Diet for Your Health, Not to be Skinny

Diet for your health! Stop saying you are fat or that you need to be thinner. Those are negative thoughts about yourself.

Everyone is actually on some kind of diet. The true definition of diet is the kinds of food someone eats. So everyday whatever you eat, that is your diet.

Society however seems to habitually portray through ads for clothing and swimwear this perfect size 6 body that women should have. Not true ladies!

So stop letting society and advertisers body-shame you into feeling as if you must have a perfect little skinny body. Better yet, stop telling yourself all those negative things about your body!


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Diet for your health

You should diet for your health, not for how you look. As I previously mentioned we are always basically on a diet because we eat everyday.

What we eat routinely makes up our diet, but how much we eat and the combinations of foods we consume is what makes our diets healthy or unhealthy.

Constructing a healthy diet plan that you can stick to is what this blog post is about.

Let’s talk about changes to your diet, meal planning, and exercise that will improve your overall health, not just the size of your jeans!

There is No One-Size Fits All

First you need to understand there is No “one-size fits all” perfect image. There just isn’t one set description for the perfect weight and size. Everyone is different.

Also, everyone has a different perception of what they think is the perfect image of a great body. So forget about what looks great, that isn’t our goal.

Your goal should always be what is the healthiest weight and size for your height and body type.

The best way to asses your healthy weight is to determine your Body Mass Index or BMI. According to the CDC1 the healthy BMIs are as the following:

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Try the CDC BMI calculator to get your own personal BMI by clicking here.

Stop The Negative Thoughts

First, you need to stop all the negative thoughts! Don’t think of yourself or you body in a negative way. When you look in the mirror don’t tell yourself that you are fat.

I’m not telling you to lie to yourself, not at all. But look for the good things you do see in the mirror. Tell yourself how great your hair looks.

Perhaps the jeans you have on really fit good or that dress has a slimming effect. Focus on the good and develop a positive attitude as you work to improve your health. The image will improve as you go.


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Remember You’re Dieting For Your Health

Fat and overweight are ugly words. Especially to those of us like me that have struggled to lose weight all of our lives. They instantly cause negative feelings inside of us. Those two words conjure up all kinds of negative images of ourselves in our minds.

Again, remember you’re dieting for your health! The minute you let yourself go back to the mindset of dieting to lose weight or get “skinny” then the diet becomes a dreaded task.

A diet to lose weight oftentimes is an overly restricted meal-plan made up of foods you can barely tolerate, in quantities that leave you begging for food all day.

When you feel hungry, miserable, and unsatisfied then you are more prone to giving up or at least cheating on the diet. Usually giving in to a binge eating episode.

How is Dieting for Your Health Different?

The main way that dieting for your health (instead of looks) is different is because you aren’t focusing on the scales. Your main focus is not on getting to a pre-determined perfect weight or jean size.

When the pounds aren’t coming off as fast as you feel they should then you feel defeated or discouraged.

Dieting for your health gives you instant gratification each time you make a healthy food choice of knowing you did something good for your body and overall health. You start to feel the changes as you have more energy and simply feel better all over.

You will feel full, and satisfied so you won’t easily give up on the new changes to your eating habits.


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How to Diet for Your Health

Obviously, to diet for your health, you do want to be at a healthy BMI like we talked about earlier in this post. So if you are overweight, then yes, you will need to lose some weight. Still our main focus will not be on the weight loss. The focus is on healthier food choices.

What does that mean? It means we don’t want to starve our bodies, we need food for energy. But we need the right foods for the energy and not the foods that causes our bodies to store fat.

For years the theory has been that the body stores fat cells when we take in more energy (calories) than we expend (exercise/use).

However, in recent years another theory has also been introduced. That is a hormonal imbalance. An article by ScientificAmerican.com explained it like this:

hormones—insulin, in particular—play in stimulating fat accumulation in different cells. Insulin is secreted in response to a type of carbohydrate called glucose. When the amount of glucose rises in the blood—as happens after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal—the pancreas secretes more insulin, which works to keep the blood glucose level from getting dangerously high. Insulin tells muscle, organ and even fat cells to take up the glucose and use it for fuel. It also tells fat cells to store fat—including fat from the meal—for later use. As long as insulin levels remain high, fat cells retain fat, and the other cells preferentially burn glucose (and not fat) for energy.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-makes-you-fat-too-many-calories-or-the-wrong-carbohydrates/

Therefore, in order to eat healthily, we should consider taking in fewer calories and limiting starches and carbohydrates. Limiting not eliminating. Also, add a little exercise and you’re on your way to a healthier lifestyle already.



Creating Your Healthy Diet

Let’s look at some ways to create your own personal healthy diet plan. Or perhaps you’d rather call it your new healthier life plan. I prefer that better myself. 🙂

First, what is a healthy diet? Different experts will give you different opinions of what they each think is the perfect healthy diet. So just try and stick with the basics.

You want more protein and fiber, but not high carbohydrates, sugars, and starches. You can decide which food with high calories are more worth it to you each day.

For my weight, height, age, and daily exercise I eat no more than 1200 calories a day. That is something each person has to decide for themselves. It’s based on the things I just mentioned and also consider if you are trying to lose, gain, or maintain your weight.

Divide your calories out per meals for the day. Also decide which meal of the day is usually your larger meal. Remember breakfast is really the most important meal! It helps kick start your metabolism for the day! Remember that doughnuts, bagels, and muffins are really just desserts, not breakfast!

Choosing Your Foods

Choose your foods wisely. You choose your own foods. You do not have to follow a laid out diet of restricted foods.

It works best if you sit down and plan out your meals at least a week at a time, then stick to it. If you already have your week planned out then you make your grocery list and go shopping. This method cuts down on having extra snacks and unhealthy foods in the house.


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You also don’t have those moments of trying to decide what to fix for dinner or just grabbing take out. In order to eat healthier you really need to avoid fast food and processed food. Eating out should become only a rare occasion special treat.

The following Havard Healthy Eating Pyramid2 can be a great help when choosing your foods.

Get Up and Get Moving

Add in some exercise! Any extra movement or exercise is going to help. Remember the theory of burning or using more calories than you take in? So if you are sedentary now, not doing any type of exercise, then adding any type of exercise at all is going to make a difference.

Start taking a walk for 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week. When I first started trying to add some exercise I found a video on YouTube called Walk Away The Pounds. This one video below is the one I started with, but I recommend any of Leslie Sansone’s walking videos.

You can add any type of exercise that you enjoy such as yoga, dance, or jogging and strength training. Join a gym if that it feasible and you have access to one nearby.

However, make your goals easily achievable and doable for you. Don’t set the bar too high in the beginning or you may set yourself up for failure. You can easily increase your goals as you move forward.


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Conclusion

In conclusion let’s go over it all. In order to develop a new healthier lifestyle you first and most importantly need to get rid of negative self thoughts/talk.

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Show yourself some love and appreciation. Also, learn to give yourself some grace. There will be times you slide off the rails, get out of your lane and won’t stick to your calorie or carb limits for the day. So what? Tomorrow is a new day! A bad choice on one day does not mean you should give up forever. Get right back on track the next day.
  2. Calculate and get your healthy BMI. From there decide if you need to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Then calculate how many calories you need to consume and burn each day to achieve your goal.
  3. Determine your exercise goals by how many calories you need to use/burn each day in relation to how many calories you are eating.
  4. Write it down!! Write out your weekly meal and exercise plan. Then also make your grocery list.
  5. Avoid take out, fast food, and processed foods. Make healthy food choices. Feel better about your health and your body. You will feel and see the results!


Now it’s Your Turn!

What tips do you have for eating and living a healthier lifestyle? I’ve battled a weight problem all my life. My weight indirectly lead to many of my health problems.

However, later in life, when I stopped trying to fit into what I thought was the perfect size 4 jeans, and started eating what was required due to my heart disease and diabetes, I’m now smaller than I’ve ever been in my adult life.

Over the past 10 years with many lifestyle changes and health concerns I’ve lost over 100 pounds. My top peak weight was 246 pounds and now I weigh 138 pounds.

Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post!

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References and citations:
  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html[]
  2. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/healthy-eating.htm[]

Comments

  1. Brenda West says:

    SHARON, this is a great post! I completely agree. Stop telling yourself that your starting a diet and instead say that you’re changing your eating habits, and watch the pounds fall off!!

    1. Sharon_Green says:

      Thank you, Brenda!! We definitely need to be careful about how we talk to ourselves! lol Show ourselves some grace and encouragement! 🙂

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