Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

As someone who has struggled with weight all my life — and who has watched family member after family member deal with conditions like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes – I am interested in learning how to live a healthier lifestyle and how to teach my kids to be healthy. What I’ve learned over time, after regaining the weight I lost using pills and fad diets, is that quick fixes really don’t work. What works, and what you will hear most nutrition experts advocate, is making small step-by-step changes to your lifestyle.

People who have the most success, not just with losing weight but with maintaining a healthy way of life, make incremental changes to their diet and their activity levels that can be maintained for the long term. That is really the key to success: Whatever you are going to do, you have to be able to make it a long-term habit. Nutrition is fundamental in overall health; it affects energy, mood, sleep patterns, menstruation cycles and memory. It’s more than just diet changes, though — it’s a matter of changing your whole lifestyle. The changes you make have to be changes for life.

Skip the Diet and Eat Right

We live in a fast-paced, oblivious society where exercising and healthy eating are low on the list of priorities – if we’re not eating fast food, we’re eating processed food. Most of us are eating on the run, at our desks or in front of the TV, and that creates a disconnect from what we’re eating – and how much. We’re simply not thinking about it. Studies show that when you eat while watching TV, you eat hundreds of extra calories without even realizing it – and an extra 100 calories a day every day for a year amounts to TEN pounds.

There is no trick to weight loss: reduce portion sizes, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and add activity everywhere you can.

READ MORE: Eat less and move more to make healthy progress with weight loss.

Eight Healthy Changes to Make Right Now

  1. Cut out all foods made with white flour, like white bread
  2. Stop consuming anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil
  3. Eliminate high-fructose corn syrup
  4. Add fruits and vegetables – it doesn’t matter which ones
  5. Start eating omega-3s like salmon and other fish, nuts, or even a fish-oil pill if there’s no other way
  6. When you eat grains, make sure they are whole grains
  7. Always eat breakfast
  8. Always keep your sugar-to-fiber ratio low (don’t eat foods where the number of sugar grams exceeds the number of fiber grams)