25 Mar Food For Thought.
Food For Thought…No Literally Think About What You Are Eating
Every day we battle if we are trying to losing weight with what foods to eat. Thinking about what I am putting in my mouth helped me tremendously.
So what is food? On a basic level it is energy, fuel for our bodies to do every day functions.
I started looking into the Paleo Diet, because a client of mine wanted to do it. The Paleo Diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. They weren’t farmers, so they didn’t eat breads, or grains, candies, etc. If you want more info on the Paleo Diet, Google it, there are tons of sites and books that explain it and will help you with it. Looking into the Paleo Diet reminded of some research and lectures I did back in college. One of my professors talked about this man who did a raw diet. Everything from meat to vegetables. And yes raw chicken. He introduced the raw meats into his diet very slowing, but what struck me is how he explained how he looked at food. Food was strictly fuel for his body, he didn’t care whether it tasted good or not. This guys was an Ultra Athlete, meaning he did Ultra Runs (longer than a marathon 40-100 miles). So yes as an athlete you have to eat to nourish and fuel your body, but why can’t we all think like this?
Obesity is an epidemic in this country and food is a widely abused “drug.” I always tell my clients and I always hear other health professionals say that you have to change your mind before you can change your body. So I believe that we have to change they way we look and think about food. Research says majority of people who are obese is because they turn to food for a particular reason; comfort, self medication, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, etc. First thing, figure out why you are eating. Hungry? Bored? Depressed? Upset? Angry? Tired? Sad? If you are eating for any other reason other than you are hungry, you need to stop associating food with coping with those feelings. Food should be associated with hunger and fueling your body, nothing else. One thing that always helped me was to drink a glass of water if I was “hungry” if I was still hungry after drinking the water then I was hungry and would eat. For me, I get the munchies right before bed. Also eating out is social to me, I only eat out when I am with people. As we all know eating out tends to be much more unhealthier. When eating out be mindful of how your food is being prepared, ask the server to ask the cook how things are made and what is used to make each dish. You are not being a pain, you are being conscious of what is going into your mouth.
Protein builds and repairs muscles
Carbs are energy (quick energy)
Fats are energy too (long sustainable)
Protein and fats take longer to break down therefore you feel fuller longer
You need energy for daily activities and workouts. Eat majority of your carbs in the morning and lunch. You don’t need energy at night especially if you are going to bed soon. This was me, I workout late sometimes and was eating dinner after my workout. Usually included chicken, veggies and a carb like sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa. FYI veggies and fruits are carbs. I recently changed my nightly diet to a protein, good fat and veggies. I don’t need the carbs like grains at the end of my day, especially if I am going to bed in the couple of hours. I noticed I am less hungry and starting to lean out. I wish there was a universal diet that everyone could use to lose weight, it would make my job a lot easier. But our bodies are as different as our personalities. And because our bodies adapt so well, which is a good and bad thing, we are constantly having to make adjustments and tweaks to our exercise regimen and diets. How you think about food will greatly help you in your fitness and weight loss journey.
Think about what you are putting into your body, especially chemicals. Our bodies can’t process and break them down, therefore we either just flush them out or our body stores them. We are constantly bombarded by food, just watch TV for 5 minutes and count how many food commercials you see. Or while you are driving count how many food billboards you pass in 10 miles. I am not saying you have to restrict your diet completely, that is setting yourself up for failure. But what I am saying is put some thought into what you are putting into your body. Just because a picture looks nice doesn’t mean that what’s inside is good for you, READ LABELS! Packages have to list what is in the foods they make, so read the label and see what you are putting in your body.
10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING
1. Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away.
Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. It sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it, because at the same time you are meeting your fiber goals and feeling more satisfied from the volume of food. You’re also less likely to overeat because fruits and vegetables displace fat in the diet. And that’s not to mention the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. More than 200 studies have documented the disease-preventing qualities of phytochemicals found in produce. Work vegetables into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a plate.
2. Stock up on these:
Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, etc) they are chalked full of protein, good fat and fiber
Greek non-fat yogurt, a great snack, and can be used as a base for dips and spreads instead of sour cream
Balsamic Vinegar, a great low calorie flavorful additive for salads and veggies
3. Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time.
Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive or coconut oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
4. Think of water and exercise as a food group in your diet
Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day, just like you would add healthy greens, blueberries, or salmon. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.
5. Eat protein at every meal and snack
Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the new secret weapon in weight control. Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans, at meals and snacks.
6. Never go more than 3 days in a row without doing some type of exercise
Whether this be walking, jumping jacks, squats, whatever. JUST MOVE!
7. Eat Fats
Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame).
Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, and walnuts.
8. Prepare, failing to prepare is setting yourself up for FAILURE
Pack healthy snacks, keep a bag of almonds in your car. Keep some trail mix or protein bars in your drawer at work. Plan your meals daily/weekly. This may take some time upfront but it will take out the guessing game later on when you are trying to decide what to eat.
9. Don’t Reward Yourself with Food
After dieting for weeks and eating the same foods day in and day out, it can be hard not to splurge. It’s easy to feel like you deserve a “reward” after completing a weight loss goal, but those splurges will start to add up! Just like when you were on a diet, you need to exercise some self-control. Set ‘cheat days’ or ‘re-feed days’ once per week to help satisfy you and keep cravings under control. To celebrate success, reward yourself in other ways, like a spa day or a new gym outfit to show off your hard work!
10. Grocery Shopping: Go with a plan
Make a list and do not deviate from it. Don’t shop hungry, this is where you start to deviate from your list. Stick to the perimeter of the store, this is where the healthy and non-processed foods tend to be.