Five Principles of Healthy Eating
During our freshman year at college, my friends and I devised a list of five secrets or principles for controlling our weight. These little tricks, which become instinctual after you practice them for a while, made us much more aware of what and when we ate—and healthier because of it.
1. Always Have Breakfast. This ensures that your body won’t go into starvation-preservation mode and also provides your body and brain with energy so you can be on top of your game.
2. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, including one glass before every meal. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, try to drink 70 ounces of water each day. It seems like a lot, but drinking a sufficient amount of water keeps your complexion clear and skin glowing, flushes toxins out of your body, aids in good digestion and healthy teeth, and suppresses appetite. Also, drinking a full glass of water right before bed helps prevent bags under your eyes, as this swelling is caused by an abundance of salt in the body; water flushes it out of your system.
3. Eat at least every three hours (three meals and
. Eat at least every three hours (three meals and two snacks of fruit or veggies). This makes sure that you are fueled throughout the day so your body doesn’t go into starvation-preservation mode. It also ensures that you won’t be ravenous at any point in the day, making it less likely that you’ll binge when you do eat or resort to eating something unhealthy just to put something in your stomach. Stacey, a sophomore in my dorm, eats a piece of fruit before going to any social gathering where she knows there will be carb-loaded, processed snacks . . . and now my friends and I do the same thing. You’ll be amazed how much a juicy, sweet piece of fruit cuts your craving for salty, stale chips splashed with beer.
4. Count to your age before you “cheat.” Anytime you find you are about to eat something that would not be classified as “healthy,” take the time to count to your age. Much of this sort of eating is impulsive and you don’t actually take the time to think about whether you want to eat the item or not. You just cram it in and think nothing of it—until it creeps up onto your butt. If you still want to have a bite after your countdown, feel free: you’ve made a conscious decision to indulge, not a thoughtless gobble.
5. Avoid eating within two hours of sleeping. Eating right before you go to bed is a problem for two reasons. The first is that you don’t have any opportunity to burn off the calories you’ve eaten before sleeping, so they are absorbed into your blood and transported around your body, where they are eventually stored as fat. The second problem is that, while you may be able to fall asleep right away, the digestive processes going on in your stomach will require your brain to be partly awake, making your sleep much less restful and deep.