Diet, a Four-Letter Word

diet and healthy eating

Step one can feel like the most daunting, but it is actually simple. Pick ONE, only one junk food or drink to eliminate. I gave up soft drinks 4 years ago. I adored Coke, especially Cherry Coke, or Coke with lemon. I loved the caffeine buzz, the sugary sweetness. It was refreshing. But I also knew it was full of empty calories, 150 calories per can of Cherry Coke. Do you have any idea how much you have to exercise to burn 150 calories? I would have to jog for 20 minutes. At my peak when I was drinking 5 cans of  soda a day, that is 100 minutes of jogging. 100 minutes! Cutting calories is an efficient way to achieve weight loss goals. So in step one,  find that one junk food or drink that you know you can live without, and start living without it. If you would like a little incentive by to learning how much you would have to exercise to burn those empty calories, Free Dieting, is an excellent source because it takes into consideration that our weight affects how many calories we burn.

Step two is the fun step.  You gave up a food or drink that was full of empty calories and unhealthy, now what do you put in its place? The answer is VARIETY. We need a variety of foods for our bodies to get all the vitamins and minerals necessary to run efficiently and effectively. Variety does not mean a selection of different flavored chips, multiple salad dressings, or candy bars, or sugary drinks. It does mean having a colorful plate sitting in front of you when you are having a meal. Your plate should not just look monochromatic. This would be a good time to try some new foods. Or perhaps adding a second vegetable or fruit to your meal. For my friends who are hesitant at trying new foods or do not feel like a chef in their own kitchens,  Blue Apron is a relatively new company that delivers healthy ingredients to your home along with recipes. They have a variety of meal plans that are priced around 10 dollars per meal or less. Whether you feel confident in the kitchen or not, adding fruit, nuts, kale, carrots, or even simple broccoli, can add that color and  extra nutrients to our diets. The variety will also help us from missing the food we eliminated in step one!

Step three actually goes against how I was raised, but I have learned a few tricks to get around the guilt. Leave a little bit of food on your plate. Like I said before, eliminating calories is the most efficient way to lose weight.  Typically in our western culture, calories are not something we are lacking. I was raised in the “clean plate club” also known in my household as the “if you don’t have three helpings your grandmother will think you didn’t like dinner” club. Many of you were raised that finishing food was also a sign of respect and gratefulness for being able to eat such a bounty.  But if you can leave a little bit of food on your plate or better yet, take smaller portions in the first place, you are going to learn the feeling of “full” versus “stuffed” and the feeling of having “enough” over “too much.” Unfortunately when raised in the “clean plate club,” we stop listening to our bodies. Losing touch with how we are physically feeling makes it easier for us to make bad decisions when it comes to food. We forget what it feels like to feel good. These three steps will help us get in touch with our bodies again without making goals that are unattainable or easily abandoned. Ah, but you ask, what about wasting all of that food in step three? Here are my tricks, 1) I compost as much food as I can for my garden. 2) I have learned to be creative with leftovers 3) I try to take smaller portions especially when I am at a guest’s house. 4) I try to regularly donate food to a local food shelf to subside any guilt I may have for *gasp* throwing away food.

With any of these steps, the key is to be able to live with them. Let’s say you are like me and are giving up soft drinks. But you slip, you have some caffeinated delight at the movies. Instead of beating yourself up, pick something else to eliminate. Maybe do not have the candy bar and the popcorn. Or maybe you do not eat chips before bed that evening. Eliminate one unhealthy food or drink every day means that everyday you are taking one step towards better health. You are in control. These steps will not make you lose 28 pounds in 30 days or take 12 inches off your waist in two weeks. They will give you the control to make better decisions and help you get in touch with how you are physically feeling. Remember, it feels good to feel good!

I as part of my holistic services, I offer nutritional consultation free at any of your appointments.  Book an appointment today, and let me help you on your weight loss journey!