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19 Tips for Eating Healthy for a Long Life

Let’s face it: when it comes to enjoying snacks and tasty treats, we lack self-discipline. Even with the best intentions, we give into our impulses. You are not alone—we’re all guilty of enjoying food a little too much sometimes.   But what if there was a mindset that can limit the indulgences and put you on a path for health, fitness and weight loss? 

An occasional indulgence is part of life.  You should enjoy the foods that you love, but rather than making impromptu choices, you will plan the indulgences and focus on progress, not perfection. Every choice you make will make a difference—both good and bad.

Tip #1Planned Indulgences: You will not give up the food and drinks that you love. You should enjoy eating and drinking—you can’t live without food.  Here’s the key: your indulgences should be planned.  

If you love pizza, you’ll still eat it, but you’ll plan the indulgence, e.g., 2 slices of pizza on Friday evening. And when Friday evening comes along and you don’t feel that need the indulgence, you can skip it.

Tip #2Limit of One Indulgence Per Meal: When you go to a restaurant, plan one indulgence, but only one. Your indulgence might be a frozen margarita or chips and salsa, but you will not have more than one indulgence. If you have the margarita, you will skip the chips and salsa.

Tip #3Planning Meals for Special Events:  If you know that you’ll be traveling for vacation or attending a concert/special event, plan your meal in advance. Airports and concessions at stadiums have crappy, unhealthy food. So, you should make your own meal and bring it to the stadium.

You might make a healthy salad (with pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and walnuts), a veggie burger and a “No Cow” protein bar to the stadium or airport. Here’s the key: you’re always thinking ahead to challenging situations that will tempt you.

Tip #4Eat Every 3 Hours:  Everyone loses self-discipline when we’re hungry. You are far more likely to give into temptation when you’re hungry. To avoid this, eat every 3 hours.  

The quick, easy snack might consist of celery, carrots and hummus or a protein bar.  Give yourself permission to eat often and make healthy, nutritious choices for your snacks.

Tip #5Read Nutritional Labels:  Never eat anything without first reading the nutritional label. Food that is labeled as “healthy” is often misleading. Canned soup is full of sodium and salt and sugar are added to most processed foods.

Focus on the added sugar, sodium and cholesterol on the nutritional label.  A small package of salted nuts may only have 70 calories per serving, but contain 8 servings in the package. That small little package of salted nuts is highly dense in calories. 

Tip #6Make Your Own Meals:  Homemade meals are better tasting and healthier than anything you buy in a store. That’s a fact, jack! 

Experiment by making homemade hummus or your favorite Indian dish for dinner. You’ll find out that you’re a damn fine cook. And your meals will be tastier and more satisfying than any food that comes from a grocery store or restaurant.

Tip #7Eat Salad with Lunch and Dinner: Salad is God’s gift to mankind.  Add raw nuts, sliced strawberries, onions and peppers to spice up the salad and fill your tummy with as much as you want.  Fruits and vegetables are full of goodness for your body.

“The process of eating is perhaps the most intimate encounter we have with our world; it is a process in which what we eat becomes part of our body.”

                                     --T. Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study

Salads are a great way to satisfy your hunger. When you eat a salad with every meal (except breakfast), you won’t be hungry for a second or third serving of the entrée.  This is a great way to eat in moderation.

Tip #8Have Emergency Snacks Read: When you are going for a long workout, hike or jog, have an emergency snack ready, e.g., a veggie burger, hummus, celery and carrots.  You want to be ready to quell the hunger when you will be tempted to indulge.

Tip #9Drink Lots of Water: Always have a water bottle handy. Drinking water throughout the day will keep you hydrated and diminish your appetite. Water is pure goodness!

Tip #10Control Your Environment:  If you have no self control over certain foods, eliminate those foods from your kitchen/house.  

If you can’t stop eating salted nuts (one of my “trigger” foods), throw them out and stop buying them. If your trigger food is out of sight and mind, you won’t have to exercise self-control.

Tip #11Put the Fork Down After Every Bite:  Become mindful and deliberate about eating by putting your fork down after bite. Savor the taste of the food and enjoy your company.  

Far too often, you will see friends and family members eating like it is a race. Slow down and your dining experience will become more memorable.

Tip #12Embrace Discomfort (but not pain): If you are inclined to fast or skip a meal, don’t go to an extreme.  If you want to accelerate weight loss, perhaps you might skip one meal/week, but that’s all. Anything more than skipping one meal/week will be painful and will not be sustainable. 

Tip #13Avoid Processed Meat and Red Meat: Meat is not healthy.

According to the World Health Organization, processed meat has some of the same carcinogenic properties as tobacco and asbestos.  The World Health Organization classifies processed meat (e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs) as a grade I carcinogen and red meat as a grade II carcinogen (a “likely” carcinogen).

“I have come to see that the benefits produced by eating a plant-based diet are far more diverse and impressive than any drug or surgery used in medical practice. 

Heart diseases, cancers, diabetes, stroke and hypertension, arthritis, cataracts, Alzheimer’s Disease, impotence and all sorts of other chronic diseases can be largely prevented. These diseases, which generally occur with aging and tissue degeneration, kill the majority of us before our time.”

                                     --T. Colin Campbell, “The China Study

Meat clogs your arteries with fatty plaque that inevitably leads to coronary artery disease and heart failure. If you want to live a long, healthy life, avoid meat. 

Tip #14Keep Track of Your Food Consumption and Exercise:  Keep track of everything you eat and drink. You will be more conscious of your decisions just by keeping track of them.

Tip #15The Power of Daily Accountability: This is truly the magic ingredient to life-long health and nutrition. Even when you have unplanned indulgences and slip ups, your accountability partner will keep you moving in the right direction one meal at a time.

Do you have a friend who is willing to be your accountability partner?  Schedule phone calls on the same time every day to check-in and report your progress. That’s nothing like having an accountability partner.  

Tip #16Focus on Progress, not Perfection: The goal is not perfection. You will have good and bad days, but when you become consistent in the choices that you make, success becomes inevitable. With time and patience, you will fit into the skinny jeans and be the same weight that you were in high school. 

Don’t worry about the results. If you stay focused on the process, the results will take care of themselves.

Tip #17:  Become an Expert in Nutrition: What is more important than your health and fitness?  Nothing. Learn everything you can about nutrition and treat your body like it will last forever.  Hippocrates, the father of medicine (460-357 B.C.) said it best, “He who does not know food, how can he understand the diseases of man?”

“You have only one mind and one body for the result of your life. If you aren’t taking care of them when you’re young, it’s like leaving the car out in hailstorms and letting rust eat away at it.”

                                     --Warren Buffett

You might begin with the classic book, “The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long Term Health”. If you take heed of the advice in this excellent book, your body will reward you for the rest of your life.

Tip #18Don’t Listen to the Naysayers:  Your “friends” will tell you that having a belly and getting fat are a part of the aging process and you are destined to have the same outcome. This is BS.  Don’t listen to them.

You can be more fit and healthy as you age. Make fitness the #1 priority in your life and your body will reward you.

Tip #19Give Yourself a Special Gift:  During the pandemic, I gained more body weight than I am willing to admit and my weight gain was “very noticeable”, according to my wife (don’t tell Lisa I shared this with you).  

On January 18, 2021, I decided that I needed help on my health journey. I joined MyBodyTutor (www.MyBodyTutor.com) and began daily accountability phone calls with my tutor, Matt Burke.  Slowly and surely, I began losing weight a little at a time (about ½ lb/week).  There were good and bad weeks and many unplanned indulgences, but my tutor kept me on track. And I was stunned by the results.

My body weight dropped from 193.6 to 165.6 and my waist sized dropped from 36 to 32 inches. I am less than 5 pounds away from the body weight that I weighed in high school. 

Why do I share this with you? If you want to lose a few pounds (we all do) or know someone who struggles with their body weight, you might check out MyBodyTutor. This decision was transformative for me and I know it can do the same for you or your loved one.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay 

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.