Eating healthy without dieting

Many people struggle with a diet’s restrictions and are looking to try something else. Some of them have success with a diet, but after a while, they, too, want a more flexible approach to what they can eat and when. If you find yourself in one of these groups, there’s good news: You can eat healthy without dieting, no matter what your body type is.

The key is to find an approach to eating that gives your body what it needs and is something you can sustain. Fortunately, this strategy doesn’t have to involve a lengthy set of do and don’ts.

When you restrict foods — especially the high-energy ones that you may be craving — your brain signals a stress response that can make you feel panicked and deprived. This strain, which can eventually lead to guilty feelings, isn’t beneficial to your mental health. That’s why those big, transformative plans don’t work for everyone. Even those who have been able to stick to a regulated eating regimen often find that they miss the taste of certain foods and that they want to move beyond dieting. But the question is, how?

Start by thinking simple

The first step is thinking, what the word “diet” really means — the way that you eat and what that looks like overall. Your actual goal is not just to be on a diet, but to have a healthy diet.

It’s very important that you eat the types of foods that are best for your body type. Because different physiques have different metabolic responses to carbs, proteins, and fats — three nutrients known as macronutrients, or macros. Focusing on the macros that are best for your body type can help you maintain a healthy body.

There are three general body types: lean, muscular and curvy. The goal is to match the following ratio of macros to what’s recommended for the category that fits you — if you can do that, you can maintain a healthy weight for your type of body. Remember, you should consult your doctor before making any changes to the way you eat.

Thin body type (ectomorphs)

Ectomorphs are the ones that are smaller-framed, thin or lean and have very little fat. They have a hard time gaining weight and muscle and tend to have a higher metabolism and be very active. High-carb, low-fat with proportions: 55 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, 20 percent fat is highly recommended.

Muscular body type (mesomorphs)

Mesomorphs are athletic ones that have a medium build, with solid muscles and frame. They are able to gain muscle with some effort, and their fitness is a bit more flexible than the other two types. A more even distribution of macros with proportions: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat is highly recommended.

Curvy body type (endomorphs)

Endomorphs have a rounder physique or are full-figured and they struggle to lose fat. They tend to put on weight easily and also have a slow metabolism. Low-carb, high-fat and high-protein with proportions: 25 percent carbs, 35 percent protein, 40 percent fat is highly recommended.

Tips for applying macros

Don’t forget the big picture. Remember, the biggest goal here is to maintain a healthy eating diet — giving your body what it needs, and not giving your body any more of what it doesn’t need. If you do that, your body will be rewarded.

Don’t obsess about the numbers. Although the breakdown above uses percentages, these are only rough guidelines. They also apply to your whole diet, not just one meal of the day. You don’t have to get hung up on hitting those numbers precisely. The ratios are based on the number of calories your particular body frame needs to maintain your weight.

If you’re recovering from the stress of a diet, just take it easy and think about small changes. Try to be 1 percent better from what you were, what’s going to matter is consistency. Go meal by meal. Improvement comes with small steps that are consistent every day, so the changes compound like interest.

If you can do that — and stay consistent — you’ll see results. It sounds less stressful, doesn’t it?

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