If you take nothing else away from this let it be Michael Pollan’s (he’s a brilliant food and health guy with several New York Times best-sellers) advice: Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Part of me hesitates to expand upon this. Its beauty is in its simplicity. But I’ll add these small nuggets: real food has no ingredient list, or a very very short one consisting of a bunch of foods that have no ingredient list, for example, there is no ingredient list for tomatoes, they just are. Salsa has a short ingredient list consisting of foods that just are, making salsa, homemade of course, real food as well. Not too much, is not too much, not overfilling yourself, not allowing yourself to eat what you know is too much but you’re not full because of years of stretching your stomach with too large portion sizes. Know what it’s like to be a little bit hungry and then eat until you’re full-ish, not stuffed. Tell me the last time groaning in stuffed pain was actually enjoyable anyhow. Mostly plants, because that’s how we evolved, eating mostly plants, so that’s what our bodies like to digest, keeps us healthy with the nutrients we need, and maintains our figure.
You will need to choose a healthy lifestyle of which a healthy diet with some rules –written more in sand than stone—will have to apply. One of the reasons diets don’t work is because most of the time you can’t do them forever, you would die of starvation, malnutrition, or disease. So when you stop because it’s over or because it takes soul-sucking will and energy to stay on, meanwhile feeling like a pile of crap, you eventually put the weight back on. And while you were on that diet you also likely damaged your metabolism further because most of them don’t maintain proper blood sugar levels or mess with the body’s hormone systems (among a long list of things that it can be negatively affecting depending on the diet), when you return to your normal eating habits it is desperate to ensure you never “starve” it of its needs or wants again and will slow your metabolism often causing a greater weight gain than before you dieted. So what you need are some simple guidelines to live by, ones that from time-to-time you can break because there is usually a time that real life calls for ice cream cake, for example. If you are seeking easy logical healthy diet guidelines I recommend Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules, for full lifestyle programs request a complimentary consultation.
Nutrient abundance is key to overall health and permanent weight loss. There are many lifestyle diets outside of my recommendations that are also sustainable for longer periods, what is most important is that your healthy diet is actually healthy, abundant in nutrients. This is why I say agree with mostly plants, they are rick with nutrients that our body needs. Most Westerners are overfed and still starving for nutrients, it has been hypothesized by many that overeating is highly correlated with poor diets because, on top of addictive substances like sugar and MSG, people are calorically overfed and yet they’re starving for nutrients their bodies really need! Whether this is true or not you leave a lot less space in your stomach for wannabe food if you fill it with nutrient-rich veggies, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, healthy fats, and naturally-raised meats. Your body will have less tendency to maintain excess fat stores if you feed it real food abundant in nutrients it needs.
Exercise, the other 40%. You can lose weight on a diet without exercise, but again your results are unlikely to last. Exercise does not need to be “hardcore”, but it serves many purposes in over healthy lifestyle and long term weight loss. Some will tell you it’s only 30% of the equation, some will even say 20%, I’m going to give an experiential opinion here and say that 20% doesn’t account for long term maintenance. Exercise is 40% if you want to look at long term weight maintenance and health benefits, and especially if you want to feel awesome (remember you quit the diet because you felt like crud), as there are lots of feel good benefits of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment and you can choose to do activities you like, but exercise is a fundamental part of the equation.
Always choose quality over minimal calories. Arificial sweeteners are a perfect example for this. They are poison, actually poison, aspartame turns to formaldehyde in your body (yup like the dead-people-preserver, and also a neurotoxin), acesulfame potassium or K contains a known carcinogen, sucralose has heavy metals arsenic and methanol, saccharin is a coal tar compound and associated with bladder cancer. They contain few to no calories and yet prompt greater calorie consumption and in the meantime (because your body doesn’t know your ingesting anything so it’s still hungry) are doing a disservice to the body that you’re trying to otherwise have run smoothly and efficiently. It is not only about the calories, I’m sure it’s clear at this point that while sugar is quite bad for you it is still better than an artificial sweetener. More calories of (real, check the ingredients on these there should be like 3) sour cream or cream cheese are 100% better for you than their low-fat or fat-free counterparts. Fat-free sour cream is not possible, it’s just fake, cream by its very nature is fat, making fat-free sour cream not even real food. Am I saying you should eat sour cream? Not often and only if you’re going to truly enjoy it, but there is a place for sour cream as there is for ice-cream cakes, it’s of a quality incomparable to a food invented in a lab, and your body will thank you for not poisoning it even if you do gain a few ounces.
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© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.