The Easter bunny hopped in and out of town, leaving luscious chocolates and candy in his wake. Yes, I bit the head off the chocolate bunny when no one was looking and convinced my daughter that her dad did it. I know the right types of foods to eat for healthy living, but I choose otherwise.
Why is this? It wasn't until a 39-year-old friend died of a massive heart attack that I began to take my eating habits seriously. If you're ready, let's take a look at the steps to create healthy habits.
There are four key elements to achieving a healthy diet lifestyle: consistency, moderation, balance and commitment.
Consistency will keep you on the right path without weight fluctuations. Many factors can affect our consistency, so planning is key. Begin with meal planning and preparation. Take time to create a menu and purchasing list that reflects your new lifestyle. Be realistic when choosing desirable meals that fit into your budget and time restraints. Keep in mind the time and frequency you eat. Don't skip meals so that you can eat cake for dessert. Moderation with all foods is so important.
Moderation is a word used often when discussing any vice, and diet is no exception. Most health professionals swear by its philosophy. Eating realistic amounts of all foods without denying any foods leads to successful diet lifestyles. No confusing diets to learn and no prepared foods to buy. This seems simple, but it might be the hardest lifestyle to accomplish. This is where balance plays its part.
Keeping balance in our new regimen diminishes cheating, one of the main reasons for diet failure. If you allow yourself reasonable amounts of unhealthy foods, you are less likely to crave, cheat and feel guilty about your lifestyle change. Allow yourself mistakes; remain patient and realistic.
To stick to a new course of action takes discipline and commitment. Most of us feel forced into it. To stay committed to any task or endeavor, experts say you must have the will and the capacity to offer 100 percent. Don't use this as an excuse to remain dormant.
Need to cut down on a specific nutritive item? One of the first things the doctor will tell you is to take a look at the types and amounts of foods and drinks you eat. Try to keep a small diary of these values for one week. The results will shock you. Putting it down on paper forces our awareness of our diet intake. Guessing won't get results.
Now that you know how to be successful, any tips to help get there? Here are a few suggestions:
Become a food label expert. Labels are extremely important in helping us choose the right foods. The label contains an ingredient list and nutritional content. Note the quantity for a single serving, because sometimes the advertising claims are unrealistic. Ingredients are listed in order of their amounts from highest to lowest. By observing the actual amounts listed in milligrams or grams, you can easily add up the values to ensure you're receiving the correct daily limits in your diet. This is the most helpful way to stay within healthy parameters for specific quantities of nutrients.
Do your research. Check out government Web sites for indispensable information.
Beware of so-called healthy foods. Look for balanced foods containing a good percentage of all macronutrients.
Choose natural and organic foods.
Stock your pantry with healthy alternatives. We eat what is readily available, so purchase these items instead of unhealthy choices.
Snack smart. Snacking and convenience foods are my weakness. Find out what you crave and satisfy it without overindulging.
In sum, choose a lifestyle that fits your pocketbook, time constraints and personal health factors (body type, genetics and metabolism). Begin with baby steps and a good base to progress slowly and consistently toward realistic goals. Use balance and moderation to stay committed. Don't forget small rewards.
Crusted Ahi Tuna
Two 6-to-8-ounce ahi filets (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons of your favorite Brentwood extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
One half cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Warm skillet on high heat. Rub tuna filets with olive oil and season with salt, fresh pepper and rosemary. Press filets into macadamia nuts on both sides for coating. Cook for 30 seconds on each side for rare and 60 to 90 seconds for medium rare. If you prefer a well-done fish, start saut