There's nothing worse for your body than slamming on the brakes a week before a pool party or vacation- crash dieting is potentially harmful and can slow your metabolism in the long-run. Megan McNamee, an Arizona nutrition and dietitian extraordinaire, gave AZFoothills.com tips on how to eat healthfully and slim down the healthy way- so we can enjoy our new two-piece and lunch.
Explain your nutrition and exercise philosophies.
I believe that eating healthful, satisfying foods is one of the most important ways we can protect our health and live optimally. Nutrition and exercise go hand-and-hand – we can’t expect to achieve maximum benefit from any fitness program without adjusting our food and eating thoughts and behaviors. Unlike most quick-fix diets, my approach is different than what many people have tried before. I don’t advocate dieting, deprivation, or eating fake food to reach temporary results that cannot be sustained. I believe that it’s not just what we eat, but also how we eat, that determines how successful we are in changing our bodies and health.
What are some mistakes women make when getting ready for bikini season?
So many women tackle big changes all at once but can’t seem to sustain new behaviors. If you want to change your diet, pick one thing to work on, such as eating a healthy breakfast, and do it for a week or two. If it becomes a habit that sticks, move onto the next challenge. Small steps are much more effective because they are sustainable in the long run. Additionally, don’t forget to pack healthy snacks for work or play, such as fresh fruit and nuts or cut up veggies and hummus. My clients often make poor choices – or worse, skip a snack and get too hungry – when they don’t have options.
What should people be doing to get ready for warm weather?
Spring is great time to take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and locally grown. Try adding strawberries to a spinach salad, or use a new or unfamiliar vegetable, such as mustard greens sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and walnuts, to fill half of your dinner plate. Vegetables and fruits have a high water content that help you feel full, enhance hydration, and may improve the look of your skin. Check out your local farmer’s market, which is usually open until May in most Arizona cities, for beautiful, locally grown produce.
What happens to your body when you crash diet?
Many women think that crash diets are the way to go. Whenever you stop listening to your hunger and fullness cues by going on a restrictive diet, your body tends to rebel because it feels as if it is starving. Eventually, when you go off the diet because you’re simply too hungry or too unsatisfied, you may end up at a higher weight than where you started because your metabolism has slowed. The best way to reach a healthy weight is to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re comfortably full, eat healthful foods that you truly enjoy most of the time, and eat slowly and mindfully.
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