Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chrissy's Dietetics Experiences and Tips

Introduction: As a Dietetics student at Iowa State University, I've gained valuble knowledge about the basics of nutrition. However, I believe one cannot just "know" about nutrition and live a happy and healthy life. If that were the case, then the entire US population would be relaxed and at peace with their eating habits, their minds, and their bodies. I've asked numberous random people a simple question "What do you know about nutrition?" And I usually get the same response. Eat less, Exercise more. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and avoid fast food and sweets.

So whats going on? And no, its not because we Americans are all lazy and stupid. We are hard-working, often spending a plethora of hours late at night in the office. Hmm..did someone say, "stress?"

Another problem- I've realized how easy it is to get food around this country. There is a 24 hour gas station ATTACHED to my apartment building. And where did I just get back from? Thats right, the gas station- where I bought a snickers bar and a take five.
How do I feel now? Definetly not full! I am actually thinking about eating some of my roommates candy corn mix. (I won't though)
How many calories did I just consume? I would estimate close to 600kcal. The snickers bar alone was 280kcal, with 14g of fat.
Why did I give into my temptation? For starters, I rarely actually go out and buy a candy bar. It's taken several years to train myself to just not buy that food, because if I do..I know it will be gone within minutes. I know how I am! I know that if chocolate covered candy is in the cupboard, or cookies are on the counter top, I will eat it!I gave in this time, because I ran a half marathon two days ago, and I figured it was about time for a little treat. (Moderation, Balance, and Variety - 3 KEY components to a healthy eating style)
So my rule is as follows: "I will not buy or bring calorie dense foods into my apartment, and if I do make sure that it is only a small amount like a serving or two"

What people need to realize is that we are human beings- our bodies love food because food is essential to our surivial. Therefore, we will do everything we can to make sure we are fueling our bodies.

The following list states the do and don'ts diet solution you need:

1) Do not buy easy to eat food items (such as chips, cookies, teddy grahams) especially in big quantities. If that is nesessary, separate the snack food into several individually wrapped bags.

2)Do not bring in high calorie food items into the house- such as poptarts, chocolate bars, etc.

3) Do Stock your house with plenty of fruits and vegetables. (Especially fresh ones, then you will have to eat them up before they go bad!)

4)Do eat plenty of high fiber whole grains. (Don't be afraid to go over the RDA for fiber which is 25 g/day, with time your body will adapt, and thank you for it)

5)Do eat several times throughout the day - for example 5 mini meals instead of 3 meals.

6)Do not eat when you aren't hungry. With time, this will turn into a habit of consistent overindulging, which will eventually seem like a normal way to eat for your body.

7)Do eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body! If you are left hungry for too long, the hunger hormones will kick in, and you will eat anything in sight!

8)Do eat a sweet or someother unhealthy item once a day (or at least every other day). This item should be around 200-400 calories. These are called "discrepancy calories".

9)Do not get depressed when you overindulge. You are normal- everyone eats more than they plan to sometimes! (Just make sure there isn't a pattern to your overeating- if there is, you may be an emotional eater, (which I admit I struggled with for a couple years)

10)Do realize that it takes 21 days to form a habit, and 21 days to break a habit, or replace it with a new one. So, if you are an emotional eater, I beg you to understand it takes patience, and a habit change to break this lifestyle. (Replace the old habit of reaching for that box of mini donuts, to writing a letter or taking a warm shower)

To be Continued.....