Healthy Diet? More Health, Less Diet

So, two weeks into 2014, are you keeping up with your New Year's Resolution?  Maybe you’ve resolved to travel more, spend less, save up or quit your vices?  My resolution is to be kinder to my body through healthy eating and more regular exercise (and yes, dropping that extra 10lbs would be a great bonus.)  In fact, it may come as no surprise to you that losing weight is the number one New Year's resolution Americans make (we’re so vain, y’all.)  But I’m skipping the crazy diet plan and more or less ignoring the ludicrous calorie goal I was handed by the BMI Gods (1230 per day? Are you nuts?) Instead, I’m keeping health in mind as dive into my healthy diet.

All of a sudden, it seems like everyone around me is being extremely virtuous about what goes in their mouths.  Next to nobody is eating white bread or drinking beers (safe choices) and everyone’s vegetable steamers and blenders are working overtime.  Many of my friends have joined CrossFits whereas others have ramped up their at-home regimens or are training solo for marathons in the spring. I’m always happy to see people focusing on getting healthier rather than obsessing over something more arbitrary like numbers on the scale, but I have to admit there’s been a lot of whacky diet talk among my friends and family lately.  Low carb, no carb, high protein, no fat, limited this that and the other thing, the list goes on.

In regards to diet, I tend to be a traditionalist: eat a nutritious diet and exercise daily.  I’m not counting calories, or following a strict ratio of protein/fat/carbs (again, handed down by the magnanimous BMI Gods).  What I’ve noticed in my admittedly brief time on the planet is that people have different dietary needs and there is no one size fits all solution. I have people in my life who need a ton of protein, whereas I tend to need more fat and carbohydrates to feel satiated. It’s really hard not to be skeptical when I look at strict dietary plans that limit ALL sugar and ALL carbohydrates, thus diminishing the amount of fruits and vegetables you can eat in a day. Forget that! If I’m eating five servings of fruit a day I’m not going to feel guilty about it for a second; that fruit is packed with nutrients AND satisfying my admittedly strong sweet tooth.  And don’t even get me started on the fat content in avocados…

In my months since starting my CSA box, I’ve been learning how to make green smoothies, expanding my salad repertoire and learning the subtle art of steaming greens.  My favorite option is blending because- for me- it’s far easier to gulp down 5 servings of mixed fruit and veggies than it is to cook and eat them. Lately I’ve noticed that if I go a day (or three- the holidays were bad) eating “the bad stuff” (white bread and simple sugars) I feel pretty out of it by nightfall, and often this carries into the next day.  It’s this direct relationship with my body and listening to its feedback that has allowed me to recognize what I need and what I don’t.  And through this focus on simply eating more healthy food, I’ve had much less room for (and interest in) low-nutrient, empty calorie type stuff.

Regardless of what you’ve resolved to do, I truly do wish you luck.  If you’re one of the millions who have resolved to lose weight, my only advice is to avert your eyes while standing in the check-out line at the grocery store (because what better time to buy a giant candy bar?  Resist! Just look at the National Enquirer instead and check the latest news on the JonBenet Ramsey case or see which Kardashian girl is in crisis this week.)  It truly does take work to eat a healthier diet; lots of planning, prep and cooking.  But in the end, the results won’t just show up on your scale.

Good luck!

Healthy-Eating (minus the bagels) Office Girl