Almost every teenage girl has worried about her body at least once during her life. Some girls go to extreme lengths to try to alter their physique, whether it is through extreme dieting or even purging to get rid of everything they eat. What every individual needs to know is that the only way to be healthy, lose weight and keep it off is to eat clean. This will not only improve your body, it will also make you feel better and you will find yourself happier than you were before you changed your lifestyle. According to Tosca Reno, author of “The Eat Clean Diet”, your physique depends on 80% diet, 10% workout and 10% genetics.
Although genetics are out of your control, you can control your diet and physical activity. What you put in is what you’ll get out; if you eat good food, you’ll earn a good body and good health. The concept of “eating clean” involves taking in whole, nutritious, unprocessed foods that are good for your body. You should try to stay away from anything that is fried and sugary. In addition, try to cut out any refined carbs like white breads, pasta and rice. Opt to replace them with whole wheat breads, brown rice, pasta and whole grains such as quinoa or barley. Soda should be very limited as it contains a high amount of sugar.
Fruit juices can also be suspicious if they contain too much added sugars. Substituting your soda or juice for water with every meal will drastically reduce your daily calorie and sugar intake and leave you feeling refreshed. Drinking plenty of water is key if your goal is to be healthy, and it will help you lose weight. Try to drink a full glass of water before every meal and you will find yourself getting full more quickly. Water keeps you hydrated, maintains your digestive health, flushes out toxins, reduces fluid retention and improves your skin texture.
About 20% of your fluid intake comes from foods, so eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a good idea because they contain plenty of liquids. Fruits and vegetables are a hugely important part of a healthy diet. Canada’s Food Guide recommends 7 servings of fruits and vegetables for the average teenage girl. It is easy to incorporate these foods into your daily meals: add a sweet piece of fruit to your breakfast, substitute your sandwich for a nutritious salad and try to make sure half of your dinner plate is filled with vegetables.
Fruits are excellent to snack on between meals as a substitute for candy; they are packed with nutrients and their natural sugars will tend to your sweet tooth. Many fruits are also high in fibre, so they will keep you full between meals. Vegetables might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are surely the most health-promoting food group and are essential in every diet. Some people love them while many claim to hate them. However, they can be transformed into delicious meals if you know how to prepare them! Try adding low-calorie sauces and seasonings to them to boost their flavor and make them more enjoyable to eat regularly.
Toss them into omelets, sandwiches, soups, and pasta or rice dishes for added nutrition. If you are forced to get fast food for dinner, opt for their salad option with a low-fat dressing. Not only are fruits and vegetables tasty, they also have the potential to lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other problems. “The scientific base is very strong suggesting that fruits and vegetables are protective elements for all gastrointestinal cancers and all smoking-related cancers,” says Tim Byers, professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.
Eating well will not only benefit your overall health, it will most definitely alter your physical appearance in a good way. Combined with exercise, a healthy diet full of lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein will help you achieve the body you want. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in healthy foods can slow the aging process and keep you looking youthful. When it comes to how much to eat, experts recommend eating 5 small meals throughout the day. If you find yourself unable to manage this schedule, eat at least 3 meals a day – especially breakfast.
Breakfast is the first meal you eat after many hours of sleeping, so your body needs to be fuelled by food in order for you to have the energy to start your day. It also provides a boost for your brain to do better at school, work or whatever you may be doing that day. Depriving yourself of food in the morning or at any other time may trigger a binge. “Eating regular meals stimulates metabolism and signals the body to start using fuel instead of hoarding fuel,” says Charlene Chen, a clinical dietitian with the Vancouver General Hospital.
However, when you skip meals, your body goes into starvation mode, trying to conserve energy and burn fewer calories until it gets its next meal. Skipping meals can also result in you accidentally indulging in far too much food later on. This type of behavior can lead to forming an eating disorder, which are extremely unhealthy. Instead of depriving yourself of eating at all, make sure you fill yourself with wholesome food that will leave you feeling full and happy.
Nutritious foods help strengthen neurotransmitters that signal your brain feelings of contentment. Not only will eating clean leave you feeling content, healthy foods will also boost your energy whereas foods like sugar and refined grains will drain you. Try the recipe for healthy berry-banana crepes included in this issue of Fitastic for breakfast! Being healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. It might seem hard at first to stray from what you are used to, but taking small steps will make it easier for you to adjust to better eating habits.
Make small changes every week, whether it be switching to whole grain bread or eliminating fried foods from your diet. Set short term and long term goals. It is okay to treat yourself in moderation; you can eat whatever you want as long as it is in small portions and not too often. It is actually unhealthy to completely restrict yourself from your favourite foods because you will most likely suffer from cravings and eventually overeating, so make sure to give yourself a break every once in a while. You deserve to feel great, so do yourself a favour and eat great food!