Mindful awareness

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


We are presented with choices every moment, some of which are better for our bodies than others. Although we can sometimes be overwhelmed by the number of options available to us, we always are in control of the choices we make when we eat something and when we select activities to fill our free time.

Some people choose to diet but I suggest they decide instead for the non-diet method of maintaining and losing weight. This means making choices all day long but it is a lifestyle choice that offers many options to feel satiated rather than denied food. People that maintain a healthy weight simply select the healthier foods each day. The choice is to reach for a candy bar or melon slices and berries when energy is low mid-day. People that use a healthy lifestyle approach to eating don’t alternatively gain and lose weight the way dieters do. They don’t migrate to the newest fad diet, reading about rules for the diet of the month. Instead they eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choices are numerous for snacking when the snacks are nutritious!

People that maintain a healthy weight over their lifetime choose a leafy salad as a side rather than fries when they dine out. Fried food is the food choice most associated with weight gain. Potato chips, sugary drinks including sodas and juices, red and processed meats, desserts, and refined grains are other food selections that are likely to lead to weight gain. Healthier options, particularly fruits and vegetables, can replace these less healthy options and reduce the chance of unwanted weight gain. A green leafy salad is an alternative side to French fries that offers more vitamins and less risk for weight gain. Vegetables dipped in hummus and plain stove-popped popcorn are alternatives to potato chips for a healthy crispier snack. Yogurt and nuts are healthy sources of protein and fats and consuming these foods is related to less lifetime weight gain.  If people do choose to eat red meat, they will want to choose to eat it less often and select lean meats, completely eliminating processed meats.

Counting calories and omitting selected foods based on fad diets has been found to be less effective in maintaining a healthy weight throughout life than eating healthier foods. Other healthy lifestyles correlated to maintaining a healthy weight are sleeping 6-8 hours a night, reducing television viewing, choosing wine if one is going to drink alcohol (although other alcohol is correlated to weight gain), and exercise (the more one exercises, the less weight one gains).

People have limited free time, but often choose to spend it in front of televisions. Healthier choices are to take a walk or a bicycle ride after dinner. Schedules are packed with obligations leaving little time to exercise. However, anyone can choose to use the stairs rather than an elevator when they enter a building. People often spend more time waiting for a parking spot to open up near the store entrance than the time it takes to make the healthier choice of parking further away and walking to the entrance.

It isn’t easy to maintain a healthy weight over one’s lifetime. But it is possible by making daily choices. Everyone is more in control of their choices than they realize. In fact, it is easier to control and maintain a healthy-choice lifestyle than to maintain fad diets. It is more liberating to know it is healthy to eat any of the colorful fruits and vegetables in the produce section than to think I need to limit myself to items on a fad diet list. And better, I get to choose.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy your encouragements Dr. Riolo, I applaud your post on choices. I see many clients for pain mgmt as a massage therapist. Low muscle mass and midline to high fat ratios seem common among those with high pain levels. Having heathy muscle and bones that support the frame seem key to pain mgmt. However most clients are professionals in highly busy routines with school, work and family obligations and their bodies are less than a priority, just as mentioned by Dr. Riolo, it's so true. We all feel this perhaps at times. I encourage them to dedicate a base line of time, to establish a routine before veering away. Making their bodies and there health a priority. Also, once these healthier choices Dr. Riolo mentioned are part of ones mind set and habits, the body seems to crave them...making it easier to sustain healthier choices over time.