If you’re overweight, slimming down to a size where your tummy doesn’t protrude out the top of your jeans can be an undertaking so overwhelming the thought alone can send you into a stress induced chocolate and Netflix binge session. You want to be ‘skinny’ but your body isn’t cooperating, the gym is always full, and pizza for dinner is delicious. Those things are all true.
There are a ton of books out there claiming to know the secret to help you lose weight. Some of them are complete nonsense, while some are full of information you already know. Fortunately, a few of them are actually helpful. But if you don’t want to go out and buy yet another weight-loss book, you can follow the three simply rules here and apply them to your diet.
These three rules are inspired from the dozens of books I’ve read on how to lose weight and get healthy. They are the tips that pop up each time, and can make the biggest impact on your life if you follow them. Alright. Let’s get to the good part.
Eat When Hungry, Stop When You’re Not
Stop eating for the sake of eating
When you feel hungry, eat something. Eat slowly, and when you’re no longer hungry, stop eating. That’s it.
This is a big one for preventing obesity, and it’s probably the most logical one. It means you need to make a conscious effort to pay attention when you’re eating. This can be difficult if you’re like me and spend most of your meal time multi-tasking, focusing on a book, TV, or the baby, so it might take some practice. This rule assumes you don’t eat a strict diet of Hungry-Man meals and Doritos. If that’s all you eat, then you probably have other issues. So please refer to Rule #2
Eat a Mostly Plant-Based Diet
Learn to love the salad. Mmmmm salad, nom nom
Your body needs the best nutrition possible to keep it energized, able to fight off infection, prevent disease, and keep it looking its best. This involves eating a variety of nutrient-rich plant-based foods.
Consume 5 or more servings of fresh veggies & fruit a day; plus at least 7 servings of starchy (carrots, beets, hard squashes, potato, rice, etc.) or protein-rich plant-based foods (legumes, seeds, nuts, etc.).
This doesn’t mean you have to completely ditch your previous diet if you’re not up for a major change. Eating a hamburger every so often won’t hurt, and eating a donut once in awhile is a delicious treat. Make a real effort to eat mostly plant foods (unprocessed), and you will eventually notice a difference in how you look and feel.
Drink Plenty of Water
Avoid having yellow colored urine
Water is so important in your diet, it’s almost criminal that we try to replace it with sodas, sugary fruit juices, and ‘vitamin water’. Water is the main component of all bodily fluids and is involved in nearly every bodily function. It is unsurpassed in its ability to heal. When we are injured our bloodstream carries repair substances to the injury site and 81% of that bloodstream is water. Water also carries toxic substances out of our body (sweat, urine, etc.). We need about 12 cups of water a day (average) to stay hydrated; from drinking water and the water contained in the food we eat. We average 4 cups from food, so…
We need to drink 8 cups of high-quality, (ideally filtered) water a day.
If we don’t consume enough water we dry ourselves out. This can lead to many health issues like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and so many more. If you don’t enjoy water, opt for herbal tea or water with freshly squeezed lemon. Sodas, coffee, energy and sports drinks all contain a lot of sugar, sometimes harsh chemical preservatives, and they upset our water balance. 3 to 4 cups of water a day is not enough; try to get to that 8 cups per day of high-quality water. Lastly, avoid drinking water with meals; it makes it harder to digest our food. Wait 30 mins after a meal to drink water.
If these three rules are too hard to commit to at first, just pick one. Allow yourself to make the healthiest choices for your body, even if that involves a transition period. Big coffee drinker? Have a glass of water after each mug of coffee. Hate veggies? Mix them in a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. Big eater? Eat at home more often, and use smaller plates. If you’re genuinely hungry after the first plate, go for seconds. Improve one small thing each day and the extra years you add to your life will thank you.
The whole point here is that if you want to be ‘skinny’, you need to first get healthy, and the rest will follow.
And lastly, the one thing this article does not touch on is physical activity. We’ll save that for next time. But in case you’re wondering, if you want that ‘skinny’ thing to happen faster, exercise will help get you there.
Elson Haas, Buck Levin. Staying Healthy with Nutrition.
New York: TenSpeed Press, 2006. Print.
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and should not be considered any type of medical advice. The information provided in this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health condition or disease, and should not be substituted for professional care. Every human is biochemically different and what works for one person may not work for another. If you suspect or have a medical condition, consult an appropriate health care provider.