What if I told you that there was a way that you could eat anytime you are hungry without feeling guilty or gaining weight? Would you commit to it?
Did you know the biggest determining factor of your weight (and health) is the quality of the food you eat, not the quantity?
Our bodies are in charge of regulating our weight, just as they are in charge of regulating our temperature or our digestion for example. Our bodies don’t need us to count calories, constantly monitor our weight or do extreme exercise! They need us to eat healthy, nutrient dense food and to not eat poor quality food (or at least not very much of it). If you eat good, clean healthy food, your body will keep you around your set point weight. The quantity of healthy food you eat is arguably irrelevant, as your body is sophisticated enough to increase your metabolism and maintain your set point weight even if you eat more than usual. Additionally, over-eating is so much less likely when you eat healthy food, because your body is much more satisfied after being fed an adequate balance of nutrients.
The problem is, after eating unhealthy food with limited nutrients for a long time, your hormones become unbalanced and your body isn’t able to regulate itself as it should. This causes your set point weight to go up and it becomes very hard to bring it back down to normal. The more weight you gain, the harder it is to lose it and the easier it is to gain it back.
Eating healthy food (regardless of how much) is the ONLY way to keep weight off long term. We know in the short term severely limiting calories can work, but it’s not sustainable! And in fact, your body makes sure you don’t sustain it by screaming out for more food (aka cravings) and making you have less energy to exercise! The body will do anything it can to prevent you from starving, that is what is designed to do!
The key to bringing your body back to a healthy weight is feeding the body good quality food so that it can function in the way it was designed to.
10 Steps to Healthy Eating
1) Choose real foods over processed foods
The best food for you is organic, whole, unprocessed REAL food, like vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, healthy fat, gluten-free grains, nuts and seeds. Choose these foods every time over processed snacks and meals. Make sure to keep healthy snacks on hand or at the office, so that when you need something, you can grab some almonds or blueberries instead of heading to the vending machine or convenience store. If you must choose processed foods, look for those with the least ingredients and ingredients that you recognize and might actually keep in your own kitchen.
2) Take control of your food and learn to like to cook
If you want to create a healthy lifestyle, you have to learn to enjoy cooking and eating your own food. Restaurants are not in business to keep you healthy, they are in business to keep you craving and coming back for more. For the most part, almost anything you make will be better for you than what you might be eating out. When you cook, you control what you put into your body.
3) Plan ahead
Unfortunately, we have gotten so busy in our society that we no longer prioritize mealtime, and instead take for granted that we can grab food anytime of the day wherever we are. It’s important to set some time aside each week for meal planning. Take a look at your schedule and actually plan what you will be eating and when you will go shopping. Make large batches and freeze leftovers in portion size containers for future emergencies. The more you plan, the better your choices will be. I can’t stress that enough.
4) Never skip meals and make sure you are eating enough
We eat to fuel our bodies, and when we don’t eat enough, or bodies literally think we are starving (because we are!). This causes us to go into a stress response, where we hold onto weight and fat and we don’t build muscle. If you skip meals you will actually be making it harder to lose weight and it will be more likely that you’ll crave unhealthy foods and make poor choices. Never starve yourself, always eat when you are truly hungry.
5) Focus on drinking water over other beverages
Most of us are walking around dehydrated. It’s important to drink at least 64oz of filtered water every day. Drink a tall glass of water when you wake up and carry a bottle around during the day. If you find yourself unusually hungry, the first thing you should do is to have water, our bodies actually often mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger! Soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, alcohol and most caffeinated beverages should be limited as they most likely either high in sugar, heavily processed or both.
6) Actually eat more vegetables (and fruit)
Ok, this one is a no brainer, right? Everyone knows vegetables are extremely good for you, but almost no one eats enough of them! Instead of focusing on not eating “bad foods” focus on making sure to eat enough healthy foods. This makes for a more positive food outlook and the more healthy food you eat, the more you will crowd out the unhealthy choices. While fruit is also healthy, Vegetables should out number fruit in your diet about 2:1. I recommend eating vegetables at every meal. Dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, Swiss Chard, arugula and mustard greens are some of the healthiest foods on the planet, so start there!
7) Seek out pleasure
We often overeat and/or eat unhealthy foods because we are lacking pleasure in our lives. Take some time to think about what brings you pleasure (Ex. Cuddle time with loved ones, getting a massage, dancing, yoga, creating art, etc.). Make sure to incorporate more of those activities into your life so that you do not need to get all of your pleasure from food.
8) Focus on feeling good rather than just weight loss
The good news about eating real food is that is both extremely good for your health and great for bringing your body back to your ideal weight! However, losing weight can become an unhealthy obsession. If you are only eating a certain way to loose weight, or to look good to impress someone, you’ll wind up feeling disappointed and you’ll have trouble sticking to your goals. Instead, shift your focus to feeling good and being healthy. Experiment with what foods make you feel your best and keep a log. Write down what foods seem to irritate you, and it will be easier to avoid them in the future. (It is so much easier for me to avoid sweets because I know exactly how bad they will make me feel!).
9) Join my 10-Day Cleanse
During the 10-Day Online Cleanse I’ll guide you step by step on how to plan, prep and complete 10-Days of clean eating. This will teach you everything you need to know about healthy eating and will give you the experience and motivation to practice eating healthy long term. Through recipes, a manual, an audio lecture, unlimited email support and a one on one session with me, you’ll come away as a happier healthier you! I also provide one on one on-going health coaching for those who want more attention and personalization.
10) Be realistic and loving
While there is nothing wrong with dreaming big, as a health coach, I know the key to achieving your goals and sticking to them is being realistic. We often set our goals to what the ideal is: ex: I am only going to eat ice cream once a year! When realistically, that is never going to happen. We need to figure out what our realistic ideal is: Say once a month? And work extremely hard to stick to that. Remember, everything in moderation, including moderation. Have fun and work hard to love yourself no matter what you eat or how much you weight.