I recently recorded a podcast in which I answered a series of questions that people submitted to me on a few health/fitness topics. One of those questions was as follows:
“Do you encourage certain eating habits or a certain diet? I’ve heard a lot about different diets lately and I just want to know what you encourage.”
This is a question a lot of people have, and rightfully so, because there are a lot of different diets and eating habits being talked about out there. It seems almost every time you turn around, there’s a new weight-loss book, or some fruit, vegetable, herb or tea is being recommended as a fat burner.
I do not recommend a certain diet. I do, however, recommend certain dietary habits for general success with whatever health goal you are pursuing.
Now, the habits you will want to develop are going to depend somewhat on what your health goals are (lose weight, gain weight, etc.), but what I am about to suggest are general healthy living habits that will pretty much work for anybody. Basically, if you focus on making yourself healthy, the other stuff has a way of taking care of itself.
For starters, you need to make sure you’re eating real food. This might sound simple and unexciting, but don’t underestimate what I’m saying in this day and age. If the food you’re eating is processed (in other words, it was bought in a grocery store aisle and was in a plastic wrapper or a box), it doesn’t count as real, with some exceptions like grains and beans. Real foods are generally the staple foods that you buy around the perimeter of the grocery store (like fruits, vegetables and meats). They’re the foods that you have to prepare yourself. Our processed food-saturated diets are amongst the main reasons we deal with so much obesity and lifestyle disease in western society.
Second, make sure every grain you consume is whole grain. Whether we’re talking corn, rice, flour products, oats or whatever, make sure you choose the whole grain version. Yes, I know quick oats and quick grits take a lot shorter time to cook. Yes, I know the texture of white rice is more desirable than that of brown rice. But you know what? Those types of desirable traits that we’ve grown to like with our grains are the kinds of things we pay for in the form of bad health. Processed grains contribute to fat gain and jacked-up blood sugar, amongst other things.
Third, make water your main drink. This applies whether or not your goal is to lose weight. But if losing weight is your goal, you need to make water your only drink. The sugar in sweet drinks has no fiber, so it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to gain some fat. We’re not really made to use pure energy like that in a short period of time, that is, unless you’re a professional athlete.
If you want to hear more of my answer to the dietary habits question, check out my Q&A podcast from August 2017. I’ll leave you with this thought: Whatever you decide to do diet-wise, focus on your health first You’ll often find that everything else takes care of itself.
Macon resident Shawn McClendon is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, podcast host and owner of the health/fitness blog YourHealthAtTheCrossroads.com. E-mail him with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or at @ShawnB2B on Facebook.