OK, who hasn’t been bombarded by fitness, diet, and weight loss advertisements on TV via infomercials, commercials, online via pop ups, or in the magazines you read? Oh and only their program will deliver results, right! Of course they all want one thing…your money. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Whatever, it is complicated! Ugh!!!
I’ve seen numerous studies and claims that indicate what you actually eat is a HUGE factor on weight and overall wellness. And who hasn’t seen the claim, “you are what you eat.”
I’m just like anyone else in that I want to eat wisely for my health and waistline especially the belly. With all the information that’s out there, the contradictions, the myths, the quick fixes, the promises and so called miracle ingredients, and so forth, it is hard to figure out exactly what path a person should take and one that actually works.
A lot of the weight loss information is false/myth related because they want you to buy their so called miracle breakthrough product. (These same companies will also hook you to with auto bill pay and auto reorders. Trying to terminate/cancel can become a nightmare too!) And yet; on the flip side, some information is actually great and helpful. BUT…How do we know the difference?
The one thing I know is that we all are unique individuals and there really isn’t some universal diet that will be a one size cure all that works for everyone. Sorry, no magic pills either! Plus, some people have allergies and medical conditions that need to be factored in. Basically, what works for Sally is NOT necessarily going to work for Kim or James.
As a yoga and fitness instructor, I’ve worked with numerous ladies and guys who attended my fitness and yoga classes. I even had a group of ladies who regularly attended my Friday night “Back to Basics” class claiming they were all on “Weight Watchers.” Disclaimer up front! I’ve never have done “Weight Watchers” or “Nutra System.” From what I understand with “Weight Watchers” is that food is awarded so many points and you are only supposed to eat so many points per day. Also, people are weighed in once a week. (Those of you who have done these programs, feel free to comment).
Personally, I don’t want to think of how many points I should eat, only eat the menu choices on a list, continuously have a shake for breakfast and lunch, eliminate a whole food group like carbs, or count calories for that matter. I just want to enjoy my meal and to eat without stressing out about that sort of thing. And I don’t want to ONLY be allowed to eat prepackaged foods for the rest of my life! Personally, I’d rather make healthy choices amongst REAL FOODS and have those choices also taste good! BUT, I will still have my “treat” days and I won’t feel guilty about it either!
I’ve read a lot of books, taken nutrition classes, many workshops, talked to lots of people, and yes I have tried the diets like “Adkins” and “Slim Fast” too. I’ve even tried those thermogenic pills. I’ve also witnessed first hand how important it is to eat healthy when my Mom was diagnosed with CML Leukemia. This health crisis grabbed Mom’s attention and one of the thing she really focused on was eating healthy. Her story so far has been a good news story and she truly believes what helped succeed to remission and stay there was her nutrition!
So as you can see, I’m just like anyone else in that I want my nutrition to keep me and my family healthy as well as slim. The best of both worlds!
Some things I’ve learned along the way that I personally find helpful and I am getting positive results from are below. I’m hoping this list will start to erase the complicatedness that is eating because lets face it, trying to eat right is complicated! And, I’ll admit that I am still learning also!
Thought I’d share my notes. (No I’m not a dietician or nutritionist by trade; just a regular person who teaches fitness and yoga classes on the side, who also has regular 40 hour job, a mom, values health, and who has a busy life).
My Uncomplicated List thats NOT A DIET:
1. Don’t use the word “DIET.” Isn’t that some temporary deal, not how you regularly eat? Instead, use the phrases “EATING HEALTHY or MAKING BETTER CHOICES.” Your mind is a very powerful influencer on your behavior!
2. Drink a lot of water! Invest in a nice water bottle. Fill it up and drink away. Next thing you know, you are having to get out of your chair because you have to use the restroom and regular movement is good! OK, drink water, but how much? Take your body weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces you should drink!
3. Eat Whole Food or Food in its Raw Form! AKA Real Food… Minimize processed foods!
A. Spend 80-90% of your food shopping on the parameter of your grocery store. Think about it. Where is your produce, meat, and fish? The Real Food! It is in the parameter of the store. The processed crap is in the aisles! However, don’t be scared of the aisles, just make better decisions by comparing products. Read the labels on the side and the ingredients! Don’t be fooled by packaging that says low/no fat, low/no sugar, and low/no salt. Read the label! In fact, some of the low/no fat…stuff have ingredients such as “Olestra” that can cause some very unpleasant side affects!
B. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables and try to eat them more in their raw form. The less you have to cook them, the better.
C. Visit your local (within 100 miles) Farmer’s Market or grow your own garden that way you definitely know what’s in your foods. There certainly aren’t any pesticides or GMOs in my garden!
D. Support restaurants that use locally grown produce and organic products. Believe it or not they are actually out there! We have a wonderful one not to far away from my home called Adam’s Mountain Cafe over in Manitou Springs, CO. Check it out, if you live or visit in the Colorado Springs area.
E. Fast Food like McDonalds is bad for you! Good thing it isn’t the only deal around! Better choices of quick sources or fast food are places like your grocery’s produce section, fresh deli or a salad bar. Whole Foods has a great salad bar that is regularly available!
4. Minimize added sugar! Sugar is most likely is your worst enemy! I’m not talking about naturally occurring sugars that you find in fruits or honey. I’m talking about those manmade added sugars which are definitely in processed foods! (See #3). Why? Sugar triggers your insulin response which helps you hold onto that weight especially in the belly. Read labels because sugar is typically hidden in the ingredients. A lot of words that end in “ose” are those bad sugars in disguise. Definately avoid that High Fructose Corn Syrup as that is one of the worst things to ingest! Don’t use fake synthetic sugar either as that tricks your body and actually makes you hungrier (Equal, Splenda, Sweet n’ Low…anything with aspartame.)
A. Sweeten up with fruit. Try adding lemon, lime, or even cucumber to water.
B. Loose tea tends to be naturally sweet so no extra sugar necessary.
C. Purchase a Stevia plant and use it’s leaves as a sweetener. (Truvia is a Stevia product).
5. Get your fiber! Most people don’t eat the recommended amount which is at least 20 grams or more. In fact, some people don’t even get 14 grams. How to do this, eat things like apples or when you look at a label pick something that has at least 2 grams per 100 calories. Add little super stars like “Chia Seeds” to your foods. Sprinkle them like you would pepper as a little goes a long way! These little seeds are rock stars in that they have fiber and protein and a bunch of other benefits all in a teaspoon! You can find them in the bulk foods area in places like Whole Foods. All in all, fiber helps counteract the insulin response that sugar triggers. (Just don’t eat all your fiber in one meal! You know why).
6. Use better oils and fats not synthetics! However, don’t be afraid of fats, just make better choices with regards to fats. Do Choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil over Canola Oil, and real butter over margarine. And do choose those foods like avocados that are “naturally” occurring fats.
7. Breads and pasta: Yes, you can eat breads and pastas. Just choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Maybe pick a sweet potato (without the goodies) over a regular potato. Also, consider including gluten free (GF) options (products without wheat) and see if there is a possibility that you’ll feel better if you reduce or even eliminate gluten. (Now, unless you have Celiac’s Disease, you don’t have to totally eliminate gluten). Maybe you’ll feel better; maybe you won’t.
A. Quinoa (GF)
B. Rice (GF)
C. Corn (GF)
8. Eat your protein! Just choice healthier versions of it. If you get your protein from animal sources, consider choosing from companies that treat animals right meaning they allow them to eat naturally verses being pumped with antibiotics and hormones. How do you know? For instance, Wild fish verses farm raised. Other healthy buzz words are grass fed, cage free, and free range. It is labeled on the packaging, look for it! And yet, do know that plants like lentils and various seeds have protein too!
OK, this is just a little list and I don’t think it is to overwhelming. You can read more in depth information concerning my list. The information is certainly available. I’m just keeping it simple and taking baby steps. (I’ll elaborate more later. Maybe my adventures in shopping).
Of course, people’s food choices are a personal deal. However, I personally don’t think you have to be a strict vegetarian or be on some “Weight Watchers” or other diet to achieve the lifetime results and still enjoy your meals. It is my hope that you’ll find some of my list helpful. Maybe try some of these ideas out and see if you don’t see positive changes. I know I have!!!