Explaining the Diet Principles – Part 1

September 22

You have examined your present way of eating and have decided to make healthy changes in your food choices. But do you know that diet is more than just about the food you eat? It’s also about your eating habits, as we talked about earlier in Part 1 of the Fitness4Her Diet. {+}

1. Eat often, but eat in small portions.
I try to eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. My meal schedule works best this way: 7 am: breakfast. 10 am: snack. 1 pm: lunch. 4 pm: snack 7pm: dinner. I’ve eaten this way my whole life, and never had a weight problem or a significant health problem. If your daily exigencies don’t accommodate this exact schedule of eating, try to create a similar one, with five small meals instead of three large ones. Remember that when it comes to a women’s fitness, eating frequent, small meals will help keep you from overeating and from making unhealthy food choices.

Going for long periods of time without eating causes your metabolism to all but shut down to conserve fat and energy. A slower metabolism burns fewer calories.

Try eating an apple about a half hour or an hour before mealtime to ensure that you don’t overeat. This is an especially valuable tool if you’re going to be dining out. If you eat an apple shortly before going to a restaurant, you won’t eat all the bread in the breadbasket while waiting for your food.

When you prepare a meal, keep the portions small—each serving about the size of the palm of your hand. Larger portions tend to make us feel as if we need to eat all the food on our plate, that’s why I stress preparing small portions. However, if you need to cook a big pot of food, for the family or to eat throughout the week, you can still practice portion control.

Serve yourself a reasonable but small portion in a nice dish and don’t go back for seconds. Make it difficult to dish up extras, by tossing the spoon into the sink, closing the pot and putting it out of mind. If you feel the need for an additional serving, wait at least 10 minutes after your first portion before going back, this will give your stomach enough time to send a signal to the brain that it is full.

The key to portion control is to stop eating when you are full. Learn the language your body is speaking. Don’t take another bite past that satisfied feeling. Remember: your next meal is only a few hours away.

2. Don’t skip meals.
A mistake that dieters often make is skipping meals to cut calories in an effort to lose weight. But did you know that forgoing just one meal a week for a year can do major damage to your health, including your metabolism. When we deprive ourselves of regular meals, the levels of the feel good serotonin get thrown out of kilter, leaving us feeling cranky and craving starches or sugars. Our metabolism slows down, as our body struggles to conserve energy. We must keep our body fueled with food in order for it to work efficiently.

So enjoy your meals, people who eat regularly are more likely to keep off unnecessary pounds. Don’t feel guilty about eating. Negative thoughts like guilt, produce negative results and reactions. Plus, it goes back to diet as a way of life. This has absolutely got to be a way of eating that you can live with. Thus, skipping meals is not the solution.

Remember to always plan ahead to your next meal and try to keep a healthy snack on the ready. This way you will be less likely to skip a meal or leave yourself open to calorie laden temptations.

3. Don’t forget your fiber.
Fiber is important because it reduces body weight and body fat. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals. For optimum colon health, 25-35 grams of fiber is recommended each day.

Soluble fiber comes from foods that are easily dissolved in water. This type of fiber helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels while helping you control your hunger and cravings. It tends to give you a nice full feeling, which keeps you from over eating. Foods containing soluble fiber include strawberries, apples, pears, chickpeas, beans and oatmeal. These foods are particularly good for lowering cholesterol. 10 grams of soluble fiber will help to lower your LDL, which is also known as the “bad cholesterol.”

Insoluble fiber comes from foods that can’t be dissolved in water. This type of fiber adds volume to food without adding a lot of calories. Eating foods that contain insoluble fiber will help your digestive system stay regular. Foods rich in insoluble fiber include high fiber cereal, whole wheat bread, wheat bran, fruits and vegetables.

Increasing fiber can help decrease the risks of colon and rectal cancers. It helps to control blood sugar levels and has been proven to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diets high in fiber have been associated with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, making it a positive force in decreasing the risk of heart disease.

Adding more fiber to your diet has relieved intestinal conditions such as constipation and diverticulitis. Fiber helps to increase the size and bulk of your stool and softens it, making it easier to pass. An increase in fiber may help to alleviate conditions such as hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome.

It’s very easy to increase the amount of fiber you get everyday. Adding a cup of raspberries to your breakfast can provide you with 8 grams of fiber. A cup of split peas adds a whopping 16 grams to your daily intake. For a mid-day snack, 3 cups of air-popped popcorn supplies your body with over 3 grams of fiber.

Try this healthy hint: Instead of weighing your salad down with cheese, add a handful of nuts instead. This will give you protein and fiber in one serving. Nuts are high in saturated fats, so a few nuts will do.

Start a discussion by leaving a comment.

Part 2
Part 3

~ Karen Ficarelli

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Posted In: Diet


  1. Hi there,

    I would like to know where I can obtain good healthy recipes. Recipes that make you want to eat healthy all the time.

    many thanks

  2. paulisha on 09/22/2009 at 7:09 am
  3. I have tried so many times to lose weight i do not even know where or how to start anymore help please.

  4. nelle on 10/11/2009 at 10:34 pm
  5. […] Parts 1 and 2 of Explaining the Diet Principles, we discussed portion control, skipping meals, adding […]

  6. Explaining the Diet Principles - Part 3 | Fitness 4 Her on 11/23/2009 at 1:02 am
  7. i want to know about my diet plan…..what should i have to take? my hieght is 5.6 and my weight is about 72 kg..i want to lose my weight about 25 kg with the help of diet ….so please tell me about some diet plan ….i will be very thankfull to you …

  8. Ghashiya on 12/11/2009 at 9:36 am
  9. I work out at least least 3x’s a week corework out with weights some pliaties,&30 min of taebo Iam 5’7 and weigh more than I look like I do! I currently weigh 210
    I started working out in Feb I weight 243lbs I want to lose at least 35 more pounds before Dec what can i do to reach my goal?

  10. havingtrouble48 on 09/22/2010 at 9:27 am

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