Take a moment and look through this, I guarantee it will get you thinking 😉 To preface, there are always and forever fad diets and food trends out there. I won’t pretend like I haven’t tried some of these over the years, but I can confidently say that I am in a place where I found some way of living and eating and enjoying food that works for me:)
*My background, qualifications, and expertise on this include about 4 years + during my studies and beyond, researching and writing about eating disorders, nutrition, and eating behaviors. Some of my knowledge to build this guide is from that experience, the rest is from my own healthy living & life experience and research.
So let’s just get this out of the way, I know you don’t want to hear it and are tired of hearing it- but there is no quick fix to weight loss. It is about making small, lasting behavior changes. There, ok. Now before you think “then maybe this isn’t for me,” think about all the time you have spent trying to get those quick fixes and how they didn’t work, and how if you spent that time eating and living like this, you could be in a better physical and mental place right now? Right? You know I’m right 😉 So let’s start now, today! There is no better time to start. Here we go:
Eating & Foods:
1. Eat good fats: GOOD FATS ARE JUST THAT – THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU. There, capital letters, large and in your face. We are so fearful of fats, that we forget that good fats are what we need for our heart health and for absorption of nutrients. Coconut oil, olives, avocados, nuts, etc…
2. Raw fruits and veggies: Eat lots of these! They will keep your digestion strong and pump you with the nutrients your body needs and craves.
3. Fruits and spices instead of sweeteners: ie: mashed bananas, pureed apples, dried dates, figs, cherries (with no added sugar) for example are ways to sweeten baked goods and smoothies. Also try vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom to add full flavor that complements the sweet fruit.
4. Honey & Maple syrup in moderation are also awesome natural sweeteners for coffee, tea, and in baking.
5. Less sugar/processed flour/processed meats: Limit these as they are not as nutritious or beneficial as other whole foods and can actually lower your energy levels.
6. Low dairy: it’s really dependent on how your body processes it. As we get older, we may encounter more difficulties processing dairy, get gassy, bloated, sick to our stomach etc… I say in general, less of it. I find that if I do greek yogurt a couple of times a week, I’m ok. More than that I tend to get stomachaches. So be in tune with your body, see how well you process it. In general- less… but I would never deny someone their occasional ice cream treat or goat cheese chèvre 😉 Everything in moderation…
7. Meats and fish- whole, unprocessed, and organic meats and fish are good for you and excellent source of protein & minerals (if you are not vegetarian or vegan of course!). Low processed meats are ok too in moderation (ie: organic chicken sausage, preservative-free turkey bacon, etc)
8. Smoothies! (duh): An awesome way to get your fruit & veggie servings! For maximum benefit and nutrient absorption, drink your smoothies slowly, and on an empty stomach (drinking your smoothies with a lot of food can actually cause the smoothie fruit to sit and ferment in your stomach- which is no bueno). Throw in coconut oil, nuts and seeds to add healthy fats and protein. See smoothie ideas here and here.
1. Moderation is key: I know you’ve heard this one many times before, but it is true. A little bit of something that is satisfying is better than nothing or trying to make up for that by overeating something else.
2. Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full: This is perhaps the most important eating behavior – recognize what being full feels like. Recognize what feeling hunger feels like. We forget and reprogram our brain to keep going and keep eating everything that’s on our plate. It’s ok to stop. When eating out, take half of it home- it will still be there waiting for you when you want a snack later.
3. Do not completely exclude anything in particular from your diet: you are setting yourself up for failure, just limit the ingredients that are bad for you. This goes hand in hand with the moderation piece.
4. Small portions: Start small, and if you want more, have another small portion. You will feel fuller sooner than you think!
5. Plan & pack healthy snacks: Always have a healthy option to grab from your bag so that you don’t overindulge in whatever is convenient (ie:fast food). Check out my fave healthy snacks here.
6. Quality over quantity: Know where your food is coming from. Look at the ingredients. See how it is sourced. Put into your body mainly good wholesome ingredients!
7. Make changes steadily: It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, because again, you are setting yourself up for failure. Phase out your less ideal foods with better ones, have your body slowly get used to healthier, more pure foods, and the transition will like be a more positive and lasting experience.
8. Try to avoid eating late at night: Usually if you ask yourself “am I really hungry” at that hour, the answer is no. If you are truly hungry late at night, try some fresh fruit and drinking water first. See if the feeling can be satisfied
*9. Focus on the positives – ex: “more of this type of healthy food” instead of “no this unhealthy…” I find that it is exhausting and again, setting your self up for failure to constantly think- I can’t eat this or that. How about thinking positive, about re-training your mind to not fear foods, but to love and crave good, whole foods? This is what we truly want the end goal to be to develop healthy eating behaviors. We also make others around us feel more at ease when we get excited about eating good healthy foods in
10. Eat real food! What, not all food is real food? Absolutely. Protein powders, super processed foods, most fast foods- these are not real foods. You will see this conversation about real food eating as a trend in food talk & behavior, and I’m so glad it is. It’s time we focus on re-nourishing our bodies with what they need, not with what is convenient.
I hope that this guide helps you get re-charged and in started in the right direction or continue in the right direction, as we all need reminders from time to time, even me 😉 Eating healthy and well is a lifelong process, requiring us to make decisions every day. But our bodies and brains do recognize the benefits and good feelings that come with this lifestyle, so the decision-making process gets easier and easier.
Be well guys 😉 And best of luck to those of you starting upon your wellness journeys! As always I love to hear your feedback 🙂