Today I’m going to be talking about healthy eating, well in fact I’m going to be showing you how I eat and how I will be encouraging all my clients to eat, for weight loss and better health. I’m not a fan of diets any more. I used to be, many moons ago. I have tried them all and I know that they are not realistic or maintainable and that they are in fact bad for your health, hormones and self esteem. Shifting the focus to your health will see you looking good from the inside out. See, once you shift your focus to your health, it is no longer a Monday to Friday, blow out on the weekend thing, there is no time frame or going back to old habits once you lose the desired 5 kilos. It is a change you make for life. You cant help but make it for life, once you start actually paying attention to how certain foods make you feel (seriously, the next time you go and eat fast food, actually sit and assess how you feel, I guarantee not one of you will say I felt light, fresh and nourished), once you start focusing on how food fuels and nourishes you, there is no going back from that. You will find that you are eating healthier ALL the time and binge eating or cheat days will be a thing of the past, even though you are eating more day to day, you will end up eating less calories all up, your metabolism will speed up (as it wont ever be in starvation mode), your body will run more smoothly and you will have more energy (which means you will be able to work out harder then before).
Its never easy to change, so small changes are best. Pick one thing each week or fortnight to change. This week try drinking only water or herbal tea, next week try adding as many extra veggies in as you can and so on. Slip ups or relapses will happen, you are only human, just learn from these and move on, nothing has been ruined, you don’t need to start over again on Monday, just try to get back to your new healthy habits as quickly as possible and remember we are not aiming for perfection, perfection is unrealistic and un achievable. Just aim to eat as healthily as you can in any situation, this allows for a freedom and flexibility that makes this a maintainable life style change. So here you go, my ten top tips for eating the Fit, Healthy, Happy way
1.Listen To Your Body- The majority of us have lost this connection with our bodies, we eat at 12 because its lunch time, whether we are hungry or not. We eat more then we need or not enough, ignoring our stomachs signals all together. The first thing I would ask anyone to do is try to re-establish this connection to your body. Only eat foods that make you feel light and energised, if it makes you feel sick or sluggish then it is not good for you. We all have very unique digestions, find what works for you. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This will be different from day to day, some days you will be hungrier than others, this is ok.
2. Drink, Drink, Drink!- Im talking water here people. We are recommended two litres a day, add
an extra litre if you are exercising. A lot of us will see health improvements and weight loss just from swapping the juice and soft drink for water. I have to be honest here, I have no patience for people that say they dont like water. It is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard! But if you are one of these people then you could try slices of lemon or cucumber in your water jug, plain soda or mineral water is great too, with fresh lemon or lime, coconut water is great and so are herbal teas, peppermint and lemon and ginger tea are my favourites. Juice and soft drink are full of sugar. High sugar diets have been linked with type 2 diabetes, Alzheimers and some cancers, plus sugar is extremely drying for the skin. If you want to age before your years, stick to a high sugar diet.
3. Eat Your Veggies- You literally can not over eat non starchy vegetables. Seriously, go crazy! They are super low in calories, jammed packed with vitamins and antioxidants and will keep you healthy and energised. They will bulk out your meals and make crowding out the less desirable stuff easier. We are recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day, most of us would not even come close to that. A serving size is 1 cup salad veggies or 1/2 cup cooked veggies. Make it a game with yourself and see how many veggies you can fit in your day. Some tips- add leafy greens to smoothies, grated veggies to mince dishes, snack on veggie soup or veggie sticks, make your salads in a large mixing bowl and aim for as many colours as possible and ALWAYS have veggies with your dinner. Your plate should be 1/2 full of vegetables.
4. Protein- Protein is essential for muscle, hair, nail, skin repair and growth, cell replacement and the production of certain hormones. It will also help keep you feeling full and satisfied and will help lesson sugar cravings. I recommend that you eat some protein with every meal. A serving size is the palm of your hand or 1/4 of your plate and if you are very active, especially doing lots of weights you will need more for muscle repair. I dont have a problem with protein shakes (though wholefoods are best), as long as they are as natural as possible with minimal ingredients and no added sugars.
5. Eat Fat- Fat plays an important role in our bodies. It is essential for growth, development, repair and body functions and is a great form of sustained energy. It also provides lubrication, cushioning and insulation for the body. Especially good are the monounsaturated fats in olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds and dont forget about fatty fish like salmon, snapper and tuna. Bursting with omega 3s these are great for brain and heart health, as well as being anti-inflammatory. Fat also plays an important role in hormone regulation and anti-aging. Also our cells are surrounded by a fatty membrane, if our fats are too low, this membrane can be damaged, stopping the good stuff getting into the cell and the bad stuff getting out, leaving us nutrient deficient and toxic! We want to stay right away from trans fats and we don’t want to over do saturated fats but some saturated fat is good for you so you dont want it too low. You should be eating fat everyday. Drizzle olive oil on your steamed vegies, add avocado to salads, snack on nuts and seeds and try to have fatty fish at least twice a week.
6. Dont Forget carbs- I dont believe in being overly restrictive with carbohydrates but I do believe that the majority of people over eat these. We have carbs for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with very little protein or vegetables. Carbs should make up a 1/4 of your plate and be low GI. This means that they wont spike your blood sugar. Some great examples are sweet potato, sweeds, parsnips and baby potatoes. If you are going to include grains in your diet, then whole grains are best, ancient grains offer great variety. Whole grains are easier to digest and higher in nutrients than processed, bleached flour products. Some great examples are quinoa, oats, buckwheat, brown or wild rice and millet. You can also make these in bulk and freeze in single serve portions for quick lunches and dinners. A serving size is 1 cup. If you are very active you will need more carbs than someone that is sedentary, you may need to play around with your servings until you find the right amount for you.
7. Fruit In Moderation- Again this is something that people tend to overeat, their fruit usually far outweighs vegetables, when it should be the other way around. While fruit is full of vitamins and antioxidants it also contains sugar, so we want to stick between 2-4 pieces a day. If you are suffering sugar cravings you can try taking fruit out of your diet for a few weeks and see if they improve. There is nothing you can get from fruit that you cant get from veggies so there is no need to worry about missing any essential vitamins. Berries are by far the best options as they are low in sugar but jammed packed with antioxidants.
8. Dairy- If you chose to include dairy in your diet, swap to full fat, plain dairy. It is higher in protein so will help keep you feeling full, plus they are lower in sugars and additives than flavoured varieties and lower GI. Most fruit yogurts dont contain any fruit, just flavourings and sugars. You would be much better off with full fat Greek yogurt, topped with fresh berries.
9.Wholefoods Please- Try to eat as little packaged foods as possible. These are usually full of sugars and additives and can barely be called food, if something is made by a little man in a white coat in a lab or factory, then I don’t class it as food! Food is grown, either as animals or in the ground or on trees. Have you looked at the back of a pack of tortillas lately? There is a reason that they last a year or more. They can have as many as 20 ingredients, where a traditional tortilla will have maybe 3! A good rule of thumb is, if your grandparents wouldn’t recognise it as food then don’t eat it. It can seem like a pain in the arse to make things from scratch at the beginning, especially if you are used to a very processed diet, but you will soon get into the swing of things. I remember at the start of my health journey it was a real bother mixing my own dressings, now I wouldn’t dream of buying a bottled one, they just taste terrible now how times have changed.
10.Prepare For Success- Preparation is key when beginning a healthier lifestyle, after a while, when your new habits are really ingrained, you can relax a little but for now preparation is important. Finding good healthy recipes you can double and freeze is a must to stop you reaching for the takeaway menu on those stressed out evenings. Whenever I make bolognaise, Sheppards pie or soups I always make extra and freeze it in single serve containers for quick lunches and dinners. Making sure you have plenty of healthy options around is important too, frozen fish portions and frozen vegetables are great for quick dinners, especially the fish that is in a sealed pack, to defrost it all you need to do is sit it in a sink of warm water and it will be defrosted by the time your oven is preheated. When you sit down to write your shopping list you need a rough idea of what you need for the week, how many lunches? Do they need to travel or will you be making them fresh? What nights will you have time to cook and what nights will you need something quick? Writing a list of healthy snacks and sticking it on your fridge is a great idea for when you are so hungry you cant think properly, though I hope you don’t allow this to happen often. surround yourself with healthy options and this is what you will eat.
So there you have it. Eating the Fit, Healthy, Happy way. Please let me know if this is something you would like to try. I truly believe that the key to long lasting weight loss is focusing on your health. I am a living example of this. I lost 25 kilos after the birth of my son and have kept it off for over 2 years. I am slimmer and happier now than I ever was while dieting. I have gotten my sanity back, my freedom back and my size 8 jeans back!