What Is The Right Nutrition?
Everywhere you turn today, from television, newspapers, magazines, and websites, you hear about everyone’s desire to loose weight and be thin. There is so much controversy in the health community about what is the best “diet”. Whole wheat vs. whole grain, agave vs. honey, super foods, and green drinks. It is no wonder that we are all left feeling frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. My philosophy is that diets don’t work! It has actually been proven that most people who continually go on diets are unable to maintain their ideal weight. They are constantly going up and down on the scale. Not only is this physically taxing on the body, but it is also emotionally draining. As you might have read in My Story I have much experience in the realm of dieting. After 11 years of maintaining a healthy weight and always being a step ahead on the latest nutrition trends here are my top 10 secrets for weight loss.
Eat Real, Whole Food
The biggest mistake people make in dieting is eating diet food. I am talking about the “low fat” “fat free” “sugar free” “100 calorie” snack foods. You should always read the ingredients on the back of the box before you decide to commit to eating a certain low fat or diet food. They are often high in sugar, sodium, carbohydrates, and artificial sweeteners. The reason the fat, sugar, or taste is missing is because it has been replaced with fake and heavily processed foods. The body doesn’t know how to process and digest these foods and they get stuck in our system. This leads to weight gain and a build up of toxins, which cause inflammation and disease. The best thing you can do for your body is to eat real food. If it doesn’t grow in the ground you should not be consuming it.
Eat High Quality Foods
We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but what does that mean? If you think of food as fuel for your body then you can also think of it as energy for your body. What kind of energy do you want to cultivate for yourself? High quality food is just as important as real food. Are you eating fresh, pesticide free, local ingredients? Do you consider a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread to be healthy? Come to know and learn where your food is coming from. If you can’t go purchase it a local farmer’s market or health food store then make sure you ask your grocery store where their produce comes from. How long was it sitting in storage, in a box, and then on a truck, before making it to the shelf?
Eat When You Are Hungry
Many people think that skipping meals is a great way to loose weight. When our bodies get too hungry we go into starvation mode. The body is very smart. As soon as we reach the point of extreme hunger the body thinks that we are in a famine and it will begin to store fat. In order to loose weight we want to be burning fat. Eat small healthy meals frequently to keep your metabolism high, keep your hunger at bay, and lose weight. Losing weight naturally takes time and patience, but the payoff is a healthier life in which you can more easily maintain your weight loss.
Stop When You Are Full
This may seem fairly obvious but it is not as easy as it sounds. This is a concept that has taken me a lifetime to achieve and something I am always working on. It takes our stomach about 20 minutes from the first bite of food we eat at a meal to signal to our brain that we are full. Many of us can finish a meal in less then 20 minutes. Especially those of us who eat on the go and don’t slow down to enjoy our food. Putting our fork down in the middle of a meal and asking ourselves “are we still hungry” can be quite powerful. If the answer is yes then by all means continue to enjoy your food. If the answer is no I am satisfied then stop eating and save the rest for later, even if that means eating again in 2 hours.
The concept of mindful eating is related to my last tool. The first step in mindful eating is beginning every meal with a word of thanks and gratitude. Take a moment to thank the person who prepared it (even if that person is you). Take a moment to thank the people who grew and cultivated the food (another reason to eat real food). Take a minute to smell the delicious food you are about to enjoy. Make sure you chew your food SLOWLY. Chewing is the first step in the digestion process. It helps our body break down the food and absorb the nutrients more effectively. Savor every bite of food you are putting into your mouth. Food is never something we should be afraid of.
Listen To Your Body
I now understand that what my mind wants and what my body wants are two different things. When I want to eat a cookie, a piece of pizza, some french fries, or anything that triggers me wanting more of it, I ask myself “Is that what my body wants right now?” How do we know what our body wants? I have learned that the more we slow down, quiet our minds, and practice mindfulness, the more we are better able to understand what our body wants. I know that when I want to eat some french fries, or a piece of pizza, it is my mind telling me “go ahead, you have been so good lately” “you deserve it, you’ve worked hard all day” “It tastes so good” My body wants nourishing, delicious, and satisfying food. My body wants to feel good after it eats. My body doesn’t want to feel bloated, overstuffed, or tired after it eats something. What does your body want?
Restriction Is The Enemy
When we restrict ourselves from having something that we truly enjoy, or tell ourselves that we should not eat something, we only sets ourselves up for failure. The more we tell ourselves that we can’t have something the more we want that very same thing. That is what eventually leads to us to binging on the very food that we are “not allowed” to have. Of course there are certain foods that we should avoid, but in my world I am allowed to eat anything I want. Once I removed the idea of I must eat that, I was good today because I ate this, I was bad today because I ate that, I was able to really ask myself is that what I truly want?
Avoid Stimulants As Much As Possible
If you know me or have read some of my posts you know that I keep saying to ditch the stimulants! Coffee and sugar are two of the most highly addictive substances in our culture. They cause us to want more and make it nearly impossible to resist. These substances literally suck the nutrients out of our body and cause inflammation and stress. They also cause a blood sugar imbalance, which leads to more weight gain. It is not just a matter of will power. In fact I don’t believe in will power. If you eat real, high quality foods, and practice mindful eating, the less you will crave any stimulants or addictive substances.
Drink Plenty of Water
Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger and may cause us to eat mindlessly. I like to start my day with hot lemon water. This helps flush out my system of toxins and waste in the morning, as well as help my body burn fat. Drink a full glass of water before every meal. You will eat less and feel more satisfied.
Move Your Body
Notice I did not say exercise. Exercise has such negative connotations and some people hate to exercise. I know I used too! Even just 15-30 minutes of walking everyday can help us loose weight and relieve stress in our bodies. If you enjoy being out in nature make it part of your daily routine. Try a yoga class, dance, or try a new form movement that you wouldn’t normally do. If you hate going to the gym and putting on gym clothes, then don’t. Find a way to make movement enjoyable for you. For more reasons on why I love to move read my blog about why I love exercise.