Website design By BotEap.comThere is a lot of confusion about how and what to eat in this country. That’s not surprising when you consider that an Amazon.com search for nutrition books turns up over 50,000 books! Are there really 50,000 ways to eat? Possibly, but my opinion is that effective nutrition programs tend to have more similarities than differences. Website design By BotEap.comLet’s put the differences aside and get back to basics. Here is a list of basic nutritional tips to help you start losing weight and improving your health: Website design By BotEap.com1. Drink more water Website design By BotEap.comStart your day by drinking a glass or two of water when you wake up, then drink water throughout the day. How much water should you drink? Expert opinions vary on this, but I personally use half my body weight in ounces of water as a guideline. I weigh 194 pounds, so I should drink about 97 ounces of water a day. Try to just drink water or green tea if you feel like you have a lot of weight to lose. Website design By BotEap.com2. Eat balanced meals Website design By BotEap.comThere are many different expert opinions on this, including the Zone diet, Atkin, Pritikin, Metabolic Typing, the government food pyramid, etc. I like to keep things simple. Eat some meat (lean beef, chicken, fish, or eggs), some starch (brown rice, quinoa, etc.), and some vegetables (spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, etc.). Nutrition research is beginning to show that we are all individuals and that our metabolism is affected by our genetics and lifestyle. There is no definitive answer on what to eat unless you get genetic testing and adjust it to your lifestyle. Nutritional genomics is the future of diet prescription, but including all of the foods listed above will put you on the right track. Website design By BotEap.com3. Eat breakfast Website design By BotEap.comI meet so many people who start their day with coffee or coffee and a bagel and then end their day with a big meal before bed. This is the exact opposite of what they should be doing. When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar level is low from not eating during sleep. Be sure to start your day with breakfast following the guidelines I listed above about eating balanced meals. Aren’t you hungry in the morning? No problem, just eat what you can and gradually increase the amount until you’re eating a full breakfast. After a while of doing this, you will find that your body craves a meal when you first wake up. You should also find that your energy levels and mood improve as you begin to give your body what it needs at the beginning of the day. Website design By BotEap.com4. Eat several small meals throughout the day Website design By BotEap.comNot only should you eat a balanced breakfast, but you should eat 3-5 meals/snacks per day. These meals and snacks should be eaten every 3 to 4 hours. How many should you have? This is a complex question that should be addressed with a professional. A more general answer would be: eat if you are hungry. Some people have metabolic or psychological problems that make them hungry even when they have recently eaten. Chances are you’re not one of these people, so don’t starve yourself. Eat when you are hungry. Website design By BotEap.com5. Minimize processed foods. Website design By BotEap.comI really want to say never eat processed foods, but let’s face it: some of these things taste good and many of us will never completely eliminate them from our diet. That’s fine, but keep in mind that the more you eat, the harder it will be to maintain your weight and improve your health. How do you identify processed foods? Just read the label. Forget what the marketing says on the packaging, the nutritional information on the label will give you the best information about the product. Ingredient labels have to list certain things and meet government standards. Website design By BotEap.comIngredients are listed from largest component to smallest component. For example, if the ingredients list has: water, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and orange juice, you know that the product is actually made up of water, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugar; It probably doesn’t have much juice. Also, if you read the label and the product has words you can’t pronounce or that sound like chemical warfare agents, there’s a good chance it’s processed food. Keep your intake of these products to an absolute minimum. Website design By BotEap.com6. Eat or prepare your meals at home Website design By BotEap.comThis can be a time constraint, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook, but I think preparing your own food is a necessary key to getting your diet in the right direction. Many restaurants and fast food places cut costs by buying the cheapest ingredients they can find. Also keep in mind that most restaurant foods are prepared to taste good, not necessarily to help you meet your nutritional goals. Tasting good for some chefs requires adding things you wouldn’t if you were cooking your own food. You do not know how to cook? That’s fine, just learn a few basics to get the job done. Cooking scrambled eggs and making salads are a great way to start. Website design By BotEap.com7. Follow the 90/10 rule Website design By BotEap.comEveryone is busy and we all give in to tasty temptations. Don’t stress too much about it and don’t set unreasonable expectations on yourself either. Instead, try to follow the principles of good nutrition 90% of the time. Even if 90% is too big a behavior change for you, try 60/40. You can eventually increase the percentage, but start with something that is reasonable for you. Just make sure your healthy eating outweighs your unhealthy and you’ll be on the right track. Website design By BotEap.com8. Listen to your body Website design By BotEap.comOur bodies are very complex and there are many systems in place to give you information about how what you eat is affecting you. For example, you may eat too much ice cream. It may taste pretty good when it’s going down, but the stomach ache or sluggishness you feel afterwards is your body’s way of giving you feedback on your eating habits. Your body is an amazing machine, so be sure to listen to it!