Commentary

October 18, 2013

Healthy habits for a healthy lifestyle include reading the labels

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Staff Sergeant Michael Matulich
452nd Security Forces Squadron

One step to promote your health transformation is to learn to read the labels on products. Try to consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. When you’re in the grocery story read the labels. Not just the mount of sugar, carbohydrates, etc. Also read the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, its probably not good to ingest.

In these modern times, some people have turned to convenience and temporary gratification as solutions to most of their everyday problems, including food. Is it any wonder then why the health and fitness industry is flooded with quick and easy fad diets? These are the same diets that promise fast results with minimal effort. The problem with the majority of fad diets is that they don’t work in the long run.

Diets in general usually fall short because: they are temporary solutions to lifelong problems, they emphasize macro nutrients over micro nutrients, and do not consider the quality of the food that we consume. By understanding these shortcomings in the dieting industry, we can better develop principles that will help our bodies transform into a healthier state. The first step is to make this health change a lifestyle and not just another temporary solution.

The best way to sustain a healthy lifestyle is to make it a habit. Making small obtainable goals and changes is a great way to achieve slow perpetual progress. It’s hard to adapt to drastic changes for long periods of time. A better plan to improve health would be to take small steps. An example of this could be quitting soda for a week. That would be your only goal for the week. The next week, drink an extra two liters of water a day and give up soda. You always want to improve and build on your base. By doing this gradually, you will be more likely not to go back to your bad habits and find yourself living a more healthy and vibrant life.

The next step in our health transformation is to take a look at what we are putting into our bodies.
The foods we consume should be as close to their most natural state as possible. Eating Earth grown nutrients will heal our bodies from the inside out. It is only when foods are processed or altered that they lose their nutritional value. So, next time you are in the grocery store, read the labels.
Not just the sugar, fat or protein content (macro nutrients), but also read the ingredients. If you find a large number of ingredients with words you can’t pronounce, it is very likely that the product is not in its most natural state. Ingredients are also listed in descending order (from highest to lowest). If dextrose or fructose (sugar) is one of the first three ingredients, then that “food” will hinder you from achieving your health and fitness goals. Take a look at what is in your foods and spend more time in the whole foods/produce section.

The final step in increasing one’s health is to eat every two to four hours based off of what you did or are about to do. By keeping your body’s metabolism in a steady state, you will constantly nourish your cells with fresh nutrients from the whole foods that you ingest.

Other calorie restrictive diets may burn fat at a quicker rate, but they also starve the body’s cells of vital components. Over time the body will adapt to this famine state and create more fat cells preparing itself for survival mode. Despite our cultural bias, skinny people are not always healthy.

They can still be dying from the inside. Another aspect of food consumption that should be considered is portion sizing. Everyone is unique and requires different needs. Think of a handful as one portion size. One to two portions should be enough for one meal. A meal should make you feel satisfied, but not sluggish. Utilizing portion sizing and meal timing will increase your health, metabolism, and energy levels.

Making permanent changes in your health will be a life-long process. It will not be quick, easy or always convenient. It is obtainable however, by committing to some basic principles; making changes one step at a time, eating natural minimally processed foods, eating every two to four hours, and finally eating portions that will satisfy, but not slow you down. Remember, we only get one body. Why shouldn’t we take care of it?




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