Nutrition is usually the puzzle piece in health that we struggle with the most. Why is finding a healthy balance with food so difficult?? Well, in your defense, it’s not really your fault. Most of our jobs are sedentary which causes us to move less. Our food products are more processed with extra sugar and other ingredients that will hold toxins in your fat cells. Life is stressful and we sleep less which increases cravings. And our society tends to lead to the unhealthy lifestyle side. Luckily, YOU have the power to make your own choices and change these patterns starting right now if you haven’t started already.
Here are some rules that I live and have helped me create a healthy nutrition plan that fits in my life:
1. Start your morning off the right way. We are all individuals and our eating should be treated the same way. Some people feel better throughout the day just drinking a cup of coffee and having a small piece of fruit for breakfast (like myself). Others prefer to have eggs, bacon and toast (like Liana). Find what works best for YOUR body and metabolism. Always start off with a glass of H2O!
2. Low carb or high carb? One thing that’s for sure is that carbs (starchy or not) are essential for a healthy, functioning body. It’s not the veggie and fruit carbs that are the problem, it’s the processed, starchy carbs that you need to look out for. Like I mentioned earlier, some people function best with few starchy carbs at each meal. Others people will end up binging in chips at the end of the night if they don’t include some starch at every meal. If you are unsure of your body’s preference, keep this in mind: a study came out in 2012 showing that “participants burned about 325 calories a day more on the low-carbohydrate compared to the high-carbohydrate diet. This difference is equivalent to about an hour of moderately vigorous activity, in effect without lifting a finger.” Try out low carb for a while to see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, slowly introduce non processed carbs back in.
3. Find your vice. Food is one of the most enjoyable things in life. I believe in moderation and that you should be able to consume the beautiful foods that make you happy (chocolate and wine, anyone?). Unfortunately, many of us have developed an unhealthy relationship with them, eating them when we’re stressed or unhappy. You can still eat the things that you love that may be higher in calories, just find a healthy place for them. Don’t drink a whole bottle of wine by yourself. Instead, enjoy a glass with a good friend. Savor a few bites of good chocolate.
4. Find your caloric range. Related to #3, remember how your nonnegotiable foods fit into your nutrition plan. If you can’t live without cheese at dinner, then get rid of the bread that is just there as a filler. Have a general idea of how many calories you should consume a day to get you to your goal. Then based on that, find your ideal intake. Want to gain strength? Caloric intake should definitely be higher. Weight loss? Find the healthy balance of not too low and not too high.
5. Balance. A great example of balance is taking a look at the french lifestyle. They consume everything in moderation, alcohol, caffeine, starchy pastries yet are still one of the healthiest societies in the world. “The French have some of the lowest obesity rates in the developed world and highest life expectancies, despite the rich food they eat.” I’ve been studying this subject for years and it still fascinates me. The french generally consume full fat cheese, butter, bread, chocolate and wine almost everyday. How do they stay so slim and healthy? Balance and quality. Unfortunately in the US, we have to go to more stringent methods to get good quality meat and dairy from healthy animals but it is totally worth it. Check out this cool article on the french paradox: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindful-eating/200903/mindful-eating-the-french-paradox
I hope this helps guide you a little better. As always, we are here to help you. Feel free to schedule a quick 10 min nutrition meeting with me or any of our staff to go over any questions!