Health & Wellness: Rediscovering Nutrition

A
healthy diet is an important factor in achieving fitness goals and
preventing chronic diseases. However, trendy fads and long lists of
dos and don’ts can become overwhelming. Following too many
complicated rules could lead to defeat.

“You truly are what
you eat, so eat right, feel strong and live long,” says Umo
Ekpenyong of Transformations Fitness Center in Edmond. She is a
Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a bachelor’s degree in
Nutritional Science from University of Oklahoma. Ekpenyong’s
passion is to educate and guide people in achieving and maintaining a
healthy lifestyle through good nutrition habits.

The
first step is to gather information about nutrition from reliable
sources. “The more you know about good health and good nutrition,
the more you’ll know what to look for,” said Ekpenyong.


Another
secret to success is no secret at all: be consistent. “Any change
that you make is not going to be easy at first,” said Ekpenyong.
Transformations like this take time. Make small, realistic goals that
will prevent you from giving up. Once you have accomplished a small
goal, like eating one serving of vegetables with every meal, move to
something bigger.

“When people feel that they have to go
cold-turkey with everything they want and desire, you are just
setting yourself up for a failure,” says Ekpenyong.

Fruits
and vegetables are a staple to any diet, but they can expire rather
quickly. Grocery shopping on a regular basis is important to keep
your food fresh. Ekpenyong recommends establishing a grocery budget
for the week which will limit costly junk food and encourage
healthier food purchases.

Always
look at nutrition labels, Ekpenyong advises. Knowing exactly
what is in the product will help you determine if there are enough
nutrients and energy for the calories that will be consumed.

In
addition to eating right and getting educated, it might be beneficial
for you to find a partner. Switching to a healthier lifestyle with a
partner or significant other might feel easier than if you’re doing
it alone. “If you have someone else who is trying to
accomplish the same goals as you, you can help each other out,”
Ekpenyong says.

It
can be difficult to get your family on board with a healthier
lifestyle, so find creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables
in meals. “Kids like things that are appealing, that look fun. A
really good technique for kids is maybe having them actually create
things,” said Ekpenyong.

Working
moms can plan ahead for their busy week by stocking up on healthy
options and packing small snacks for everybody in the family. After a
long day at work, many of us probably don’t have the energy to
start chopping, washing, baking and mixing healthy ingredients. In
that case, being prepared in advance is smart. “Otherwise you’re
just going to grab anything that’s around you,” Ekpenyong said.

Good
nutrition doesn’t mean you have to cook at home every day. If
you are eating out, just choose healthier options, even if your
friends don’t. “Thinking about the long-term effects of eating
healthier foods is definitely going to help people make better
decisions,” said Ekpenyong.

Another
important component of a healthy lifestyle is moderate physical
exercise. Not only working out at a gym, but doing yard work or
taking the dog for a walk could be enough as long as you have some
type of physical activity for 30-60 minutes a day.

 

Set
your own pace and maintain a positive attitude. Taking extreme
measures, like working out too much or taking too few calories, are a
recipe for disaster.

“It takes a lot of practice, not
everybody is perfect,” says Ekpenyong. “Yes,
some things might be really good and taste great, but healthy food is
good too.

Visit
Umo Ekpenyong at Transformations Fitness Center, located at 14701 N.
Kelly Ave.

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