Here’s how you can achieve a healthy diet based on variety, balance and moderation.
It’s been said that there are no bad foods, only bad diets. The thought goes something like this: if you simply ate a wide range of mostly healthy foods and didn’t eat too much, you’d probably wind up eating a fairly healthy diet. That’s probably true. But there’s a catch. Even though most people might understand the concept of a diet based on variety, balance and moderation, for many it’s still difficult to put into practice. Here’s why:
Let’s tackle the variety part first. We humans crave variety. We evolved in surroundings overrun with a huge range of plant foods, insects and wild creatures on land and in the sea. The drive to consume from this edible landscape was nature’s way to ensure that our nutrient needs would be met.
We carry this same urge with us today. It would still serve us well if we were merely selecting from a spread of edible plants and wild animals. But we’re not. We’re faced with way too many food choices. Not all of them are good for us, and studies show that the more choices we have, the more we eat. So, more variety can lead to a healthy, well-balanced diet—but only if you’re making the most of your selections from a range of healthy items to begin with.
What does balance mean? Does it mean you can balance a relatively unhealthy food with a healthy one? Do the nutritional positives of a grapefruit balance the negatives of a slab of chocolate cake?
This idea that everything fits into a balanced diet can be demonstrated quite nicely, if you plan out a day’s diet on paper. You could plan to eat a not-so-good-for-you fast food burger and fries for lunch, and balance it out with a really healthy breakfast and dinner. And if you did the nutrient and calorie calculations for a day like that, it might not look too bad. With careful choices at breakfast and dinner, you could probably keep the day’s calories and fat under control, and even meet many of your nutrient requirements.
But who eats that way? I‘d bet that most people who opt for a fast food lunch are looking for something pretty similar for dinner. And I doubt that someone who opts for grilled fish and kale salad at dinner is very likely to swing into the fast food drive-through lane at lunchtime.
Moderation is usually taken to mean not overeating in general, but it especially applies to the empty-calorie extras, like fats, sweets and alcohol. Some people practice moderation really well. They can keep a bag of cookies in the cupboard, for instance, without losing control and consuming the entire bag.
But for others, the concept of eating a single cookie is completely foreign to them. One cookie will always lead to another and another. For these folks, learning to moderate their intake may never happen, and they might be better off avoiding temptation altogether. And just don’t bring cookies into the house in the first place.
So, are there bad foods, or just bad diets? In my view, I think we have a bit of both. I’ve got my own personal list of foods I think are ‘bad,’ and it’s likely that you’ve got a list, too. Whether we choose to eat these foods, or how often, is a personal decision. But pile enough bad foods on your plate, and you’ve got a bad diet.
In the end, you should strive to eat as well as you can, as often as possible. Variety should come, for the most part, from a range of healthy foods available to you. Balance should be less about countering the ‘bad’ foods with the ‘good,’ and more about getting the right nutrient balance. This means giving your body what it needs to stay healthy: lean proteins, good carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and moderate amounts of beneficial fats.
This isn’t to say you can’t indulge from time to time. But moderation is probably the hardest part of the variety, balance and moderation message to put into practice. It’s tough to take in only what you need when there’s temptation everywhere you turn.
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By Jackie, Herbalife Nutrition Independent Distributor March 14, 2017 As the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games kick off in Austria, you can bet that everyone in our household will tune in. I’m the mom of three teenage boys, and…
People come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Plenty of us also come with a hefty amount of history: past decisions or situations impact how we look and feel today. That’s why I want to drill down into body confidence and think about why making people feel happier about all areas of themselves is so important. I want to help you embrace your body, feel confident and face the world with positivity.
To better understand how I can help you (and how you can help me), I put the question out on our Herbalife Facebook page. Hundreds of you answered, so thank you to everyone who joined in. Many of your comments were personal but also universal. A lot of you had similar responses that really capture how you and many of us feel about body confidence.
It’s interesting to me how many of you have equated body confidence to size. As Channelle puts it so clearly, body confidence means to her ‘nothing jiggling or wiggling when I move.’ Gee, I bet we can all relate to that. But is that it? I love that so many of you also talk about energy, health and happiness.
Michelle made a great point, too: ‘Loving your body no matter where you are in your health journey is critical.’
A few of you wrote that building your body confidence frees you from negative self-perception. Holly passionately said body confidence means ‘not being ashamed!’ And Cassandra added: ‘not thinking negatively about myself no matter where I am or who I’m with.’ These comments really resonate with me, because I believe we all waste so much energy and time wishing we looked better, and it’s painful to realize how many of us are self-critical.
It strikes me that driving out this negativity is one of the hardest tasks all of us have. My hope is that together we can try to help each of us overcome negative thoughts and cherish our own quirks. Although it’s easier said than done, our differences are important and we need to embrace the things that make us
I know I wouldn’t want to live in a world where we are all size zero and 5’8’’ (or whatever your personal dream of perfection might be). But I do understand that it feels nice to wish we could be the ones with the perfect body. That’s what makes Clarissa’s statement so true: body confidence means ‘Feeling happy, healthy and comfortable in my own skin.’ And Jo-Anne’s thought demonstrates the power we give others over our happiness: ‘Being proud that I’m losing weight and getting fit and healthy and starting not to be embarrassed about what I look like.’
Many of you said it, and I’ve felt the same way: We feel happier when people notice we look good. Bethan said she gets a body confidence boost ‘when people notice and tell me how much better I look!’ Ashleigh agreed: ‘When someone compliments my progress, it makes me feel body confident.’ Having others recognize your efforts can be rewarding, but let’s also remember that any body shape, healthy eating and fitness goals we set should primarily be for us as individuals. And, yes, I agree that encouragement certainly can help build our body confidence.
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Setting up an at-home gym can be expensive, but there are plenty of DIY strength training alternatives.
If you look back at the history books, strength and muscle-building competitions existed long before the invention of commercial exercise equipment and expensive gyms. Strong and fit men and women used logs, stones, water containers and heavy farming equipment to test their strength and enhance their physical skills. They simply improvised with the items that they had at hand. If you want to avoid the glam and cost of joining a gym, but still want to do tough muscle-building workouts, then you, too, can improvise.
Getting fit and active should be fun. The activity that you choose should keep you engaged so that you progress and stay dedicated to being healthy. You shouldn’t use the excuse that you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, because you can use children’s equipment at a local park, items found in your garage and many other DIY methods to get a good workout.
Cross training style gyms and many boot camp style classes have gone back to using the basics to ensure that all people, regardless of their economic status, can have fun with training in a more natural at-home environment.
Here are some ways to add organic at-home strength training to your fitness routine.
Water containers, large and small, can be used to perform many traditional gym-based exercises, such as bicep curls, squats, dead lifts and chest presses. If you live in an area where there’s a drought, don’t use water that you’ll dispose. Use drinking water containers and then drink the water once you’re done. Buy ropes Fancy gyms have started using what they call “battle ropes” as part of their core training programs. However, you don’t need to use a sports-specific rope to reap the benefits of exercising with ropes. A heavy rope secured to a post can provide hours of workout fun. Place a rope in each hand and perform jumping jacks. Lift and slam the ropes to the ground for a challenging upper body and abdominal blast. Secure a rope that you can climb to get a strong upper body. Small jump ropes are fantastic for working up a sweat or helping you to increase your range of motion while stretching. Ropes are one of my personal favorite training tools.
Using an axe on a large log is great for toning your upper body and oblique muscles. It’s, however, a little too dangerous for most people to manage. Using a weighted bar in an open area and mimicking the wood-chopping motion will give you all of the benefits of chopping wood, without the danger factor.
Car and truck tires are very difficult to dispose of and have become quite an environmental nuisance. But used tires can make a great training tool, especially if you have a good amount of outdoor space to work with. You can flip over large tractor tires to gain strength in your legs, upper body and core. Drag tires using a rope to work on the posterior chain muscles, glutes and hamstrings. Use them for stability training, such as push-ups and step-ups, or create an obstacle course using smaller tires for cardiovascular fitness and agility. There are so many ways you can make use of tires to get fit and strong. Often, you can get them for free from used car lots.
As a former athlete, I believe that following a well-balanced and structured training program is essential if you have specific goals in mind. But if your goal is to simply get strong and fit, you can have fun being creative with your workouts in a way that suits you. Moving your body, lifting, jumping and throwing are all pretty natural human movements. So, just let your workout be organic and go with the flow every once in a while.
Always remember to be safe and only perform movements that feel natural and pain-free.
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A balanced diet involves more than just meeting your nutrition needs––it’s a personal plan that balances with your likes, your dislikes and your lifestyle.
People often ask me, “Is dieting good, or bad?” It’s such a general question that I often don’t quite know how to answer––partly because we toss around the words “diet” and “dieting” so much that they’ve almost lost their meaning.
In truth, we’re all on a diet every day. We each have our own dietary habits and patterns that make up our usual “diet.” Sometimes we make changes to that diet––often to cut down on our calories––in which case you might say you’re “dieting” or “on my diet” (that is, until a few weeks later…when you’re “off my diet”).
There are certainly “good” diets and “bad” diets. We all know people who choose foods carefully and eat well, just as we know others who seem to eat nothing but fast food and soda. And if you need to lose weight, then “dieting,” in the most general sense, is probably a good thing. But it really depends on how you approach your weight loss.
If your weight loss diet is one you can stick with, is well-balanced and leads to a healthy rate of weight loss, then yes, in that case dieting is definitely “good.” But if the weight loss diet you’re attempting to follow is unbalanced, if it’s so strict that you can’t stick with it, or if it’s so low in calories that you have no energy or you lose weight too quickly, I’d say that’s “bad.”
The most successful “diet” is a nutrition plan that works for you day in and day out, provides your body with the nutrients it needs and includes foods that you enjoy eating. It’s a diet that works with your lifestyle, that you can follow for the rest of your life and is uniquely yours.
With so many different “diets” out there, how do you put together the plan that works for you? The best way to start is to follow some basic principles, and then refine your eating pattern until you find a way of eating every day that works for you.
I like to think of building your diet in much the same way you would if you were constructing a house. You start with the basic foundation, you build up your supporting structures, and then you add the finishing touches to personalize it, and make it uniquely yours.
If you were building a house from the ground up, you’d have a budget. Similarly, if you’re building your diet, the first thing you need to know is how many calories you have to work with. Just as houses come in all different sizes, so do people and their calorie requirements. Calorie needs are individual to you, and are determined, in large part, by your body composition and the
amount of activity you get. You can’t plan out what you’re going to eat until you have an idea of your daily calorie needs to help you achieve your dietary goals (whether it’s to lose weight, gain
or stay the same).
Now, just like your house, your diet needs a strong foundation. Ideally, the core of your diet will be made up of lean proteins, health carbohydrate sources (in the form of vegetables, fruits and whole grains), and modest amounts of beneficial fats. Your goal is to divide up your calories from protein, carbohydrates and fats in a way that suits your needs.
In most cases, about half your calories are going to come from carbohydrates. The other half will be, more or less, roughly divided between protein and fat. The proteins, carbohydrates and fats you eat, along with the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, provide the supporting structure to your diet.
Once the basic structure is finished, you get to decorate and personalize your house. The same holds true for your diet. You get to personalize your nutrition plan by picking and choosing the
foods you’ll eat that work with your likes and dislikes, your lifestyle, your budget––while still meeting your nutrition goals.
Personalization is really the key to your success. Focus on choosing the healthy foods that you enjoy the most. What really matters is the overall quality of your diet. And with so many healthy
foods out there, there’s no shortage of items to pick and choose from. It wouldn’t be “good” if you felt uncomfortable every time you walked into your own home––if it didn’t feel like “you.” Similarly, a diet is only “good” when it’s good for you––because it nourishes you, and because it just feels right. And once you feel natural and comfortable with the diet that you can “call your
own,” your weight should take care of itself.
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There’s more to food pairing than pursuing what goes great together––like the taste sensation of chocolate and strawberries. To get the most out of your diet, there are certain foods you can combine that complement each other nutritionally.
People often ask me if there are certain foods that they should, or shouldn’t, eat at the same time. Some people have heard that “If you don’t eat proteins and carbs at the same meal, you’ll lose weight.” But a study published about ten years ago debunked that idea. On the other hand, there is another concept around food combining––sometimes called food synergy or food pairing––which recognizes that certain foods offer a bit more nutritional benefit when eaten together than if you eat them separately. Think of it as a nutritional ‘one and one makes three.’
Many fruits and vegetables contain compounds called carotenoids. These are natural pigments that give foods like tomatoes, carrots and spinach their beautiful hues––from the pigments lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein, respectively. Carotenoids function as antioxidants in the body, which is one reason why fruits and vegetables are such an important part of a healthy diet. These important compounds are fat-soluble, which means that when you eat your veggies with a little bit of fat, your body is able to take up more carotenoids. So, adding some healthy fat from avocado or olive oil to your salad, for example, will help you absorb the carotenoids found in the romaine lettuce, carrots and tomatoes.
Iron comes in two different forms in foods. One form called ‘heme’ iron is found in fish, meat and poultry, and it’s more easily absorbed by the body than the so-called ‘non-heme’ iron found in certain veggies and grains. When you take in some vitamin C along with a source of non-heme iron, your body will absorb the iron better. And it doesn’t take much: the amount of vitamin C in one orange or one tomato can nearly triple iron absorption. So, tomatoes in your chili will help you absorb the iron in the beans. Strawberries will help you take up the iron in your cereal. And the iron in spinach will be better absorbed if you toss some orange or grapefruit wedges into your spinach salad.
Green tea phytonutrients, which are naturally occurring and contain some unique and beneficial antioxidants called catechins, act to help protect the body’s cells and tissues from oxidative damage. When you add lemon to your green tea, the vitamin C can help your body absorb these beneficial compounds. If you don’t like lemon in your tea, have a fruit that’s rich in vitamin C along with your brew, like a bowl of berries or a sliced orange.
When you drink milk that’s fortified with vitamin D (as is nearly all the milk sold in the US), the vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium in the milk. But there’s another great way to pair these two nutrients––fish and veggies. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel provide vitamin D, and leafy greens like turnip greens, mustard greens and kale provide calcium. Pairing the two will help your body take up the calcium in the veggies.
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Do you know how much protein you should be eating? Here’s how you can calculate your protein needs, as well as a list of how much protein some common foods contain.
Your daily protein needs depend on many factors, like how much you weigh and how much muscle you have—not just whether you’re male or female. But you might not know that if you did a simple search on the Internet. You’d probably read that most people eat more than enough protein to meet their needs, or that the protein needs of the “average” woman is about 46g per day, and the average man needs about 56g. But keep this in mind: these guidelines that have been established by Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine are set at levels to simply meet the basic needs of most people.
Does a ‘one size fits all’ model for protein make sense? Calorie needs differ from person to person, so why not protein? After all, people come in all different sizes, and their body composition is highly variable. It stands to reason that protein needs could vary a lot, too. It doesn’t seem right that a 220lb (100kg) guy who works construction and is into bodybuilding would have the same protein needs as a 150lb (68kg) male bank teller who sits most of the day and spends his evenings on the couch.
The other guideline from the Institute of Medicine recommends that we eat 10-35% of our total daily calories from protein. This guideline helps a little—a least it attempts to tie protein needs to calorie needs. But the percent-of-calories range is pretty wide, and most people would be hard-pressed to figure it out anyway. So, how can you estimate out how much protein your own body needs?
Since protein is so important in maintaining your lean body mass (basically, everything in your body that isn’t fat), the suggested amount that you should eat every day depends, in part, on how much lean mass you have. Ideally, you’d get a body composition measurement done (some home bathroom scales even do this for you), which would tell you how much lean body mass you have. Then you could easily determine the amount of protein suggested for you. That would be 0.5-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (or, about 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass).
Of course, not everyone has access to body composition analysis. And if you don’t, you can estimate your protein needs based on your current body weight. It’s not a perfect method. It doesn’t take into account how much muscle mass you have, but it does at least account for differences in body size.
– Pounds: Multiply your body weight by 0.7
– Kilograms: Multiply your body weight by 1.5
The number you get is a reasonable target for the amount of protein, in grams, that you should eat each day.
So, a woman who weighs 140lbs (64kg) should aim for about 100g of protein a day. A 220lb man (110kg) should shoot for at least 150g of protein.
Now that you’ve got a rough idea of how much protein you should be eating every day, you’ll want to estimate how much you’re actually eating. I find it easiest to estimate the amount of protein in a meal in 25g units, and the amount for snacks in about 10g units.
Here’s why. Common portions of many protein foods we eat at meals conveniently have about 25g of protein, and protein snacks tend to fall in the 10g range. So, it makes it easy to keep track. If you’re a woman aiming for about 100g of protein a day, you can easily do that by taking in 25g (one unit) at each meal, and have a couple protein snacks. If you’re a male aiming for about 150g a day, you can simply double up your protein units at a couple of meals in order to hit your target.
|Food Item||One Unit||
Grams of Protein
|Herbalife Formula 1 shake with Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder||2 scoops Herbalife Formula 1 + 8fl oz (237ml) nonfat milk + 1 TBSP Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder||
|Eggs||1 whole + 4 whites OR 7 whites||
|Nonfat cottage cheese||1 cup (8oz/225g)||
|Yogurt, Greek Style; plain or vanilla||1 cup (8oz/225g)||
|Turkey Breast||3oz (85g), cooked weight||
|Chicken Breast||3oz (85g), cooked weight||
|Lean Red Meat||3oz (85g), cooked weight||
|Ocean-Caught Fish||4oz (100g), cooked weight||
|Shrimp, crab, lobster||4oz (100g), cooked weight||
|Tuna||4oz (100g), water pack||
|Scallops||4oz (100g), cooked weight||
|Tofu, firm||5oz (125g)||
|Food Item||One Unit||Grams of Protein|
|Herbalife Roasted Soy Nuts||1 packet||
|Herbalife Protein Bar Deluxe||1 bar||
|Herbalife Beverage Mix||1 serving||
|Herbalife Creamy Chicken Soup||1 packet||
|Edamame (green soybeans)||½ cup (85g)||
|Yogurt, Greek Style, nonfat||4oz (100g)||
|Cottage cheese, nonfat||½ cup (85g)||
|Milk, skim||8oz (250ml)||
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By Nataniel Viuniski, M.D., Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board March 07, 2017 Obesity is a major health issue characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat. Whenever the energy balance is positive (consuming more calories than you expend), it will…
Here are three important reasons for you to pick up some weights and make yourself stronger.
It’s a fact: strong is in. A toned, muscular and functional body has become the new sexy for both men and women. The growing acceptance by the media and sportswear companies that beauty comes in many shapes and sizes is a positive step toward encouraging people to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
Best of all, a healthy body, which may come in different shapes and sizes, will never go out of fashion. Have you heard of the term ‘skinny fat’? This is when someone may look thin, but in actuality they have an unhealthy internal body-fat ratio that is detrimental to their health. There are also many people who may look a little larger, but are actually very health internally. With any exercise plan, your main priority should be to benefit the inside of your body. But as a bonus, exercise benefits your external appearance as well.
The following are important reasons why you should add weight and strength training to your regular fitness routine.
By lifting weights and becoming strong, you’ll change every aspect of your body. People with increased muscle mass burn more calories at rest than those without. It takes more energy for your body to sustain lean muscle and, therefore, your resting metabolic rate may increase as a result of lifting weights.
Weight-bearing exercise is very beneficial for bone health in people of all ages. The aging process is linked to a decrease in bone density and a greater risk of fractures. So, consider how you can add weights to your workout, because your bones rely on resistance training to stay healthy and strong.
If your body gets used to lifting weights, imagine how much easier just lifting your own body weight will be. Improved strength means that your daily activities will become easier, and if you’re training for a sport, an increase in muscular strength can significantly improve your performance.
Becoming stronger has so many benefits, and you don’t need to be worried about looking like an out-of-proportion body builder. Unless you’re dedicating hundreds of hours to lifting heavy weights and following a very specific body-building nutrition plan, the chances of you getting bulky are slim. Adding weight training to your routine two to three times a week and eating a protein-rich diet will have you well on your way toward achieving a healthy muscular physique. Also, don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights. But do make sure that you start out with manageable, lighter weights so that you can focus on technique for 12-15 reps and slowly work your way up to heavier weights. As you increase the weight you’re using, decrease to 8-10 reps.
Your body will start adapting to weight training right away, so get started today.
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Fruits and vegetables offer up natural plant compounds that help keep the body healthy, and variety is the key.
If you’re not a big fan of vegetables, you might think that you can make up for not eating them by eating lots of different fruits instead. It’s easy to see why. We almost always mention them in the same breath (“eat plenty of fruits and veggies”). Since they’re healthy plant foods, it’s natural to assume that they’re more or less interchangeable in terms of providing the nutrients the body needs.
To some extent that’s true. You can get your vitamin C just as easily from berries as from broccoli; potassium lurks in both beets and bananas. But fruits and veggies also offer up a dizzying and varied array of phytonutrients––natural plant compounds that can promote good health. So, getting the broadest range of phytonutrients is a lot more likely if you’re eating both fruits and vegetables.
Phytonutrients are responsible for the flavors and colors in fruits and vegetables. When you think about fruits and vegetables more from the standpoint of the huge range of flavors and hues they provide––and not so much as simply sources of vitamins and minerals––you can begin to appreciate how dissimilar they really are.
Berries and broccoli, for example, may look similar when it comes to their vitamin C content, but their phytonutrient profiles couldn’t be more different. Berries get their red-purple color from certain compounds that are a lot more widespread in fruits than in vegetables. On the other hand, there are different phytonutrients that are responsible for the strong odors found in broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. But you won’t find these smelly compounds in fruits. Another natural pigment, lycopene, gives a rich red color to fruits like tomatoes (yes, it’s a fruit), pink grapefruit and guava––but you’d be hard-pressed to find much in most vegetables.
I meet plenty of people who assume that eating fruits or vegetables is just as good as eating fruits and vegetables. So, I often use these examples to encourage them to get more variety in their diet. If this sounds like you, think of the hurdles in your way and how you might get over them.
Fewer people dislike fruits than veggies, and it’s often an issue of texture. If you don’t like the soft texture of ripe fruit, try whirling fresh or frozen fruit in the blender and add to smoothies or use as a topping on cottage cheese or yogurt. If some fruits are too tart for you, try the sweetest varieties. Tangerines, for example, are often sweeter than most oranges.
If you don’t like the texture of cooked veggies, try them raw. If strong flavors keep you from eating veggies, play around with seasonings, like herbs, garlic or citrus. You can also sneak them into soups, pasta sauces, casseroles and other healthy recipes. Or, cook them until tender-crisp, then chill and toss into a salad. That way you won’t pick up their strong odors in the steam.
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