A new year is a new start, so what’s on your list of resolutions? Maybe you want to lose 20 lbs.? Perhaps you’re swearing off the carbohydrates and desserts? Are you setting a goal to exercise like a maniac everyday of the year?
Ok, wait a minute! I have a suggestion for you. How about you resolve to kill the extremes and simply aim for “healthy-ish” eating and regular (non-maniacal) exercise? This combination along with a few minor tweaks to your daily routine will set you up for success with attainable goals and a healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy – for the rest of your life. And the side effects may include weight loss, clearer skin, less stress and all those other good things that tend to come with good nutrition.
Let’s start with the idea of “healthy-ish.” This is basically a concept of moderation that has been promoted by well-known real food activist Michael Pollan. In his book entitled In Defense of Food, Pollan offers an incredibly simple mantra: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.
To break that mantra down, let’s start with “Eat Food.” He is simply suggesting that you eat real food and avoid processed foods. This is the fundamental concept of clean eating, which I’ve touched on before and you can read my recap here. The bottom line is that “clean eating” means that you skip the processed foods and opt for fresh foods. So, avoid the frozen food aisle or the prepackaged desserts and shop the perimeter of the store for fresh produce, perishable goods and even fresh baked cookies made from real foods like flour, eggs and butter.
Which brings us to his next point, “Not Too Much.” Pollan is saying to take all things in moderation. Do you want to enjoy dessert? Fine! Just have one cookie instead of three, or skip the wine with dinner a couple times a week. It’s okay to let yourself enjoy the foods you love because when you deny yourself the pleasure of sinking your teeth into your favorite chocolate cake, you might eat the whole cake when you’re will power is off guard (or if you’ve had a couple alcoholic drinks).
And finally, “Mostly Plants” is pretty self-explanatory. Fill your plate with plants, which provide tons of nutrition and help break down and digest all of your non-plant foods. Not to mention, plants tend to be low in calories and high in fiber, which will fill you up and help with those weight loss goals (if that’s your resolution).
This is the year to kill the diet, throw the Weight Watchers out the window and focus on a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain forever. There is no need to sacrifice carbs or fat, just focus on “healthy-ish” clean eating and you’ll see improved health without the suffering!