Category Archives: Diet
I am a very hard worker….But I’m also extremely lazy.
Yup. The two can go hand in hand.
I know myself.
I know what I will work hard for and what I’ll be lazy about. Because let’s face it, there are things in our life that we are just too lazy to put forth effort for even if we have a desire to achieve.
And cooking for me is one of those things that I’m super lazy about.
When I get on a roll working at home, I don’t want to stop what I’m doing and cook. Or when I get home at 8 or 9 at night, the last thing I want to have to do is make dinner.
Is it that I don’t have time or even the energy? No.
It’s just that I’m lazy.
And I know I’m going to be lazy.
Anytime I don’t have food just lying around on a busier or longer day, I will be lazy and eat out or munch on snacks that won’t really give me the nutritional balance I need.
So I PLAN for my laziness. I plan so that I can be lazy instead of trying to force myself to not be lazy.
Sort of sounds like the opposite of what you are usually told, right? Aren’t we supposed to change bad habits?
Well yes. But you also have to KNOW YOURSELF.
And I know that I get lazy about cooking on busy days or even simply days when I get in a groove doing work.
Even when I try to change that fact, I find it doesn’t take much for me to fall back into bad habits.
So instead of even risking being lazy, I PLAN AHEAD.
I cook for a number of days when I’m not busy – When I know I’ll have the energy to cook. And that way, I always have food on had even when I’m too lazy to cook.
I even go so far as to chop up vegetables (or at Trader Joe’s even buy their pre-cut organic broccoli) when I cook for the week knowing that I may not eat them if they aren’t already cut.
But as I said…I KNOW MYSELF.
For me, meal prep is essential. Having food prepared and ready to go that I can throw together makes things so easy that I don’t struggle to stick to my routine.
For me, spending a couple of hours cooking up everything for the week is way more efficient, and allows me to be way lazier, than having to cook a new meal every time I eat.
So if you are lazy like me, instead of trying to force yourself not to be lazy, why not plan for it? Why not cook so that you don’t have to stress about eating well when you are busy or tired?
Making new healthy lifestyle changes EASY to stick to really help you be consistent and achieve results!
I think all too often we think that to eat well means to CUT OUT foods.
And this attitude is what causes many people to never want to make dietary changes.
And I don’t blame them!
Who wants to think that eating well means cutting out tons of calories or the foods they love?
But eating well isn’t about cutting out…It can actually be about adding in, making swaps and FINDING BALANCE.
The focus on CUTTING OUT is what gets us into trouble. It is what makes us feel deprived. It is what makes us not want to stick to our program. It even can hinder us from getting the results we want.
This focus on cutting out is what makes people think that eating well means suffering.
It leads people to never want to commit to a lifestyle change because eating well is too difficult and doesn’t even get them the results they want.
Sometimes this belief that eating well is just about cutting out leads to people cutting out too much.
For instance, while cutting calories is necessary if your goal is weight loss, there is such a thing as cutting out too many calories. Cutting out too many calories can slow your metabolism and stall your weight loss.
Sometimes by actually ADDING IN higher calorie days, especially on days when you are more active, you can keep your metabolism running strong.
Also, sometimes by ADDING IN those foods you love on a cheat day or in moderation a couple of times a week can keep you on track. They can keep you moving forward toward your goals.
Sometimes if you don’t add in any indulgences, you feel deprived and those feelings of deprivation may lead to an all out binge that will completely derail your progress.
Basically what all this means is that if you restrict yourself too much, if you cut out too much, you are going to stall, and maybe even derail, your progress.
Also people think that with eating well they have to cut out all of the food they love and that just isn’t true!
Ever heard the quote “Strive for progress NOT perfection?”
Well that is exactly what you need to do. It’s all about the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time you eat what your body needs, 20% you indulge in what your mind wants!
Start making small changes, don’t just cut out everything at once.
Those foods that you love, that you feel you can’t live without, SHOULD NOT be the first foods you remove from your diet.
And on top of that, you aren’t simply cutting out foods, you are swapping them for healthier variations.
If you enjoy french fries, you don’t have to cut them out completely! Either you can choose to indulge in them as part of your 20% OR you can find a HEALTHIER VARIATION.
For instance, you could BAKE fries in your oven!
If you don’t find ways that you can ENJOY eating well, you aren’t going to stick with the lifestyle change.
AKA YOU CAN’T SIMPLY CUT THINGS OUT!
You need to find BALANCE with eating well and indulging. You need to find HEALTHY SWAPS for those foods you love the most.
And you need to make slow steady changes so that each change becomes habit before you start working on something else.
Eating well doesn’t have to feel like punishment and it most definitely isn’t only about cutting things out!
When you discuss making healthy lifestyle changes with people one question that always comes up is “How do I actually know when I’m hungry?”
This question comes up because all too often nowadays we eat out of boredom or stress or because it is fun and social and the food is delicious.
We aren’t really listening anymore to what our bodies NEED.
Many of us aren’t even really sure what true hunger feels like.
I found the best way to learn to eat only when I’m hungry is through intermittent fasting.
Through fasting I took the emphasis off of eating at certain times of days, off of having to eat certain meals even if I wasn’t hungry.
I gave myself time to truly get hungry. I also gave myself time to realize I wasn’t going to die if I didn’t eat immediately after the first hunger pangs.
Through fasting I was giving myself time to realize what hunger was. I wasn’t starving myself – I was still eating plenty of calories to support my daily activities; I was just eating them in a shorter period of time.
So through fasting I taught myself to understand when I was truly hungry.
But I was also teaching myself how to NOT eat when I wasn’t hungry.
It sounds like the same thing right? Eating when you are hungry and not eating when you aren’t hungry?
But it really isn’t.
Eating when you are hungry means you understand what hunger vs. boredom feels like.
But not eating when you aren’t hungry has everything to do with mentally overcoming the desire to eat when you know you are just bored….which is honestly probably the biggest battle.
Many of us know when we are stress eating…Yet all too often we still do it.
That is because not eating when we aren’t hungry isn’t as simple as eating when we are hungry!
Intermittent fasting also helped me with this because it forced me to really think about whether I was hunger and would want to break my fast or if I just wanted to eat for another reason.
Since I set out to not eat till a certain time, it gave me a goal, an incentive to not break my fast unless I truly was hungry.
It forced me to think and it gave me time to overcome my desire to eat even when I wasn’t truly hungry.
Now I only fast when I’m completely not hungry. Some days I don’t eat till the afternoon. Others I eat right upon waking. It all just depends on when I’m hungry.
Now I’m more in tune with my body.
I’m even more in tune with not eating when not hungry, although there are times when I most definitely slip up.
As I said before that is a mental and emotional battle that we all sometimes struggle with.
The key with it is to not get down on ourselves when we fail.
No matter how in tune you are with your body, you are going to occasional eat even when you aren’t hungry.
As I was thinking about eating only when you are hungry and searching for other opinions and articles, I stumbled onto Charlotte’s post over at The Great Fitness Experiment and loved the tips she gave the reader about NOT eating when you AREN’T hungry. It also really got me thinking about the difference between eating when hungry and not eating when you aren’t hungry.
While intermittent fasting helped me get more in tune with my body, it may not work for you. Check out some of her tips as well and start truly listening to what your body needs!
How did you help yourself become more in tune with your body?
Sidenote: Here is an interesting article on nutrition and sleep!
Often when I do health and fitness workshops, I get asked a lot of specific questions, like questions about what I consider to be very specific details of a healthy lifestyle.
Like what’s the best post workout snack?
I always answer these questions; however, I also state, “Really this shouldn’t be your first worry. Your main focus should be on getting your overall diet and exercise program into line.”
Many people get caught up in the details. It’s almost as if they want to make things more complicated so they don’t have to do them.
Or maybe it is just that they are searching for some secret and eating WHOLE NATURAL FOODS just doesn’t sound revolutionary enough.
But whatever it is, most people seem to want to MICROMANAGE their diet and exercise programs before they’ve even gotten the big stuff in line.
I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.
There is no use pouring over the details and worrying about what leafy green is better (kale or spinach) if you are still eating crap 80% of the time.
Get the basis of your diet (or exercise) program under control THEN worry about the details.
Eat whole natural foods.
It doesn’t have to be complicated! You don’t have to worry about all the details!
Focus on the big pieces and once those are in place then have FUN WITH THE DETAILS!
Here are some great articles to help you start fixing the BIG problems first:
- 10 BASIC Healthy Eating Guidelines
- Laying the foundation for a great exercise routine – Create a PROGRESSION!
- It all starts with the Mind-Body Connection
- My secrets to a healthy diet
I’ve mentioned before that you need to make a grocery list BEFORE you go to the store.
But each and every week you shouldn’t have to be reinventing your list from scratch.
Actually, the basis of your list should probably stay the same because you should have certain staple foods you buy each and every week.
Because even though some variety keeps your healthy eating routine interesting, too much variation can prevent you from getting into a habit.
And habits are what help you stick with your program and get results.
So while you may want to have a variety of recipes, you want them to include the same staple foods.
These are my 15 Staple Foods. My list includes:
Being healthy is about more than working out or eating well – it is about balancing what I call “The Five Pillars of Health.”
These five pillars are:
- Vitamin D/Sunlight
When you do your best to get the most out of all five pillars, you will be healthy. Ignore one and all of your hard work with the others may go to waste.
Being healthy is all about BALANCE.
Let’s take a look at all five pillars and how they each contribute to us being healthy.
I had a client tell me the other day that they went to a healthy eating presentation that said food is either a medicine or a toxin.
I care to disagree.
Food is not medicine in the way we think of medicine.
Eating well doesn’t “cure” anything, at least not in the traditional way we think of medicine curing something.
It will help our body heal and prevent disease but it doesn’t just simply counter-act the crap we put into our bodies.
Often people think they have to make drastic changes all at once to get results.
But SMALL CHANGES ARE KEY!
Especially when it comes to diet.
I’ve had a lot of people say to me recently that they don’t like being hungry – and losing weight requires you to be hungry like all the time.
I care to disagree.
Drastic calorie cuts will cause you to feel hungry. But losing weight and getting healthy isn’t just about calories in vs. calories out.
Honestly, you can feel hungry eating 1,000 too many calories if you aren’t eating the RIGHT types of calories.
And truly you shouldn’t feel miserable while eating well. Eating well CAN and SHOULD be enjoyable.
Here are 5 changes you need to make that don’t involve cutting calories:
1. Cut out processed crap, but don’t cut out the meals you love. Slowly rid your kitchen of processed and pre-made foods. That doesn’t mean you can’t still occasionally indulge in mac and cheese…It just means you will be better off having homemade mac and cheese then something pre-made with a ton of preservatives. Make adjustments to those recipes you enjoy! Love mexican pizza? Try it on a cauliflower crust. Create huge results by just home making those meals you love!
2. Focus on meats and veggies, but they can TASTE GOOD. Eating healthy doesn’t mean cutting out flavor. While you want to focus your diet on meat and veggies that doesn’t have to mean plain chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Use some full fat cheese. Make sauces and dressing. There are tons of healthy ways to make your meals flavorful. I love adding guacamole and salsa to salads as dressings. I use tamari and sesame oil to make stir fries. I pack meals with flavor without adding any crap! Just avoid any pre-made seasonings and sauces that add in preservatives, vegetable oil or other crap.
3. Satisfy cravings. Cravings come in lots of different forms. And if you don’t satisfy them, you are going to end up giving up on your diet and binging because you feel to restricted. Satisfying your cravings also doesn’t have to mean eating badly. Craving something sweet? Eat a piece of fruit or some dark chocolate. Here is one of my favorite sweet, salty and fatty healthy treats – Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark. Craving something savory? What about some veggies in a homemade dip? Or some salted nuts (heck even coat them in some other seasonings). Or some kale chips. There are tons of ways to satisfy your cravings without eating badly. And sometimes maybe you do have a specific burrito craving and need the real thing. Then get it and get right back on track. Not feeling restricted is key to sticking with your diet in the long run! It isn’t being perfect one day, it is about the big picture.
4. Plan and choose recipes that you enjoy. Often I think we just slap together healthy things without worrying about how they taste. And, at first, that works because we are motivated. But after a while, we stop wanting to eat the boring, bland meals. We start to miss comfort foods. That is why it is important to make meals that you enjoy! Choose recipes that mimic or remind you of those foods you love. No they won’t be exactly the same, but they will taste good and keep you going even when your initial motivation wears off. Plus, it can be fun to find new creative ways to use healthy ingredients. I love the challenge of trying to use the same few ingredients in different ways!
5. Eat the things you love in moderation. Don’t be afraid to cheat. Often when we do cheat we make ourselves feel so guilty about it that we don’t even enjoy it (and sometimes we even make ourselves feel so bad that we start binging instead of getting back on track). Take time to enjoy those foods you love. Just exercise moderation and/or make healthier swaps whenever possible. But don’t completely restrict yourself!
Notice one thing with all five tips…All of these changes focus on continuing to enjoy your food. Dieting shouldn’t make you feel like you are suffering or missing out. You should be able to enjoy eating well!
For more tips to help you eat well, check out these Healthy Eating Guidelines.
I get lots of questions about fruit. Should you eat it? How much should you eat? When should you eat it?
The Food Pyramid tells us that fruit is essential…more essential even then meat and beans.
While fruits do have vitamins and minerals and many have antioxidants that are good for you, fruits are all carbs….
So essential to your diet?…Honestly, not really.
Vegetables can really give you the exact same nutrients you will find in fruits.
For instance, we always turn to oranges or orange juice for Vitamin C. But bell peppers actually have MORE Vitamin C than oranges do.
HOWEVER, fruit is delicious and nutritious so can be included in moderation.
Here are my guidelines for including fruit in your diet.
- Eat seasonally and locally. Eat fruits that are in season and local. When fruits are in season, they are going to be at their peak…aka pack in the most nutrients. And when they are local, you are also get them the freshest.
- Eat organic if thin-skinned. If your fruits have a thin skin that you don’t peel off or can be easily penetrated by pesticides, buy them organic. Or from a farmer’s market since most of the stands there carry local produce even if they can’t afford to pay for the label.
- Treat it as a treat and snack. Fruit is sweet and higher in carbs. Use it as a sweet treat to curb cravings. It can also be a decent snack especially when paired with a fat to help hold you over so that you don’t just get hungry a few minutes later. Try an apple and almond butter…Or a banana and almond butter…YUM!
- Don’t make fruit the basis of the meal or treat it as an “unlimited” food. I personally try to avoid smoothies for breakfast unless mixed with fats and protein. Alone fruit won’t keep you feeling full for very long, which can cause people to consume more calories than they actually need. And again…It has lots of carbs and those add up quickly, which makes it a food you can’t just eat as much as you want of….unlike vegetables…and even protein. It is hard to eat “too much” protein or vegetables. It isn’t hard to eat too much fruit.
- Make lower carb fruit the fruit you consume most often. Just like proteins, vegetables and carbs in general are not created equal, neither are fruits. There are some fruits that should be included more often than others. Tropical fruits, for instance, should be included only every so often. While berries can be eaten more often. They are lower in carbs and are super nutrient-dense with lots of antioxidants. Choose your fruits wisely. As with all foods you consume, you want to get the most bang for your buck possible!
- Eat fruit on carb days. Fruits are great for carb days. They are healthy and nutrient-dense. Cycle your fruit consumption just like you cycle your carbs.
- Fruits and fruit juices are not the same thing. Consume fruit in its natural state. Juices with anything added, even if they say all-natural, contain way more sugar and crap. And it is way easier to consume way too much fruit when it is in liquid form. Avoid juices as much as possible.
The fruits I indulge in most often are berries and apples. They are my favorite…especially apples and almond butter.
What fruits do you include in your diet?