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How to Eat Right and Enjoy Your Food

Many people believe that to eat properly they have to eat boring and bland “health” food and deprive themselves of party food and other tasty treats. Nothing could be further than the truth according to nutritional experts like well-known dietician Sanirose Orbeta.

She says that eating right is a matter of balance. There are no “good” or “bad” foods, only bad portion sizes and bad choices of frequency. In other words, lechon can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet as long as you don’t have too much of it and you don’t have it too often.

It is what you eat on a daily basis that determines whether your diet is healthy or not, she explains. Eating high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat food will not make you unhealthy or overweight as long as you don’t eat that way everyday.

In a lecture many years ago, Orbeta shared eight skills that we all need to develop to eat right and enjoy our food. These basic guidelines are still appropriate today in spite of all the different diets around.

Master your diet
You cannot master something you don’t understand. Take time to learn good sources of nutritious foods. For a local version, check out the resources of The Food and Nutrition Research Institute. By knowing basic nutrition principles, you can resist fad diets and eat properly.

Manage your weight
Successful weight management involves both diet and exercise (please note that the word “diet” simply means “way of eating”), according to Orbeta. In my experience, one of the big mistakes in weight control is to rely only on diet or only on exercise. I see many people struggling to eat as little as possible and making themselves miserable in the process when they could be eating more if they only exercised. On the other hand, I also come across many people who “kill” themselves with exercise but cannot control their weight because they eat too much.

Control your weak points
Your “weak points” could be defined as the foods that make you lose control. They are also called “trigger” foods because they provoke you into overeating. I usually advise people to take small portions of their cravings so they don’t binge but this advise does not work for people who can’t stop eating once they get a taste of their trigger foods. I control my weak points by not having them in my house and eating them only in a restaurant or party.

Orbeta says that “weak points” can also be defined as nutritional gaps in your diet. For example, nutritionists recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If this is your weak point, you need to do something about it because fruits and vegetables are vital to your health.

Enjoy the taste of eating right
Orbeta says it is possible to eat healthy and enjoy it if you know how to make the right choices at home, dining out, during meetings, outings or travels. Eating well doesn’t mean having to survive on just cucumber and carrot sticks. Choosing a grilled chicken dish instead of fried chicken is an example of enjoying the taste of eating right. Sharing a piece of cake with a friend is another.

Relax with food
Food is not the enemy. It is not only one of the great pleasures in life but it is also a necessity to live. Feeling guilty when making a poor choice (like having too much pizza) is counterproductive because it can lead to overcompensation (skipping meals or eating only crackers for lunch), which in turn can lead to overeating and the whole vicious cycle is set into motion again.

Drink lots of water
We have all heard the advice to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A more modern term is “total water” meaning fluid from all sources – drinking water, juice, milk, coffee, tea, soda, fruits, vegetables, and other foods and beverages.

The total water daily requirement is 11 cups for women and 15 cups for men. People who exercise or live in hot humid conditions (translation: all of us) need more.

Studies show that people get 50 percent of their fluid needs from liquids, 40 percent from food, and 10 percent from the digestive system (it makes about one cup of fluid as a by-product of metabolizing food).

Another formula is to consume one ounce of fluid for every two pounds of body weight. Put another way, divide your weight in half and that is how many ounces of fluid you need. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you would need 60 ounces or 7.5 cups of liquids a day. Remember that your body gets its remaining fluid needs from food.

Athletes who exercise vigorously a few hours a day should weigh before and after exercise and replace every pound lost with two cups of fluid.

Dietary supplements should only “supplement” your diet
Multi-vitamins or whatever other health supplements, herbal or otherwise, will never take the place of a good diet. That is precisely why they are called “supplements”. All the supplements in the world cannot replace the nutrients and phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Man-made products cannot be a substitute for the wonderful and amazing bounty that Mother Nature has created for us.

Walk your talk
Knowledge is useless if we don’t practice what we learn. Many people could actually give a seminar on why it is important to eat right and exercise regularly. They are well educated in the areas of nutrition, health and exercise but they lack the discipline or the motivation to make real changes in their lifestyle.

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