Unhealthy Eating Habits!

By Nadia Alterio

Many women today are victims of unhealthy eating behaviors. Ironically, many of them also know their behavior is consequential, but would rather jeopardize their health to 'look good' over trying to follow a healthy eating regimen. It seems most women will try every and anything that is a short cut to faster results. If fad diets and unhealthy eating habits are long term, your health will begin to deteriorate.

There are 6 essential nutrients that our bodies require for health, growth, maintenance and development. These are protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. If we deprive ourselves of any one these nutrients, then we are jeopardizing not only our physical health, but our mental health as well, each through mal-nourishment.

Nutritionists will tell you that your body needs these nutrients for optimal health and that a deficiency in any one of these life sustaining nutrients can affect your health. Your body needs essential fats, vitamins, minerals, water, good protein and complex carbohydrates for energy, healing, health, existence AND fat loss or muscle building. If you are depleted any of these vital nutrients, your health is at risk. The following are women's shared unhealthy eating habits based on a compilation of my own experiences counseling women:


If you feel that you can't function properly without your usual morning cup of brew or that you can't go a day without it at some point, then YOU are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine consumed in large amounts on a regular basis is one of the most unhealthy and harmful things that you can do to yourself! If you're unsure of whether or not you are addicted to caffeine, test yourself by trying to go without it for 3 days. If you find that you get a headache or that you are very fatigued, then yes, you are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive substance that stimulates our central nervous system and in turn affects the function of important vital organs such as our heart, kidneys, and adrenals. Please, if you are abusing caffeine, make an effort to STOP immediately, or to at least cut back. If you have a cup of coffee and begin to get drowsy, LAY OFF FOR AT LEAST A WEEK! You are DESTROYING your adrenal glands!

Caffeine can be consumed in a number of forms. Tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and even decaffeinated coffee contains small amounts of it. Reserve this drink for before a workout or other luxurious moments and limit yourself to 4 times a week but not before 12 noon or after 8 pm.


I can't tell you how many women I have encountered who are guilty of this. Eating only fruits and vegetables is not the way to go. In a nutshell, all you are doing is eating fibrous carbs and simple sugars thus depriving yourself of the essential nutrients found in protein, fats, and other complex carbohydrates. If this is you, I'll bet that most of the time, you are either hungry to the point where you are starving or you feel really bloated, gassy, and are emotionally irregular. If you continue, you will eventually end up with either an inflamed bowel, a serious ulcer, a tiresome physical appearance or a very slow metabolism. You need protein, essential fats and complex carbohydrates for optimal functioning. Do not limit yourself of fats and proteins. It's foolish.


This is alarmingly common. We all know or have met someone who is guilty of this. THIS IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION. Following this type of eating regimen can be very harmful to your health because again, you are depriving your body from many essential nutrients that can not possibly be consumed in only one meal a day (taking supplements or not). You are not getting the required minerals, essential fats and vitamins that your body needs to be healthy by only one or two food groups. There are 12. Further, your metabolism will slow right down because you are not giving your body enough calories to think straight. Thus, when you do increase the number of meals you ingest, you will end up putting weight on, especially if you're not exercising because the metabolism has quit. That's why you bloat. But if you eat more meals regularly, the bloating, and the body fat will disappear.


If this is you, ask yourself why is it that the majority of fit and lean people today eat meat? If you find that you can't answer this, then why are you depriving yourself of a source of essential nutrients? Unless you are a vegetarian or allergic to meat, there's no reason why you shouldn't be eating it. LEAN CUTS OF MEAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT OR BULGING WITH MUSCLE IF EATEN IN MODERATION. When cooked to your preference, a nice lean healthy cut of steak is actually good for you. If red meat isn't your thing, then try some other form of protein such as chicken breast, tuna, salmon, etc. Experiment if you have to find the source of protein that works for you. Your bodies need protein for muscle growth, tissue repair and a beautiful healthy appearance. Yes, tofu and cottage cheese counts!


Please pay special attention to this one because it has now been proven after an extensive amount of research that ASPARTAME can kill you. Most aspartame victims don't have a clue that aspartame may be the cause of their many ailments! Aspartame converts to dangerous byproducts that have no natural counter measures. A dieter's empty stomach accelerates these conversions and amplifies the damage. Components of aspartame go straight to the brain, and this damage causes headaches, mental confusion, blindness, seizures and faulty balance. Don't be fooled by sugar substitutes, they are detrimental to your health. If you must have some form of sweetness for taste, then try STEVIA, an all natural sugar substitute that you can get in either liquid or powder form. Otherwise, you just may go blind.


I once knew a lady that seriously thought she could live on salads and salads alone. Absolutely crazy! It's funny how so many people still think that eating salads is the only way to lose weight. I remember watching an episode of The Cosby Show once where Bill was told by his doctor that his cholesterol was high and that he had to watch what he ate. From then on, his wife fed him salads at every meal and the funny thing about it was that with any opportunity that he had to cheat, he would. It made a very humorous episode, but on a serious note, he was experiencing the need for REAL food because his body was, you guessed it, deprived of nutrients not possibly found in salads alone. Salads alone will not fill you up, nor will it keep the weight off.


If you are one of the many that foolishly think that by taking additional vitamins alone or, calcium pills, fat burners, meal replacements etc. will make up for what you don't get through meals, then you are kidding yourself. This can be DANGEROUS to your health and even TOXIC. Taking an additional multivitamin will not make up for the nutrition to be gained from eating real food and most supplements are just CHEMICALS. Aside from the nutrients and minerals you receive from food and because it's almost impossible to meet all recommended doses through meals alone, you need supplements but you would still really only require the following supplements: a multi vitamin- MINERAL formula and an essential fatty acid formula. It's the key to optimal health and healthy weight maintenance. If you take a multi vitamin, it only addresses 20% of your body's needs. Fatty acids are 10%, but this is misleading as it is the 10% necessary for you to build muscle, burn fat and regulate hormones. And minerals are the other 70%.


At some point in our lives, I'm sure that may of you thought that this was also the answer to maintaining your weight. You probably thought it would allow you to have control over your appetite throughout the day. Not true. Not eating breakfast not only deprives you of the nutrients you need to kick start your body each morning but it also leads to the loss of muscle tissue. This in turn will leave you flabby and fat without much muscle tone. The body eats muscle tissue in search of lost nutrients when you are not providing it with sufficient amounts of food and to top it off your metabolism will slow right down again. Even if you start with just toast this week. Add fruit next week. A yogurt the next. Build up slowly to doing the right thing if necessary. Work towards having a full breakfast.


The only people I know that do this are usually uncomfortable in a bathing suit. Some claim they do not over eat, but they are still out of shape even though they exercise daily. It's common, but just as common are people who refuse to accept this is what skipping meals will result in. Again, it only slows the metabolism down.


The bottom line is that most women need at least 1800 calories a day. It is not as important as how many grams of fat you have, but whether or not you eat right at all. Don't limit your fat, but you shouldn't try to see how much you can ingest either. Shooting for 6 meals or snacks of 300 calories each a day and allowing 3 or four meals to contain 100 calories of 'essential' fats is good. If you are wasting time calculating fat grams and every little calorie ingested, DON'T! Just be sensible about it. The object is to eat ENOUGH, not to LIMIT yourself.