I know I have talked about this before (and likely will again), but this remains the number one question people ask me:
“What are you eating?”
The truth is, I probably do not eat like many other people losing weight (or trying to lose weight). I do not count calories. I do not count grams of anything (protein, fat, salt, etc.). I do not choose “low-fat” or “no fat” varieties of most foods I eat.
Calories stress me out. I can never seem to get that right. I am either eating way too much in order to meet the required number, or I am eating way too little (retricted) and starving. Either way will lead to failure. I eat when I feel truly hungry (not bored, angry, lonely, etc.), which just happens to work out to be around every 3 to 4 hours. I eat until I am no longer hungry. This is not the equivalent to, “Oh my gosh. I am so stuffed I can barely move.” Feeling that way is a clear indicator you ate *way* too much.
Nutrition information is overwhelming (and often conflicting). Some reputable sources say, “Eat loads of protein!” Other sources say limit animal proteins to only a few days a week. Something I have learned over my journey…my body knows what it needs. I just have to listen. When my body needs protein, guess what? I crave it. When my body needs something else, another craving. Over time I have figured out how to eat…for *my* body. I may not; however, be eating enough of one thing or another for *your* body. We are all different. We all require different amounts of different things to operate at *our* maximum.
I eat full-fat cheese and sour cream. I eat bread (100% whole wheat) and pasta (again, whole wheat). These are things most “dieters” avoid like the plague. What they do not seem to understand, though, is that *most* “low-fat” or “no fat” products contain many other horrible things (such as an excess of sodium or sugar). What you are trading in fat (or even reduced calories) is a significant increase in chemicals. Full-fat cheese is natural. Natural is good.
I eat fat…and quite a bit of it. I am willing to bet I consume *far* more fats than the average “dieter.” My fats come from avocado, nuts, coconut oil, and other healthy (natural) sources. These are *not* the equivalent of the fat content of a triple decker cheeseburger from McDonald’s, though. Healthy fats, and our bodies need them.
Recently, another girl came to me with serious inquisition…she wants desperately to lose weight (so she said). The minute I said, “What you eat is more of the equation than what you do with your body,” was the minute she tuned me out. It is the truth, though, eating is more than 75% of weight loss. All the working out I do is more for muscle, endurance, fitness, and hopefully less chance of ever having “saggy skin.” Food is where the magic really happens.
The biggest pieces of advice I can give anyone with the goal of weight loss are these (in no specific order):
-Ditch as much processed foods as you can. Avoid trans fat (hydrogenated oils) and high fructose corn syrup. Read nutrition and ingredient labels (there are millions of products containing these things that you would never suspect). Eat more raw veggies and fruits. Stay away from fast food joints.
-Be honest with yourself about your goals and how much work it is *really* going to take to meet them. I have found people often set *huge* goals with the expectation of little effort.
-Find a way to keep yourself accountable. This is a *huge* one. People often turn to friends for support, which is nice. The problem? Friends often let you “slip” when you should not because they have an emotional attachment to you. “Oh, girl, I know you needed that brownie after that happened. I would have eaten two!” People who are not emotionally invested in your life are far more likely to keep it real…and keep you on track.
-Figure out what (if any) your trigger foods are…then curb it/them. Almost everyone I know has at least one food that triggers them to overeat. Find out what yours are, and then be more aware of it. If you can, avoid eating it/them for a while. If you cannot, do not allow yourself to overeat. Stay conscious while you are eating, and force yourself to eat more slowly (which will allow you to feel that sensation of satisfaction *before* you stuff yourself).
-Do not eat while doing other things. If you eat while watching television – stop. You are far more likely to overeat simply because you are not paying attention to your body’s signals.
-Keep a food journal. Seriously. Write down *every single morsel* that enters your mouth. When starting out, write down portion sizes, too. You may be eating *far* more than what you think you are…especially if you are a grazer/snacker.
This is just a short list of things that have helped me in relation to eating/food…and I hope they can help some of you, too.
My goal for this week is to start posting more about what foods I am eating regularly. I want to also start sharing more recipes as I find/try them. So, be looking for that.
Do you have any other hints/tips/tricks that have helped you in your journey that I did not mention? Please share them in the comments below.