As someone who has coached people on their nutrition and helped them to lose weight for a couple of decades now I think it’s fairly safe to say that I’ve seen most of the “issues” that people have when it comes to their diet. There is a wide range of “issues" to be sure but there’s a few that are darn near universal which is why when I first start working with someone I focus on fixing them first.
Heck I’ve had cases where just focusing on them have helped people to lose 10, 20, even 30 or more pounds. Let’s face it there’s a lot of information out in the media some good, some bad, some downright false but one thing that I think most people would agree on is that we could eat better than we do. And when I have that conversation with folks in usually leads to a discussion on what exactly does it mean... “Eat better” The truth is there is no one set answer it all depends on the person and their current eating habits. But while not universal it’s pretty safe to say that most Americans eat far too many carbohydrates (especially sugar) and don’t focus on their overall nutrition and health needs. In other words… to much junk food and not enough real food. One recent study I read done at the University of North Carolina found that almost 60 % of older adults (over age 60) who were admitted to the hospital were found to be either malnourished or at least showed some signs of it. The study didn’t find that they weren’t eating enough necessarily but that they weren’t eating enough of the right foods! In other words, they were eating enough calories but the food they were consuming didn’t actually nourish the body. And in my experience that’s true for many American adults. Sadly it’s true also for many children. In working with folks I’ve identified 3 things that most people don’t consume enough of in their diet. Things that can help them not only live longer but have a happier and healthier life.
Protein – When I work with folks this is one of the biggest nutrition weaknesses I see.
Protein is essential to our health and well-being. It helps us to build muscle, maintain our bones, and skin and helps us make the enzymes, hormones and other things we need to survive.
The USDA recommends the average person to get between 10-35% of their calories in protein each day. Yet I see many who don’t even hit 5%.
Most people I have found build their meals around carbohydrates. Instead most Registered Dieticians I know recommend that you build your meals (including snacks) around protein.
What kinds of protein? Things like lean meats, fish, beans, lentils, and eggs.For those that struggle to meet their needs perhaps it’s appropriate to add a protein smoothie or shake.
Fiber – Several studies have shown that Americans don’t’ consume anywhere near enough fiber in their diet. This is problematic as fiber is crucial to our digestive process and a lower risk of heart disease. And with our, eat on the go mentality and tendency to snack it only seems to be getting worse. Generally it is recommended that men eat 30-38 grams of fiber each day and women about 25 grams. Yet on average most Americans eat less than 15 grams each day according to the Institute of Medicine. How can you add more fiber to your diet? The best way is to consume real food especially fruits and vegetables (no juicing). Choose whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur and quinoa instead of refined things like white rice. And when buying bread skip the processed white bread and opt for one that is made from those whole grains.
Water – yes Water.
But wait you say, water is something we drink it’s not a nutrient. Au Contraire my fine feathered friends. The truth is water is THE most important part of our diet. Without it we die. In fact we can survive for as many as 3 weeks without food but if you have no water for 3 days you’re a goner. And many studies have shown that Americans are dehydrated, chronically dehydrated with as many as 75% of us not drinking enough fluid and water. This can lead to a host of problems including: fatigue, headaches, joint pain, ulcers and high blood pressure just to name a few. So how much should you drink? Again it depends on the person, there is no set number but a generally accepted rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces of water each day. In other words a 200 pound person should be drinking 100oz of water each day. And to answer the question many of you are thinking…. Yes you’ll be in the bathroom every hour at first but your body will adapt and ultimately thank you with better health. There are a host of other things we American’s could do to improve our health and well being by eating better but start with these 3. They can go a long way toward giving your body what it needs to survive and thrive and once you’ve done that you can focus on improving in those other areas. Need help with improving your health and well being?
Want to learn how to eat properly so that you not only get look great but FEEL great. Want to find out how to eat the foods you love and not starve yet get those excess pounds off? We can help! Our H.E.L.P (HEALTHY EATING & LIFESTYLE PROGRAM) Is designed to teach you how to eat right so you’ll look and feel your best. We focus on showing you how to enjoy real foods, the foods that you love yet still be able to lose or maintain your weight. No magic pills, potions or formulas, no crazy super strict crash diets. We focus on building healthy habits ones that you can sustain to not just lose weight but keep it off.. for good! Best of all you can do all this and spend LESS than you do now at the grocery store!
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