After New Year's this past year I walked into Barnes & Noble to check out their new releases because I wanted to use a gift card I had received as a Christmas present. What I found in the New Releases section was not what I expected. There was nothing but diet books !! And I'm not even embellishing about this at all. There was not one new release in the entire section. This was really disabling because I'm an avid reader and I expected to find a wide variety of books that were just released focused on different subjects as there always is.
Not so much after New Year's I found out. Once the holidays are over and we enter a new year people are dedicated to eating healthy and working out more because they failed to do so the previous year (and the year before that and so on). The sad thing is these people usually join a gym and go on a diet for the first 2-3 weeks after the New Year and then give up because they are not seeing results after such a short time period. I'm sure Barnes & Noble is not the only bookstore who does this after the New Year. After all, they are in business to make money and what better way to start off a new year than selling a plethora of diet books to unassuming people who come in droves looking for them?
This whole episode was very upsetting to say the least. As someone who has a good understanding of healthy living I will say that diets are a complete waste of time and money. Diets are not long-term programs that focus on overall good health. They usually consist of cutting back your calorie intake to extreme levels, eating nothing but a specific food category for an extended period of time, eating frozen prepared meals (often sold by the same companies putting out the book or an affiliate), and so on . In fact, there are so many different kinds of diets out there it's not even funny. Each one promises you'll lose weight and feel great. What they do not tell you for obvious reasons is that 95% of people who go on diets gain all their weight back once they get sick and tired of the diet or once the diet is over. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and is extremely profitable to the companies that sell diet plans, pills, and meals. Have you ever read the ingredients on a Nutrisystem package or any other prepared meal? If you have an understanding of each ingredient I'd be shocked since most people do not have a clue, including myself.
The simple fact is that diets are short-term programs and often times very unhealthy. Cutting your caloric intake to extreme levels can leave you feeling weak and deprive you of many nutrients you need to maintain good health. If you really want to maintain a healthy weight and a strong immune system you need to learn to eat healthy and exercise and make it part of your lifestyle not as short-term fix to your current weight problem. Eating healthy and exercising is an extremely broad topic but here are some guidelines to go by if you really care about your health and want to maintain a healthy weight:
1) Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night-This really depends on the individual and these are just basic guidelines. Some people require less sleep than this and some people require more. Only you know how much sleep you need to feel energized the next day. It is a known fact that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. If you want a strong immune system and want to maintain a healthy weight make sure you get plenty of sleep every night.
2) Do not skip breakfast- This is really the most important meal of the day. When you sleep at night you're fast since you're not consuming any food while you sleep. If you want to speed up your metabolism it is imperative that you do not skip breakfast since this gets your metabolism going first thing in the morning. You'll notice you'll have more energy through the morning and it will really help burn fat in the long run. I'm not going to recommend what you should eat but make sure it's healthy. Whole grains, a lean protein source, and fruit are always a great combination. I usually have a bowl of Special K cereal with Soy Milk and add blueberries to my cereal. I usually have a glass of Pomegranate Juice or Orange Juice with breakfast as well. On top of this I drink Green Tea for its high dose of antioxidants and because it is known to speed up your metabolism.
3) Eat a small healthy meal every 3-4 hours- I usually eat a 300-400 calorie snack every 3-4 hours to keep my metabolism going through the day. It is a known fact that by eating small meals a day you increase your metabolism. I usually pack a couple Tuna Fish sandwiches on Whole Wheat bread and add a Tomato and Romaine Lettuce. Another good meal is fruit with Cottage Cheese. As long as you're eating a light and healthy snack every 3-4 hours you should be good. As a rule of thumb you big meal should be breakfast and they should decline in calorie take through the day. It's a big misconception that lunch and dinner should be your biggest meals. What happens after a big lunch? You usually get tired in the mid afternoon which can really affect your work. By eating small meals throughout the day I do not suffer from these tired spells and usually have a ton of energy all day long.
4) Drink water-It is important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Most experts agree you should get at least 64 ounces of water per day. I've spoken to some doctors who say you should only drink when you're thirsty and not overdo it. As someone who used to drink near two gallons of water a day I can tell you that the only thing that came out of it was more time running to the bathroom. I recommend getting between 64-100 ounces of water per day. They say if you exercise regularly you should drink more than the recommended amount each day to keep your muscles hydrated.
5) Limit alcohol take- Most experts agree that a man should drink no more than two drinks per day and women no more than one drink per day. If you're really dedicated to maintaining a healthy weight and good health I recommend having a glass of red wine with dinner a couple times a week at most. Calories from alcohol can really add up and too much alcohol consumption is not good for your health.
6) Exercise regularly- If you do not have experience exercising at all I recommend joining a gym and asking the staff for help. I have also found that people who work out are very helpful when it comes to knowledge of exercise and nutrition. If you have the means and want to hire a personal trainer I've seen many people obtain great results by doing so and it's a huge boost having someone motivate you. Most experts agree that you should get at last 3 days a week of exercise for about an hour each session but this depends on your fitness level and goals. It's really too broad of a subject to get here but there are a ton of great resources online and in bookstores to help you get a workout program started. I recommend consulting your physician before starting a program though.
These are just a few guidelines to help you lead a more healthy lifestyle and to help you maintain a healthy weight. As a rule of thumb, stick to the perimeter of a grocery store since this is where you will find produce, lean proteins, and dairy products. The aisles are usually filled with boxed and packaged goods that are filled with sugars and preservatives that are not good for you.
Do yourself a favor and do some research on proper nutrition and exercise programs. Just remember that eating healthy and exercising should be a lifestyle and not a short-term fix. Stay away from the latest and greatest diets and choose to live a healthy lifestyle. You'll be glad you did.
Source by Ronald Cheli