being a mom

Have Baby, Will Exercise: If You Want To Be Healthy, Don’t Diet

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havebabyfinal4__1424973727_142.196.167.223You don’t have to eat healthy in order to exercise and there’s nothing wrong with rewarding a particularly tough workout with a bowl of ice cream. But maintaining a healthy body weight can improve your overall health, and achieving that goal is easier if you both work out and are mindful about what you eat. Plus, if you’re working up a sweat on a regular basis you may find that you have more energy to get through the day when you eat nutritious foods.

However, research suggests that diets don’t work as a long term solution to maintain a healthy body weight. People who try to lose weight on a diet with set parameters as to how many calories they can have in a day or by restricting certain foods for a specific period of time often end up gaining back what they lose (and sometimes more). It may seem contradictory, but if you really want to be healthy, you need to remove the word ‘diet’ from your vocabulary.

I asked Janet Yarrow, a Nutrition Instructor and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, what the key is to life long healthy eating:

 Adopting a life long healthy diet is a matter of changing your habits and mindset. To be successful as a life long healthy eater you need to change how you approach food. It’s important to value the quality of what you eat over the quantity. When shopping for your family, chose the best quality food you can afford. For example, grass fed beef is more expensive, but you can use your meat budget to purchase a smaller amount of this higher quality beef and you will still have the same satisfaction of eating red meat, but it will be healthier for you.

Trying to find time to sit down for meals can be a struggle when dealing with work and the multiple schedules of the family, but Yarrow stresses the importance of mindful eating. By making meals an deliberate act– setting the table, putting away your phone, taking the time to chew your food– you can pay attention to what you’re eating and be more in tune with choices like taking a second helping of vegetables instead of reaching for a second dinner roll. By slowing down and concentrating on your meal your mind will be more aware of what you’re eating and when you’re full.

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