Healthy eating doesn't happen overnight; it's a lifestyle change

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Many people do whatever they can to try and eat healthier, with different goals in mind. Some people say they'd like to lose weight, some say they want to have more energy, and to others, it's about improving their quality of life. But whatever a person's reasoning is, the first question often is where and how do you start?

Integrative Dietitian Hana Abdulaziz Feeney says it takes both time and effort, but it's actually a lot easier than many people think, if they approach it with the right attitude.

"A lot of times when people want to eat healthy, they start taking things away," she said. "While there may be some utility to that, there's not enough emphasis on what to be eating to get the nutrients that your body needs."

The dietitian explained people should first take a step back and examine what they're eating and why, before they decide what they want to do with their diet.

"Healthful eating is a long-term, lifestyle commitment," she said. "The strategies need to be sustained."

KGUN9's Max Darrow caught up with Geri Katz as she was shopping in the produce section at the market. She explained that she's struggled with her fair share of health problems, so the decision to change up her diet was simple.

"Being a diabetic, I was feeling awful and run down," Katz said. "I had no energy and was having problems with high blood sugar. Now that I'm eating the way that I should be eating, I feel great. So anything that makes you feel good, you're going to continue to do."

She agreed with Feeney: "it's a total lifestyle change," she said.

The dietitian explained rather than thinking about what foods to eliminate from your diet, she advises to think about ways to add more "good" foods -- foods that are minimally or unprocessed.

"You want lots of vegetables. You want to include fruits, you want to be eating nuts and seeds every day, whether it's nuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, some kind of nut butter," Feeney said. "You want to be eating fish, especially oily fish like salmon, even things like sardines and herrings to get those Omega-3 fatty acids."

Another way to approach it, according to Feeney, add as many colors as possible to your diet, and don't be afraid of getting creative, so you still enjoy the what you're eating.

"If you choose kale and don't love the flavor of it, that doesn't mean stop eating it," she said. "But maybe, mix it with some olive oil and garlic and spice it up a bit so that it does become something that's really enjoyable."

But when things get difficult, she says it all comes back to attitude and mindset.

"If weight loss is a goal, it will come," she said. "But the first goal is being much more positive and empowering on how your body is going to receive those nutrients and feel really great because of it."

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