What Is the Total Body Lifestyle? - dummies

What Is the Total Body Lifestyle?

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Embracing a healthy way of living for permanent, lasting changes is vital for creating improved health and wellness. The Total Body Diet is about adding beneficial foods, creating new behaviors, and fostering a sense of responsibility to improve the quality of your life.

Think about the value you’re adding to your life by reaching your health goals — whether it be weight loss or maintenance, reducing disease risk or managing current conditions, improved strength and flexibility, getting better sleep, or reducing stress.

It’s beyond dieting — it’s about living

This is not a typical diet plan, in which weight loss is the end all and be all. The Total Body Diet teaches you how to live with a greater awareness of how what and how you eat affects your mind and body for the better. It puts you on a path for greater understanding of how to navigate daily food choices, create more structure in your life, and eliminate the excuses that stand in your way to make significant health changes.

How do you get beyond the dieting mentality of eliminating certain foods? Many people struggle with the dieting mentality, so the foods they eliminate become taboo and may become the object of cravings as they’re deemed “off-limits.” This restrictive thinking makes food less enjoyable, too.

Balance is important. If you can, eat whole, minimally processed foods most of the time. Think about fueling your body with nutrient-dense food to keep your blood pressure, blood sugar, and waistline in check.

It’s about changing your lifestyle! The Total Body Diet uses lifestyle as the first therapy to achieving wellness, health, and vitality for life. If you change your everyday behaviors and way of living, you’ll see positive health outcomes above and beyond your dreams.

Making healthier food choices

Making healthier foods choices is challenging — even when you know what the better choice is. A 2014 Gallup poll asked Americans about their consumption habits and found that more than 90 percent of American adults try to include fruit and vegetables in their daily diets. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables (2013) reveals that American adults eat fruit a mere 1.1 times per day and vegetables only about 1.6 times per day.

Face it — you’re bombarded with a myriad of food choices every day. In fact, according to Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink, PhD, people make more than 200 decisions about food every day! Many of these choices are mindless — unless you tap into a more conscious, mindful way of eating.

A trip to the food court in your office building offers you a daunting number of food choices — from salads to soups to burgers and fries to pasta. What do you choose? Are you on automatic pilot and pick whatever sounds good at the moment? Or do you go there with a plan, with your sights set on making a healthy choice, which includes vegetables, fruits, lean protein, lowfat or fat-free dairy, and whole grains? It may sound simple, but without a plan, your healthy eating intentions can get easily sidetracked. So, what do you do? Set boundaries and create a healthier path.

Setting boundaries to create limitless possibilities

Every relationship in your life — including your relationship with food — thrives better with boundaries. If “anything goes” in a friendship, marriage, or relationship with a co-worker, that relationship can get out of control and unhealthy. Your needs may be ignored, taken advantage of, and minimized, if you don’t clearly establish limits.

You may find it hard or easy to set boundaries, but whatever the case, knowing the importance of having limits with food is important to building a healthier relationship with food.

In the psychology world, personal boundaries are defined as the physical, emotional, and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others.

Here are seven simple steps to setting boundaries with food:

  • Eat nutrient-dense foods first, before highly processed, empty-calorie foods. Color your plate with fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 2 cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups of vegetables a day, as well as at least 3 servings of whole grains — before you eat refined grains with added sugar and solid fat, like cookies, crackers, and cake.

  • Go lean with protein. Include plant proteins like beans and peas, tofu, nuts and seeds, seafood, skinless chicken and turkey breast, and loin cuts of beef or pork. Limit processed meats like bacon, salami, pepperoni, and prosciutto. Choose lowfat or fat-free dairy products — aim for 3 servings per day. A serving is 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, 1-1/2 ounces of hard cheese, or 2 ounces of soft cheese.

  • Keep calories light when it comes to beverages. Avoid sugar-laden soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and full-fat milk. Drink mostly water through the day!

  • Start your day with a balanced breakfast. Aim to have a lean protein, whole grains, a piece of fruit or a vegetable, and one serving of lowfat or fat-free dairy.

  • Bring lunch and snacks with you to work or school to limit dining out in the afternoon. You’ll save money and calories.

  • Go grocery shopping with a list. This way you have a plan going in and you’ll minimize impulse purchases.

  • Don’t eat chips, cookies, or crackers out of a box, bag, or carton. Put a serving on a small plate or in a bowl and put the rest away.