Imagine being in a room with 200 people between the ages of 18 and 40. If asked by a show of hands how many people in that room have ever dieted, nearly every hand, if not all, would go up. Statistics show that one in three women begin dieting between the ages of 15 and 20 and that the average time frame for which they stick to that diet is around four weeks. We live in a culture that has long been obsessed with image. Many times over, the high standards give way to dangerous results. So instead of fixating on how little you should eat, only to get discouraged and go on a preservative ridden binge, here are some helpful nutrition tips. The secret? Not so secret at all. When it comes to eating well, quality and quantity should be your new mantra.
The Fruit Complex
Fruits and vegetables, they are the building blocks to thousands of diets since the beginning of time. As science would have it, fruits are good for you but vegetables are better. Why? Fruits contain sugar, natural sugar yes, but ultimately a lot more than vegetables do. By all means, pile on the vegetables and have your fruit too, just be aware that if sugar is something you are watching the amount of fruit servings you have should be limited. That being said, it is okay to indulge your sweet tooth once and a while. Just ease into the habit of substituting a candy confection with a fresh fruit one.
Oh those evil carbs! Want to lose weight? Eliminate carbs. Have you plateaued? It’s got to be the carbs. Over and over we hear that saying goodbye to this beloved food source is the answer to all our weight gain woes. In this case, the battle of the carbs becomes a matter of quality of life vs. quantity. People who eat little to no meat tend to choose pasta or rice based dishes for dinner. Some people crave bread more than they do sweets or fatty foods. The fact of the matter is, many people will have better nutritional success if they allow carbohydrates into their diet in a smart way. It would be preferable to consume an appropriately sized portion of carbohydrates and enjoy it than to eat to large a plate of brown rice just because it has been marketed as healthier.
Moderation, Moderation, Moderation
This is truly the point of all points. Modern portions have grown and predictably will continue to grow over time. Even martinis have doubled in size! Twenty years ago we were taught that a serving of steak should be no larger than a deck of cards. When is the last time you’ve seen one on a menu that actually is? Balance is not solely about checking the major boxes of the food pyramid each day. It is also about consuming the recommended serving size of each food group. This is precisely why it is ok to have a little ice cream or pizza once in a while, just put the emphasis on little. The healthiest people aren’t culinary drill sergeants, they’re realistic.