Do you know what healthy eating is?
I think that title about sums it up.
Seriously you guys...nutrition and diet info is everywhere!
Chicken is being advertised as “natural”. Ummm...as opposed to fake??
Terms like fat free, bikini body sculpting, metabolism boosting, and detoxifying are everywhere.
And Lord help me if I see one more fat burning, magical food.
And each expert, guru, or company tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.
Literally we are a society who tracks everything...steps, calories, etc. STOP IT already!
And it has gotten way out of hand. While food intake and activity level does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
Instead why don’t we focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of WHAT you eat and drink and HOW you eat and drink it.
WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.
Don't get me wrong reducing calories can certainly help you lose weight, that's not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy. You can certainly continue to count your calories, but don't forget to also pay attention to what you’re eating.
Please stop saying you can eat 1500 calories of junk and still lose weight.
Ideally, you need a varied diet that's full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is vital for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.
Every day try to aim for:
-A colorful array of fruit/veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. #micronutrients are important too!
-Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
-Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.
Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here. Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.
HOW YOU EAT AND DRINK
Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.
Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.
Breathe. Stop shoveling. You're not an animal.
This gives your digestive system the signal to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. I know, mind blowing info right there. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?
You should. I’ve only said it about a million times. ;)
Put your fork down once in awhile. The food won't go anywhere.
We also know that chewing our food slowly makes it easier to digest and easier for our body to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And don't forget about drinking your food.
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but they can also be giant calorie bombs that contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. Hello Jamba Juice...Smoothie King...Nektar Bar.
Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food, but be sure it’s a bit more balanced and filling by adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds in addition to a scoop of protein powder.
Now that’s a meal you can be proud of!
I am a wife, mom, grandma & former professional “diet and exercise hopper" who understands the challenges of being 40lb overweight after having children & the damage repeated sense of failure can cause to your confidence and self-esteem.