6 Rules for Eating Healthier

6 Rules for Eating Healthier

by Diana Risell

I used to joke that I worked out so I could eat whatever I wanted. And I realize looking back that that’s exactly what I was doing: working out to offset my terrible eating. For a long time, it worked. I ate what I wanted – sodas, fast food, deli sandwiches, pasta during my vegetarian phase — in a diet based on cheap convenience. And then working out stopped working around mid-thirties or so, certainly after my kids were born when I had turned 40. I couldn’t work out enough to stop what came with my poor eating habits – weight gain, obese-level body fat, low energy, and sluggishness. Luckily I hadn’t (yet?) experienced what many in my family have struggled with: morbid obesity, diabetes, heart disease. Working out had helped me maintain the body I had for a long time, but it couldn’t save me from what I was eating any longer.

I lost weight, body fat and dress sizes the old-fashioned way with an Excel spreadsheet. It was like managing a large scale project: me getting healthier. The sodas, fast food, simple carb-loaded diet — how I had eaten for 40-plus years — had to go. My nutrition required a complete overhaul from what I ate to when, where, how, and why I ate. I learned that getting healthier was no different than anything else I wanted in my life. I had to work hard, read and get educated, invest time and money, and connect with like-minded people (you are the 5 people you spend the most time with!). I also had to stop saying “I know” (I didn’t!) and I had to apply a new set of rules for eating which helped me build healthier habits over time.

These are my six rules for eating healthier. I love that they aren’t complicated to execute, are largely visual, and easy to know if you nailed them or not. Of course, they aren’t easy; change is hard! But these six rules to eat by are a great place to start and to live by.

  1. Eat in color. Shades of brown or grey are for home décor. Your plate should be a rainbow. Color equals nutrition so long as it’s natural color. Most of your shopping budget and time should be spent in the produce section loading up on color.
  2. Vegetables at every meal. Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but your body can’t function without carbs, and veggies should be your primary daily source. The six to eight recommended servings of vegetables per day is hard to meet if you’re only eating them at dinner. Veggie omelets or salads for breakfast, chopped vegetables as snacks, and two vegetables at dinner will build a more plant-based diet that is essential for all of us.
  3. Eat breakfast. I never ate breakfast. Some days my first meal came at 11:00 am or 1:00 pm when I hurried to the office cafeteria. What a terrible message to send to my body: I might not feed you today! A great breakfast is protein-rich (and remember the veggies): hard boiled eggs, plain Greek yogurt, real protein shakes with veggies and low sugar, and last night’s dinner make breakfast easier. It is the most important meal of the day.
  4. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. Sixty percent of your body is water. Don’t hydrate and you’re just recycling the water you are already holding. Yuck! Start with at least 64 ounces of water every day and work up to your target. If you weigh 150 pounds, then 75 ounces is your goal. Don’t drink your calories. Drink water.
  5. Track. You’re likely not even aware of your eating habits. You just “eat” like you’ve always done. Keep a log of everything you eat and drink, including when, where, why, and how for a few weeks. Look for patterns: Are you always grazing at 3:00 pm? That’s something to work with! And you might just stop yourself from eating the donut if you have to write it down.
  6. Challenge. What can you do for 30 days? Can you go without alcohol, soda, bread, added sugar? Pick one. It doesn’t have to be about deprivation (although that list does tend to yield noticeable results). Can you eat breakfast, drink enough water, and have veggies at every meal for 30 days? This is how you build new habits.

Here’s to your best health!

Diana Risell | Nutrition Coach & Certified Health Coach | 469.601.2824 | www.DianaRisell.tsfl.com/explore


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