Whether you have gone down the diet path or not, there is no need to ever go there. Diets just don’t work. Losing weight and becoming healthy is not about the food and what you eat, but more about your thoughts. Just eating less is not the quick solution, but thinking differently about how you eat will transform your body and mind into a healthier and happier version of you.
Every day the media reports some story about the latest “Health Food” or “Superfood,” guaranteed to make you skinny for life or promise that you’ll live to 100. In addition, there is a growing list of foods that are “BAD” for you! “JUST AVOID THESE 5 EVIL FOODS AND YOUR WORRIES ARE OVER!” the headlines read.
In my workshops, my clients are always amazed that they can eat these taboo foods and still lose weight. Recently, one client was so glad to add fruit back into his diet because he started to believe that fruit was bad due to its sugar content. Another shocker is when clients realize that foods they were eating with abandon were not the healthy foods (or “healthier” substitutions) they were led to believe. My favorite example is the Greek yogurt craze. Americans have fallen for Greek yogurt so fast that nearly every yogurt maker now makes a “Greek” variety. While plain Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein (see “The Healthy Plate” blog post), most dieters eat flavored Greek yogurt as a substitute for ice cream, which, by the way, has become one of the most taboo foods for people trying to lose weight. Hmmm… interesting idea! Let’s examine the facts:
Some people do well with counting calories. Others, however, can find it tedious and difficult to measure accurately. This can, and often does, lead to underestimation of the number of calories we consume each day. Clients I work with usually find it easier (and less time consuming) to focus on how to fill their plate.
First let’s talk about plate size. Several scientific studies have shown that by simply reducing plate size one can reduce the number of calories consumed. Apparently plate sizes have increased significantly in the last 50 year… a 22% increase. I suggest that you eat off a plate that is no more than 10″ in diameter. At my house, we use 9″ glass plates that we bought from IKEA.
Once you have an appropriately sized plate, how you fill it is very important. I suggest the following guidelines:
In the recent New York Times column “Jane Brody’s Personal Secrets to Lasting Weight Loss,” Jane Brody tells the tale of how she managed to lose weight and keep it off by deciding to stop dieting and to make healthy choices. She talks of a shift in her perspective:
I finally regained control when I stopped dieting. I decided that if I was going to be fat, at least I could be healthy. I made a plan to eat three nutritious, satisfying meals every day with one small snack, which helped me overcome the temptation to binge in response to deprivation.
When you think about the word “Mindfulness” what comes to mind? Do you picture a tranquil scene where someone is meditating in the woods or doing yoga on the Beach? Does it bring up images of happy healthy people experiencing inner peace? OR, (like me) does it make you roll your eyes at the overuse and misuse of this word? Here is a recent cover of Mindful Magazine:
Doesn’t she look beautiful and Happy! She’s absolutely glowing!! Just meditate and eat like her and you can be beautiful and happy too, Right?! (ooh, and I wonder what those 5 steps are to feeling better about myself ) Alright, I’m mostly kidding. And don’t get me wrong; I think meditation, yoga, etc. are wonderful. I do yoga every now and again and I enjoy it.
Remember back in January when you made that resolution? The resolution that this year was the year that you were going to get healthy! You were going to eat right and exercise! Maybe you made it a few weeks or even a few months….Maybe you found a new diet that you were able to stick to for a while. For those 1st few weeks you thought “this is easy! I can do this!”, only to return to your old habits, feeling dejected….like a failure. Now you are “thinking why can’t I do it?….It’s easy for other people” and “I really WANT to be fit and healthy! I know what to do!….why can’t I make healthy choices?”