- Make sure your diet is diverse and includes all food groups
- It is okay to indulge in cravings once in a while
- Eat small and frequent meals to maintain consistency in your diet
Starting to eat healthy is not as difficult is maintaining consistency in following it. Cravings, mood swings, hormonal imbalance, stress and fatigue can all make it difficult for you to stay consistent in a diet. And this is a major hurdle that people face when being on a weight loss or fitness regime. In this article, nutritionist Vandita Jain talks about tips and tricks that can help people maintain consistency eating healthy. According to Jain, it requires one to stay hydrated, practice moderation and have diversity in diet.
15 tips to stay consistent on healthy diet
1. Know your body: Try to understand how it works, don't let it crave as this would only slow down the metabolic processes of the body and would harm the reactions occurring in the system. Long gaps between your meals and extreme fasting can really be harmful and affect you psychologically.
2. Respect your body: Food aversions, dislikes and likes are common for one and all; we are fortunate to have so many food options available to choose from; don't eat a specific food in compulsion if you don't like it; it would compress the body's internal system and would confuse the body. Eat happily and choose healthy.
3. Moderation is the key: A balanced diet is technically a combination of all food groups in your meal in your whole day. The best advice you can get from your nutritionist or a health care professional is to eat all the food groups in a day except for food allergies and other therapeutic concerns. Don't go off carbs or dairy, if you don't have any specific problem. Stay wise to your body, Eat right.
4. Know your plate: 'My plate' is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout lifetime. It talks about the right variety of foods in the right proportions which can help you be healthier now and in future:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Include a variety
- Make half your plate filled with whole grains like what, bajra or jowar in the form or chapati or rice
- Vary your protein routine
- Shift from low fat to fat-free milk or yogurt
5. Know the mantra: Focus on variety, amount and nutrition. Choose foods, beverages with less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Learn to study food labels to understand your food better.
6. Eat five colors a day: Eat a combination of fruits and vegetables. Aim at having five colours on your plate. It is an effective way to meet nutrient requirements of the body.
7. Go seasonal: Don't go looking for those fancy vegetables and fruits which have been once tagged healthy by a friend. Be practical, eat fruits and vegetables which are available seasonally. Avoid cold storage stored vegetables. Our body also adapts as the environmental conditions change. Nature has already been kind to produce the right crop at the right season. So eat what is available in the season in the market.
8. Hydration: Hydration is the most important factor which is often ignored during the chores of the day. Make sure you have a bottle or a jug filled with water kept by your side wherever you are working. You can add mint leaves or cucumber to the water container. It can make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
9. Go natural, avoid artificial supplementations and medicines: Try growing vegetables in your kitchen gardens, go organic and never be dependent on the artificial products until there is a crisis. Your body understands natural products in a better way, so don't overdo it, never self-prescribe the medicines which you actually don't need. Remember the last time you had an instance of an acid reflux, it might be the result of that protein shake which you were dependent on instead of your whole meal.
10. The grocery list: Believe this, it is the most important and simple aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle; don't buy unhealthy and then you don't eat unhealthy. Let go off the temptation of buying those calorie dense chocolates and juices; when it won't be available at home, in any case you are not going to eat it and divert.
11. Small frequent meals: Eat small frequent meals to fulfill your satiety levels and to avoid overeating in one meal. It leads to better digestion, better concentration levels and good energy levels besides other advantages. It is must needed if you want to sustain healthy eating habit goals.
12. Don't follow fads: Must have heard about mediterranean diet, DASH diet, paleo diet, GM diet, popcorn diet; with all due respect the benefits from these fad diets are temporary and no long-term goals can be achieved by not following the balanced diet principle.
13. Take care of your bowels: Don't let problem of constipation hamper the consistency of your goals. It can cause irritability and stress; consume lot of fiber in your food. You can have natural laxatives and herbs like triphla which can effectively help in dealing with constipation.
14. Regular exercise regime and meditation: Changing the mind game is directly related to healthy body and healthy soul. Exercise regularly to restrict the hormonal rushe to quit and indulge. Meditation does result in better understanding of self and hence aids the body processes. Reading motivational quotes right in the morning before starting the day have been proved to be beneficial and help in sticking to the goals.
15. Never overexert: If someday you feel like eating something in particular, do it. 'Once in a while' principle soothes the mind and will help you to stay on track. Try doing new dishes at home like air frying your favourite kebabs or trying to cook a pizza base with millets instead of refined wheat flour at home? Even a multigrain bread pizza would do the job.
(Vandita Jain is Delhi-based nutritionist and Diabetes educator)
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