Do you work out five days a week and know the macronutrient and micronutrient breakdown of your daily meals? When you get your annual bloodwork results back form your doctor is there a gold star on it? Do you hang it on the fridge next to your childs artwork? At the end of the week do you crave cucumber water and vegetables with hummus? If so good for you...but read no further because you would seem to be a disciplined, dedicated person who knows how to follow a schedule and plan and this article is not for you. This article is for the person who always has a good excuse for not going to the gym, a person who just can't seem to stick to a diet and someone when you ask them how many calories they consumed today, their response is..."a lot I think". In general this article is for those of us who are all about easy. Now obviously the effort put into something factors into the results but if you want to do the bare minimum and still get some health benefits then read on.

First lets talk about your diet. The word itself sounds restrictive so instead lets call it our daily foods. Everyone has heard about how we should eat and what we should eat and to be honest on most days we do the exact opposite. There are only a few absolutes when it comes to eating healthy all the rest is bonus. Is organic better than non-organic? GMO or non-GMO? Free range vs. commercial? The bottom line is eat what you can afford. Wash your produce and enjoy. If you are pregnant maybe pay a little more attention to the packaging but for the rest of us...throw it in the cart. Drink water. Usually I recommend dividing your weight in half and shooting for that number in ounces daily. Keep a water bottle in front of you because if you're like me if it's not in front of you, chances are you won't drink, and you can be thirsty and mistake it for hunger. Have a ballpark idea of how many calories you should be eating. If you can't tell me if your are eating closer to 1500 calories or 4500 calories we may have a problem. You can figure out how much you should be eating by looking up a BMR calculator and if you want to loose weight simply subtract 250 from that number and that is your new caloric goal. After a couple of weeks step on a scale to see if you are losing 1-2 pounds per week. If not you have options. You could subtract another 250 calories per day or you could increase the number of calories you burn in a day by exercising a little more each day. Or the best option is a little of both. As far as what you eat, use common  sense and be honest with yourself. For example let me ask you a couple of  questions about daily nutrition scenarios and you try and answer the best you can.

You find yourself running late in the morning and really don't have time to fix anything for breakfast. You should...

a) stop at a drive-thru on the way to work.
b) just skip breakfast and eat a big lunch
c) eat a tablespoon of peanut butter and grab a banana.
d) eat a cold piece of leftover pizza.

This is a trick question because any answer would be accepted as long as you stop at the grocery store on the way home and pick up some easy morning foods such as smoothies, bagels, an egg white carton, veggies, fruit, yogurt, oatmeal etc. so it doesn't happen again. You are going to have days when you have to grab and go, the trick is to always have healthy choices to grab.

It's Friday night. You've been good all week with what you ate. In fact, you think you may have eaten something healthy that you couldn't even pronounce (Quinoa). You meet up with your friends for a drink. Do you have:

a) Water or diet soda.
b) a glass of wine.
c) some thin beer with no taste but only 4.5 grams of carbs.
d) whiskey

Another trick question. You can drink whatever you want in moderation and unless you are on some sort of ketogenic diet DO NOT look at the label on the beer for nutritional information. It's beer. Enjoy. If it makes you feel better there are articles espousing the health benefits of both wine and beer. There are even health benefits in whiskey

There are more carbs in beer than in liquor, and it may surprise you but a 12-ounce serving of Guinness sets you back 125 calories—just 15 more than the same serving of Bud Light. And if you choose Bud Light over Guinness you need to reassess your priorities and whether or not you really even want a beer. The bottom line is, part of the reason to eat healthy during the week is so you can cheat a little on the weekends and not feel guilty. If you eat 40 small meals (including snacks) in a week, don't be afraid to let 10 percent (4) of those meals to be cheat meals. Just for the record I don't mean eat an entire pizza, but an extra slice. Constantly beating yourself up over a temporary lapse in judgment concerning your diet is no way to live, so don't do it. Instead, come to the realization that we are human and mistakes will happen.

The advice that I give my patients when it comes to eating healthy is to make sure that you have healthy options on hand at your house at all times. If not you will end up eating whatever is laying around (Oreos, goldfish (the snack that smiles back), your children's Halloween candy, chocolate icing etc.) Make small changes over time instead of drastically revamping your entire food source all at once, because that is setting yourself up for failure. For more tips check out a similar post.

I may do a follow up regarding the minimum amount of exercise needed to be effective for weight loss...or I might just be lazy and skip it ;-)

Dr. Kevin E. Crowley

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