(NaturalNews) Pop culture is full of dietary advice, usually focused on short-term weight loss. Often the emphasis on calories and fat content in food causes people to eat unhealthy to lose weight. The same as they did to gain the extra pounds in the first place. They simply replace one type of unhealthy food habit with another. Here are some common-sense, health-wise tips to help you gain perspective on diet and nutrition and lose weight naturally.
1. Observe your body from the perspective of living inside of it. Most people live unconsciously in their bodies, unaware of their organs, muscles and joints except when they experience pain or some sense of body dysfunction. This tendency to ignore and neglect the body often results in eating whatever seems easiest and most readily available. Overtime, this can result in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Many people live outside their bodies, observing them only as objects, concerned about their bodies meeting some physical ideal from a magazine. This can result in a style of dieting which robs the body of nutrients. Someone who thinks of their body this way may fast to become thin but still struggle to climb a small hill. Or they may spend hours on the treadmill without stretching sufficiently, becoming more vulnerable to injury.
Instead of either of these extremes, notice how your body feels. Do you feel as much energy as you did ten years ago? Are your joints as flexible as they were a decade ago?
2. Think of every meal as an opportunity to improve your health. A couch potato tends to think of food solely in terms of satisfying false needs -- the temporary sense of emotional comfort derived from eating certain foods, and the feeling of security that comes from a full stomach. An obsessive dieter, on the other hand, thinks of food as an enemy, and tries to sneak past enemy lines at meals by strategically ingesting few calories. This tends to result in shortsighted choices -- avoiding fats entirely, for example, which can leave the body vulnerable to the aging effects of free radicals which are inhibited by healthy fats. Also, many people react against the sense of deprivation this type of dieting causes and end up overeating.
The healthy eater, on the other hand, deliberately chooses foods which benefit their body -- providing energy as well as nutrients for long-term health. Educate yourself about your unique health profile and select foods which help combat those conditions you already have or are vulnerable to because of genetics or other factors. Notice how certain fruits and vegetables make you feel.
3. Replace commercially prepared foods with natural whole foods. That frozen dinner that seems like a "calorie bargain" -- promising to satisfy your hunger while still remaining under a set calorie limit -- may harbor hidden dangers. Many frozen foods contain MSG and other chemicals that affect the nervous system in a way which can over-stimulate the appetite, leaving you with the desire to overeat. The same is true for many snack foods advertised as "healthy" or "natural." Diet sodas pose a similar danger, offering the lure of zero/low calories but causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
4. Stock up on an array of healthy snacks and keep some wherever you feel most vulnerable to food cravings -- your home, your office or your car. Buy nuts, seeds, dried fruits (with no sugar or chemicals added) as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
5. Make your it your goal to feel healthy, energetic, more relaxed, stronger and more flexible as well as specifics related to any conditions revealed by a physical exam like high blood pressure or high blood sugar. Let weight loss be a natural side-effect of gaining health. This type of approach is easier to maintain over the long run and will help you avoid the "yo-yo dieting" effect.