By Rocio Medina, M.D.
So many of us want to be a certain weight. We convince ourselves that reaching a certain number on the scale will help us look and feel good. And, more often than not, we resort to dieting shortcuts that neglect the foundations of nutritional balance.
Some see nutrition as consuming the same amount of calories as we expand, which, in turn, helps to manage weight. An ideal body weight is important, yes, but that’s just one benefit. Balanced nutrition can also result in healthier skin, better joints, proper brain functioning, and good digestion. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a “healthy diet can protect the human body against certain types of diseases, in particular noncommunicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and skeletal conditions.” How awesome is that?
Sadly, this is a reality many find easier said than done. A recent study called the Herbalife Asia Pacific Balanced Nutrition Survey revealed that over a third of its respondents struggled with applying balanced nutrition in their daily lives. Their tendency is to choose ready-made and convenient meals over more nutritious ones.
A healthy and well-balanced diet combines the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, and fiber. That means consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, and less salt and sugar. Herbalife Nutrition stands by a “4-3-3” philosophy on this. Think 40% carbohydrates, 30%V protein, and 30% fat, plus vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and water.
Interestingly, the same survey showed that participants generally lacked in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber even if their diets were close to the 4-3-3 ratio. The culprits: lack of time and lack of motivation.
Luckily, it’s not hard to make positive nutrition a habit and lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you get started!
1. Map out your nutrition journey. Understand your body’s nutrition needs and personal goals. Whether you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight, it’s important to factor in age, height, gender, lifestyle, and overall health. If you’re unsure of where to start, seek support from health experts and groups. Over a third of the survey respondents agreed that if they had expert advice for a personalized nutrition plan, they were more motivated to adopt balanced nutrition to their lives.
2. Place healthier choices within reach. Are you succumbing to fast food because it’s convenient? Review the circumstances behind your food choices. Over half of the survey respondents admitted that easy access to healthy food would make it easier for them to practice balanced nutrition. We suggest stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks and placing them where they can be easily accessible. In terms of cooking, opt for steaming and broiling instead of deep-frying. And if you decide to eat out, choose healthier options on the menu.
Remember also to avoid highly refined food like white rice and bread, as well as food made of white flour such as cakes and cookies. For protein, oily fish, legumes, and beans are great sources. Meat is also in option, though be careful of the saturated fat content, which can raise cholesterol. If you haven’t got much time on your hands, consider going for protein shakes. They make for good meal replacements.
3. Find strength in numbers. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will not only help you reach your exercise and nutrition goals, but also stay on track. 35% of the respondents in the survey attest to this. Furthermore, the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who regularly walk in groups have lower blood pressure, resting heart rate and total cholesterol than those who don’t. If you’re up for it, create a support system for yourself by joining an existing walking group or organizing your own with friends, neighbors or colleagues! A number of Herbalife independent members have already opened nutrition clubs that provide a supportive and inclusive environment those interested in leading healthy, active lifestyles. People gather at these clubs to share exercise tips and consume science-based wellness products developed by Herbalife Nutrition (which were guided by more than 300 scientists, 36 of them Ph.D.s).
As you embark on your own nutrition journey, don’t forget to review your needs from time to time. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But we can assure you that balanced nutrition will make feel more energized and noticeably better looking!
Dr. Rocio Medina is a former professor of nutrition and obesity and, with other professors, designed a program of study in these areas at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, to help prepare professionals in this field. She is also Herbalife Vice President, Worldwide Nutrition Training, and a member of Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board, responsible for setting the strategic direction of educating and training Independent Herbalife Members and members of the public on the principles of nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Medina was recently in the Philippines as guest NAB speaker for Herbalife Nutrition’s 2017 Asia Pacific (APAC) Wellness Tour. The country was the last stop of her five-city APAC tour which include Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan, and Cambodia.