On any given day, we don’t do much thinking about diet and nutrition unless we’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or if we’re trying to drop/gain a few pounds. Sure, we try to eat right and stay healthy, but during March, National Nutrition Month, (NNM) let’s learn more because nutrition and diet are critical to our quality/quantity of life. Thank goodness for “…an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. NNM focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”[i]
I don’t think about food 24/7 but I do try to stay away from websites that have language like “cookie preferences” because what cookies mean to me and what they mean web-wise is totally different. They’re talking about “optimizing and personalizing online content experience.”[ii] I’m strictly talking about oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip! Today let’s be healthier, on purpose, and here are a few hints:
Pay attention. Read food labels, and cut your salt, fat and sugar intake before you have to. About six years ago I developed diabetes even though my doctor warned me two years before that if I didn’t pay attention to my pre-diabetic symptoms, I was on the right road to developing the full-blown disease. More than 100 million adults in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) are living with pre-diabetes or diabetes.
After I got diagnosed with Type 2, I lost 12 pounds the first month because I was afraid to eat. When I went to my nutrition and diabetes education class a month later, my classmates and I were relieved to know we didn’t have to give up mashed potatoes and all the things we loved–we learned to enjoy them in smaller portions.
Key words here—make adjustments before you have to. Eat to live not live to eat and if you crave rich, gooey things, you’d be surprised at how little it takes to satisfy that craving. Buy individual-sized bags of chips or fun-sized candies, divide them and put the others away. Recently I stood awestruck as a demonstrator showed the 17 or 18 spoons of sugar that went in one 20-ounce cola. The fruit drinks that taste soooo good are even worse. Learn to enjoy water instead and eat five to seven servings of fruits, and vegetables, less meat, and fewer sweets.
Get moving. Exercise is as much a part of living well as clean air and drinking water. Park at the far end of the parking lot when you’re shopping, find a park, mall, or walking trail and make movement a priority. Instead of staying in your chair and fast forwarding through the commercials, get up and walk/dance around the room. Move the clothes and other things off the treadmill and get on it at least three times a week.
Invest in family meal time. I am actively advocating family meals at home without social media, television and phone interruptions. With so many school and extracurricular activities, making mealtime significant and satisfying is a real challenge but it is absolutely worth it. Make meal preparation and clean up a family affair—research shows that children who help grow and prepare their own food are less likely to be finicky and unhealthy. If you can’t find time to eat meals together at least three times a week, consider cutting back on the 50 million events, meetings, and activities you signed up for. Trust me, your children will live without activities every night of the week—and so will you. (I’m just sayin.’)
Eat well, be well, and live happily ever after…
Join me Saturday, March 9, for the Fifth Annual Phenomenal Women Speak Celebration of Women’s History Month, Christ Church, 2120 Anderson Avenue, Brownsville, TN, 3:00-5:00 p.m. It’s free—prepare to be inspired.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.