Published on May 24, 2017

couple cooking together

Create a New Habit of Enjoying Real Food

The journey of making diet and lifestyle changes is challenging, but also rewarding. When you focus on real, wholesome foods, you’ll discover a new way of eating that not only fuels, satisfies and even heals your body – you’ll also lose weight.

“When you focus on improving overall health through eating nutritious foods, weight loss is a natural result,” says Lauren Cornay, RD, LN, a community and clinical dietitian at Avera Heart Hospital.

And it all starts with your mindset, according to Cornay. “It’s very easy to not realize how much we’re eating and what kinds of food we’re eating. A good starting point is becoming more mindful.”

Next, she recommends taking time to learn more about how to eat healthy and transition into healthier eating habits. She offers practical tips, such as:

  • Eat at least three times per day.
  • Pay attention to your body. When you feel like you have had enough to eat, stop before you feel full.
  • If you still feel hungry or unsatisfied, wait at least 10 minutes before eating more. The craving will often go away.
  • Drink plenty of calorie-free fluids such as water, unsweetened tea and coffee. You may be surprised to discover you’re actually thirsty, not hungry.
  • Get plenty of fiber through vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Cut back on simple sugar by limiting fruit juice, regular soda, desserts and white/refined grain products.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol to no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men daily.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen and eat meals in a specific place, such as at the table. Avoid eating in the car, bedroom or in front of a computer or TV.
  • If you have more than four to five hours between your meals, add a planned snack to curb overeating at meal times. An ideal snack includes a protein and a carbohydrate to improve its “staying” power.

One thing to note is that healthy eating isn’t designed to be a quick weight loss solution. Instead, it’s about creating healthier habits. You may not see results as quickly or dramatically as you might with other weight loss programs. However, you’ll be equipped to achieve and maintain your weight loss goals and, more importantly, your health in the long term.

If the thought of making lifestyle changes is overwhelming, you can find the expert guidance and encouragement you need from one of Avera’s registered dietitians and health coaches across the Upper Midwest.

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