Want to reach a healthy weight this year?

"The question of food and what one should eat is one that would take much space to cover. A good rule of thumb is to eat whatever foods appeal to you, but be sure they are of good quality and fresh. Avoid too many starchy foods, such as breads potatoes, pies, pastries, etc. Eat plenty of green and cooked vegetables."
-Willie Honeman, in American Bicyclist, 1945

Fad diets come and go like hairstyles. There are hundreds. Think of the ones you or someone you know might have tried--Atkins, South Beach, grapefruit, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, cabbage soup...

As we rigidly stick to these meal plans and allotted calorie amounts, are we able to listen to our bodies? To maintain optimum health and proper bodily functions (lungs working, heart beating, eyes blinking, brain buzzing, etc) you NEED a base number of calories each day. If you don't get that amount, you'll be running on E--and that ain't pretty. Here's how to estimate your daily calorie requirement:
  • If you're inactive (sedentary)

    Body weight x 14 = estimated calories per day

  • If you're moderately active

    Body weight x 17 = estimated calories per day

  • If you're active

    Body weight x 29 = estimated calories per day

For example, let's say you weigh 160 lbs. You sit at a desk at work, and go to the gym on your way home. At the gym, you do the elliptical machine for 2o minutes. Just to FUNCTION, you need at least c. 2,720 calories on an average day. That's not even considering the energy you burn exercising or taking the stairs at work or crunching numbers at the computer all day. Uh oh--you are on a 2,000 calorie/day diet. At night, you find your stomach will not hush. The growling is just awful. Lately, your brain feels foggy at work. You can't sit up straight because your back hurts and you feel depressed.

Your poor brain wants food! Your body starts telling you to eat more!! All you can think about is what you are having for lunch. Images of sugarplums dance in your head. Mmmmm doughnuts... Impulsively, you grab a high calorie fix--a snickers and a bag of toastchee crackers--foods that aren't "bad", just not the most nutritious. If we treated our bodies like our cars, we'd be in trouble. Would you run your gas tank to fumes and then pour in the cheapest, least refined gas you could find?

"Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

- Mark Twain

Start listening to your body. Trust in the fact that it knows best. If you crave Oreos, go eat some. Chances are, once you've had your fill, the craving will subside. You might even start to notice that an apple and some almonds give you much more energy as an afternoon snack than do some cookies. Actually, the cookies give you a headache about an hour after your eat them. Imagine craving fruit over candy and cake! Trust me, it's possible--and deep down, that's what your body wants.

"Let food by thy medicine."

Take a minute to take this quiz , developed by Dr. Karin Kratina,to see if you have a healthy relationship with food.

My attitute towards dieting and food healed itself when I had the good fortune of working with Dr. Kratina in Gainesville, FL, a leader in the nondiet movement. For more information, please visit her website.

Move away from restriction, and start living in your body! It's ready to tell you what it wants. Are you ready to listen?

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