There’s no disputing the proof that Michael Booth knows what he’s talking about when it comes to healthy eating. His “before body,” one hundred pounds heavier than his “after body,” means he not only practices what he preaches and knows the best tips having tried them himself, but he also can empathize with patients struggling to become healthier by making better food choices.
The Howard graduate in Nutritional Sciences and registered dietician offers the following tips:
- Consult your doctor before beginning any new eating and exercise pattern.
- Set small, reasonable goals. Rather than trying to lose a great deal of weight quickly, make small changes. For example, limit mindless snacking in front of the TV and cut back on the number visits to fast food restaurants. This will make a big impact over the long term.
- Eat until satisfied and don’t stuff yourself past the point of fullness. If takes you about 20 minutes to recognize that you are getting full. Slow down, chew your food, and listen to your body. It will be your guide to determining just how much you should be eating.
- Often, portion control has more of an impact than changing the food you typically eat. When you go to a restaurant, for example, you can ask for half your portion as a meal and half to take home for another meal. Spreading your calories in 5-6 small meals throughout the day will keep you from overeating.
- Do your research and learn how to choose healthy food. Fad diets aren’t made for long term results. Instead, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov, which gives practical advice on how to portion what you eat to ensure adequate intake of macro- and micronutrients. “What helped me get where I wanted to be was learning the science behind what I was doing,” said Booth.
- Choose fresh and whole foods versus pre-packaged or fast food. One way to control ingredients is to cook at home, which can be made into a fun, family activity. This will help cut down on sugar, fat and salt intake which in excess can lead to the development of various chronic diseases.
- Cut down on sugar, fat and salt. Salt has an even greater negative effect on African-Americans, says Booth.
- Find opportunities to replace soda and juice with water. There are hidden calories in many drinks that can really increase your daily calorie count.
- Eat until satisfied, not full.
- Add exercise. According to the CDC, the general recommendation for most healthy adults is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. briskly walking). Taking a walk with your kids benefits everyone’s hearts.
- Measure your progress, but do not be discouraged by the scale. The scale may not be changing, but as you increase your level of physical activity, you will likely be decreasing the amount of fat and increasing the amount of muscle stored on your body. In this case, it is a good idea to use a tape measure in combination with the scale to truly track your success.