can make healthier at home, and for a lot less money too. Short on time? Try making a big meal so you have leftovers to last a few days.
For some, this might not be the easiest or most enjoyable thing on the list, but it makes a big difference and can be a lot of fun once your creative side starts to kick in.
Gotten burned by having to throw away a cooking blunder in the past?
5. Rethink your route through the grocery store
Grocery stores are designed with the healthy stuff on the perimeter and the tempting treats in the middle. Going in with a plan makes it a heck of a lot easier to avoid filling the cart with the processed foods leaving little space, time, or budget for anything else.
Hit the perimeters first and load up on meat, dairy, fruits, and veggies that are easy to prepare and that you know you like. Leave the middle aisles for last. Grab only what you need and a select a few treats you just can’t do without.
6. Commit to making just one meal healthier
Getting all ramped up for a complete overhaul of your eating habits can be exciting, but is usually short-lived. Instead of going all in on everything, decide what meal you want to work on and commit to making it a little bit healthier over time.
For many people it’s breakfast. If you’re one of those people who have about 18 seconds to grab whatever you can reach on the way out the door, or you find yourself stopping for a muffin on the way to work, breakfast is a great place to start.
Think about what changes you want to make and implement the easiest first so you don’t have to stress about everything all at once.
7. Pay attention to sugar
Sugar, it’s almost impossible to avoid and resist. We would be batty to tell you to get rid of it. So, how about just start paying attention to it?
Read labels to see the sugar content and think about how many sweets you have had for the day. Once you are more mindful of how much sugar you’re having and what foods are unexpected sources, you’ll be in a better position to find areas where you can cut back on your sugar intake.
8. Don’t let work breaks revolve around snacks
A lot of us are fairly sedentary at work. When break time rolls around the vending machine is often the first stop because we are bored or stressed, but not necessarily hungry. Make it a point to get some movement on your breaks, call a loved one, or stretch. Then if you’re actually hungry after that, grab a snack.
9. Eat more fat
Just about every food is available in a low-fat version. Sounds nice, but it doesn’t help you control your weight. Your body needs fat to function and feel satiated. Cutting out fat in an effort to lose weight can leave you grouchy, hungry, and none-the-slimmer.
Focus on including plenty of healthy fat in every meal such as: Avocado, Olive oil, Nuts, Chicken, Fish.
Eating fat provides sustained energy and helps the body absorb vitamins.
10. Spice it up
Food that is loaded with flavor will be more satisfying than bland foods. You will not feel the need to eat so much to be satisfied.
Spicy foods can decrease your appetite and increase the body temperature which means more calories burned. Eating spicy foods won’t make or break your weight loss plan, but it can help keep you on track.
If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, try adding some more mild herbs and spices to your food. Experiment with dried and fresh herbs to find what you like best.
You Can Do It!
Making small commitments you can stick to leads to long-term success. Set realistic goals for yourself based on behaviors rather than pounds and you will have sustainable success in your quest for healthy eating for body and mind, one day at a time.
Try a few of these suggestions first and then go for the whole gamut. You know you can do it, so prove it to yourself. It is part of your anti-aging arsenal. A healthier you is attainable.
Read more about anti-aging at GuideForSeniors.com.