One in three Georgians is obese: Learn healthy eating.

Over 30 percent of Georgia adults are obese. Therefore, it is important for Georgians to be mindful of what they eat, when they eat, where they eat and why they eat. An appetite is a desire that can be controlled, but hunger is an actual need for food. When you eat, which are you satisfying? If you can’t remember the last time you felt hungry, you may want to examine your habits. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls this reflection, and it is the first step to a healthier diet. To learn whether or not you or a loved one might be obese, visit the CDC's overweight and obesity page. 

Since we’re exposed to so many foods and sugary drinks so often, eating well is often a game of self-denial. But the long-term results are worth the sacrifice. If you stop eating when you’re full, or wait to start eating until you’re hungry, you can reacquaint your body with feelings of hunger and satisfaction and begin to learn the difference between hunger and appetite.  

Bring your diet under control:

  • Begin to eat more slowly, and stop eating when you’re full. The best way to begin taking control of your diet is to wait until you are hungry to eat. Then, simply slow down when you eat, notice when you’re full, and stop eating. Abiding by the simple hunger rule when eating has the added benefit of making you more selective about your food, because you won’t eat as much.
  • Choose healthy foods that fit your lifestyle. If you don’t cook, don’t commit to a diet that requires you to be a chef overnight. If you must always go out to lunch at work, identify the most healthy, low-calorie dishes on the menu, and order water instead of soda. Make better choices with what already works in your life. See nutritional needs below.
  • Use creative substitutions. Would you sneak a homemade smoothie into a movie theater? Eating well is sometimes about creative substitutions, but replacing foods like candy and popcorn with something satisfying made of fruits and vegetables is a big win for your body. The internet is full of recipes that utilize healthy substitutions. Experiment and use what works.
  • Exercise. The truth is it is much easier to lose weight if you are exercising, and the benefits of exercise are numerous—less chance of developing diabetes or other chronic diseases, mental health improvements, etc. If you exercise in addition to modifying your diet, you’ll just lose weight faster. If you’re starting from a sedentary lifestyle, begin with walking and work your way to harder workouts from there.

Nutritional needs:

  • Vegetables. Choose green, red and orange veggies. Don’t use sauces and gravies to lower sodium, saturated fat and added sugar.  
  • Fruit. Choose to eat whole fruits, rather than drinking 100 percent juice. Snack on fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit instead of cookies, brownies or sugar-sweetened treats.
  • Protein. Mix it up to include seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, soy, eggs, lean meats and poultry. Select seafood twice a week.  
  • Whole grains. Find high fiber, whole-grain foods by reading the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list.
  • Dairy. Choose low fat and fat free dairy for milk and yogurt and cheese. Put strict limits on cream cheese, butter and cream, which have little or no calcium and are high in saturated fat.  

To learn more about developing a healthy diet, visit cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating.