It’s probably a fair statement that we want to feel good and look our best as we age. Who wouldn’t? So, as women over 50 and over 60, the wisdom we’ve acquired over (oh-so-many) years guides us in the right direction at all times, helping us to always make the best decision about how we treat our bodies.
We’re going to take just one piece of that wisdom, nutrition, and delve deeper into what happens to your body when you eat healthy. I mean, what really happens? How do we feel after a day, a week, a month, or longer, of actually consuming the foods and beverages that are best for us?
Let’s take a closer look at what a commitment to a healthier diet really means.
What Does Healthy Eating Mean?
Healthy eating as an adult woman means choosing foods that are low in sugar, salt and fat. Sometimes it only takes a few small changes to your diet – like having fruit instead of a cookie, or using vegetable broth when cooking rice- for big results. That said, it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish, but the benefits are amazing!
By adjusting our food choices and giving our bodies the nutrients it needs, we can see almost immediate results. As a reminder (because I know that you’ve heard this before!) let’s review some of the foods that we should be eating every day:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale. Tip: Give microgreens a try. They’re simple to grow and are healthy for you!
- Whole grains for breakfast such as steel cut oats or whole wheat toast with almond butter.
- Protein in the form of lean meat, soy products (tofu), beans, eggs and nuts.
- Some dairy products (cheeses and yogurts).
- Fruit for snacks like peaches, apples and oranges.
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, omega-three eggs or ground flax seeds.
- Reduction of sugar intake by avoiding processed foods like chips and white breads, as well as drinking water instead of sugary drinks. If we do indulge, indulge wisely and only on occasion.
- Avoiding salt in food such as fast food french fries, canned soups and frozen dinners.
- Good carbs include foods such as brown rice and oatmeal. Bad carbs include anything made with white flour like pasta, breads or muffins.
We should also be counting macros. What does this mean?
Macros are the amount of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates that we should be eating throughout the day. The word ‘macro’ is short for macronutrient, and refer to the three main nutrient groups that we need every day.
In general, women over 50 should be counting macros like this:
- Protein – 40g per day
- Healthy Fats – 20-30g per day
- Carbohydrates – about 100g per day.
Because everyone is different and every body is unique, it would be helpful to discover what macro counts work for your specific body as well as any type of goal you have, such as losing body fat. I’m up for that, and have to acknowledge that counting macros is not something I’ve paid much attention to in the past.
I’m going to become more vigilant about this! It is different than counting calories, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but keeping track of macros ensures that those calories are spent on the right foods. My macro goals are somewhat different than the general numbers shown above, based on my age, height, and weight.
It’s probably a topic for another post where we can focus more on the details of macros. For now, here is a helpful infographic that you might want to pin or save, and HERE is an online macro calculator if you’re interested in figuring out your daily macro needs:
Here’s a Tip
If you are curious and interested in seeing how counting macros works, here is a simple app I found that is working well for me so far. I wanted something really simple and easy, and this app fits the bill: Stupid Simple Macros and yes, it is that simple. You can literally touch a picture of a food or beverage and it calculates the macros for you.
What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Healthy?
What changes will we notice in our bodies when we start eating healthy on a consistent basis?
In general, we will start to feel lighter and less bloated. We should also notice that our stomach size decreases after eating healthy for a while!
We might find ourselves with more energy (or at least not as much fatigue) and in better moods overall.
When you eat healthier on a regular basis, your body starts releasing endorphins. We’ll also see that our skin will look healthier and we might even lose weight. A healthy diet can do wonders for weight management!
Continued healthy eating will also benefit our metabolism, which slows as we age. We want to keep it working strong.
So let’s break those healthy changes down a little further, and see how we might expect to feel after certain periods of time.
What Happens After One Day of Eating Healthy?
After eating healthier for just one day, here are some changes that will happen to your body:
You’ll feel fuller after meals because there is more fiber and protein in the food that you’re eating.
Your stomach will be less bloated because of the reduction or elimination of sugar, salt and fat from your diet.
You’ll probably notice that your concentration is improved. This is because your brain is getting more oxygen and nutrients from the good food that you’re eating.
Yes, it’s only one day, my friend, and it’s not going to be easy. We can struggle with changing our diet and food intake at first.
If we’re used to drinking lots of caffeine, eating sugar as well as processed foods, reducing and potentially completely eliminating them can be hard. We will find that we’re hungry, moody and craving those bad foods because they fill us up in a different way than healthy food does.
Here are some activities or things to do you might try:
- Try to drink as much water as possible. As we know, this will also help us with our sugar cravings. I’m setting myself up with this goal: when I want to eat some sugar (which is quite often) I’m going to drink at least 4 ounces of water instead, maybe more, instead of reaching for that cookie.
- Plan a menu of what healthy foods you’re going to eat and write it down on paper or in an app like MyFitnessPal so that you can’t forget about them.
- Give yourself a day or two to detox from the foods that you’re used to eating.
- Plan your meals so you know what healthy options are available when hunger strikes. It is amazing how much better I will stick with an eating plan when I actually plan out my meals for the day.
- Reduce your portion sizes as a fundamental to healthier eating
It can be hard to eat healthy on a regular basis, but small changes in your diet go a long way. A good starting point is making sure that you stick to three basic categories of food: fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
When shopping for these foods, shop around the outside perimeter of the supermarket as this tends to be where all of the fresher options are.
How does our body change after one week of healthy eating?
After one week of eating healthy, your body will start to adjust. You’ll notice that you’re feeling more energized and are sweating less at the gym because there’s no sugar or fat in your diet.
You’ll probably notice a decrease in water retention and bloating, as you’re consuming more high fiber and water foods.
You may notice better sleep, too. After a week of healthy eating we may notice that our eyes are less puffy and that our skin is less dry and wrinkled.
What happens after a month of eating healthy?
If you’re able to eat healthier for an entire month, then these are some changes that may happen: You’ll find yourself feeling more energetic with less fatigue. Your moods should also improve and your skin should continue to look healthier.
You’ll also start to see weight loss and more muscle definition in your body (because of the reduction or elimination of sugar, salt and fat from your diet).
You might even notice that you’re shedding some pounds without having to change anything about what you eat!
After a month of eating healthy, people often find themselves more motivated to stick with the plan – because they’re feeling so good.
Many people find they have fewer cravings for “bad” food less after eating healthy for one month. This is because our body begins to adjust and starts craving healthier foods instead of unhealthy ones.
For some, this can be a tough adjustment – but it’s worth it in the end!
What happens to our body after 6 months of balanced nutrition?
If you’re able to eat healthier for an entire six months, then these are some changes that may happen to your body. Remember that you’re still enjoying better-looking skin, higher energy levels, minimal issues with water retention/bloating, and motivation to stick with the healthier plan of eating.
If you had a tendency toward high blood pressure or cholesterol, you may notice that those levels have decreased.
Were you also watching calorie intake during this time of eating healthier? The weight loss may be quite noticeable at this point in time.
Another welcome change in our body is the increased strength in our bones. We can’t see it, but it’s there!
Some people who eat healthy for six months will notice that they’re able to exercise more and harder than before, while others might not be as sore after a workout or find it hard to get out of bed in the morning because their muscles are so tight. This could be because they weren’t used to eating enough protein or getting enough sleep when they weren’t eating healthy.
As women in midlife, we are experiencing change from every direction.
There are many positives, but the adjustment in our lifestyle, family dynamics, potential relocations, and then everything going on with our bodies (inside and out!) can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.
This collection of simple yet inspiring eGuides is packed full of helpful tips, practical information, useful printables, reference material and more. Topics include Wellness, Self Confidence, Fashion, Fitness, & Nutrition.
Will eating healthy help to improve our health over time?
Choosing healthy foods does not just help you lose weight. It also helps to improve your health over time by preventing lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease which can be triggered and worsened by a poor diet.
When you eat healthy, your body is able to function better, and over the course of a lifetime, this can have a dramatic effect on your quality of life.
As you grow older, eating unhealthy food can reduce brain function and eventually lead to memory loss and dementia. Eating healthy foods provides you with the nutrients that your body needs in order to maintain balance in other aspects of your life.
Conclusion: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Healthy?
We make decisions throughout each day. Some are very simple and in the moment, while others have more far-reaching effects. Understanding what happens to your body when you eat healthy for a day, a week, a month, or longer, can literally help you live a longer, fuller life.
How about you? Are you ready to dive in, eat healthier, and reap the benefits that will come? I hope so!
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