Here is a topic on the top of almost every woman’s mind for the past 40 years and I find myself dreading to write about it.
It’s not because it isn’t an important topic, because it is.
It’s because the very industry that has contributed to our state of health in this country is also the same industry that markets “diets” and weight loss solutions to us. It really makes me wonder what is really going on….Have you ever thought about this too?
The system is beyond flawed and quite frankly makes me furious. It’s not completely our fault that we have gotten to this state of health, but it’s our responsibility to learn to properly take care of ourselves and do what we can to get healthy.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but no one, not your doctor, not the manufacturers and farmers, not your husband or your kids are going to take responsibility for your health. It’s up to YOU and no one else to get healthy.
So with all of the conflicting information and fad new diet’s being thrown in your face day in and day out, how are you supposed to know what to do?
It’s actually quite easy and with a few tips and tricks anyone can do it and get their health back.
TOP SECRET: The real secret is that if the industry told you how easy and simple it was to be healthy, they would stop making money and crumble. As you can imagine, they will do almost anything to make sure you don’t know the truth about how they create “food” and then market it to you as being good for your health. Your grandma would not recognize the food you eat today.
THE SIMPLE TRUTH: Eat real food, move your body daily, keep your mind active, and build relationships and connections with those around you.
Pretty simple right?
I’ve always been an advocate for loving your body 1st and focusing on feeling good before comparing yourself to bus ads and TV commercial women (who aren’t real by the way). If you aren’t actually in any health danger and are simply obsessing over the last 10 lbs, then the fastest and most effective way of actually losing the weight is to learn to love yourself for the way you are. Once you realize that those models are not real and that you are gorgeous just the way you are, then you don’t consider yourself overweight. Changing your mindset can solve everything. It’s not easy, but it’s a journey to happiness and self-love that is critical.
Where most of us get caught up is what foods are “real” and which are not real. This is a topic for another day, but for now just think of real foods as anything that doesn’t come in a fancy package with health claims plastered all over it. Real whole foods are fruit, vegetables, legumes, meat, eggs, grains, healthy oils and fats, herbs and some dairy products. A good trick is to try to picture the product in it’s most natural state (growing in a field, or raised on a farm). If you can’t imagine how it grew, then it’s not a real food.
Once you get a good handle on eating real foods, you will also be at a place where you know to get moving your body daily. Do what you can and get out there. I’m not going to dive into this today either as it’s pretty simple as long as you do it.
I’d like to share with you some great tips to help change your behavior and habits around food and health. The more I look at the epidemic in our country, the more I realize that at the root of the issue is not only empowering people about the foods they are really eating, but also re-designing our daily habits to reflect better eating and lifestyle behaviors.
If you could start with one thing for losing weight today, pick 3 changes to make from this list below and start. Changing your behavior and mentality around food will make drastic changes in your life and how you feel on a daily basis.
Now, of course this is easier said than done. Habits have been proven to be extremely stubborn things to change. But it is possible. If you can stick with a new habit for 2-3 months, you will have re-written it into your subconscious. So, be strong and ask yourself “how important is my health to me and what am I willing to change to get healthy”?
Top 10 behavior & habit changes for weight loss and better health.
- Shopping habits
Always shop after eating a well-balanced meal and only shop from a designated shopping list. Buy only what you need on a full stomach. Shop the perimeters of the grocery store where the real food is kept.
- Avoid packaged and processed meals
Avoid pre-packaged meals. If this is hard to cut cold turkey then try cutting back a little each week. Focus on real foods and making things at home like nut milk, salad dressings, and sauces. Packaged foods are loaded with preservatives, chemicals, salt, and sugars which are only going to cause harm to your body and encourage weight gain.
- Plan for the week
Creating a meal plan and a physical activity plan will ensure that you stay on track with how you want to be eating and moving each week. Without a plan, it’s easy to skip meals, eat unhealthy snacks and cave into the temptation of spending the whole day on the couch. Find an accountability partner and do it together so you can stay motivated. Check this out to get you started with meal planning.
- Don’t skip meals
I know many people who do not like to eat breakfast. Either they are too busy in the morning or their body simply says it’s not hungry. Always listen to your body, but also acknowledge that you have been fasting all night and your body will need some energy before it can function throughout the day. Eating regular meals (small ones) will help balance blood sugar levels and control cravings and hunger throughout your day. Start off on the right foot in the morning with a meal containing healthy fats and proteins.
- Create a calm eating environment- always!
This is a big one when it comes to controlling eating and losing weight. Create a space in your home and at work where you can sit and eat every meal. Most importantly, eat your meals undistracted and purposefully. No distractions people! I get this can be a bit uncomfortable when you are used to scrolling through your phone or watching TV every time you eat, but this is one of the key reasons you are not managing food like you should. Your focus should be on the food you are eating and nothing else- especially driving.
Sit calmly and enjoy your food. You will digest and absorb nutrients better, you will be less likely to overeat, and you will be more conscious of what you are putting in your body. It’s too easy to snack and eat those not so good for you treats when you are parked in front of the TV every night. Train yourself to get up, take your bowl of ice cream and sit at your kitchen table while you eat it. Enjoy it and then go back to the TV. This habit change will result in less trips to the kitchen because it takes more effort. If you choose one of these tips to try this week, make it this one. Stick with it and you can change your health!
- Don’t overeat
Serve yourself ½ what you normally would on your plate or about a fist size. You can ALWAYS get up for 2nds. The act of starting slow and small will help you slow down while you eat and pay more attention to how you feel. You should stop eating when you no longer feel hungry and you feel satisfied. Once you feel full, you have overeaten and your digestion will be compromised and encouraged to store fat.
- Plan ahead for setbacks and temptations
This is another BIG one. Planning ahead so you can stay strong in situations that you can’t control. Before heading to a birthday party, prepare what you will say when someone asks you if you want a piece of cake. Say it to yourself in advance, “no thanks”. You will be much better equipped mentally to stay strong if you are prepared with an answer for those social situations. Also, planning for setbacks is very important. It happens to all of us. It’s natural. So what are you going to do when you don’t see the pounds dropping off after a few weeks or aren’t able to stick to your meal plan on a busy week? Be clear on how you are going to manage these situations. As yourself “What could go wrong and mess up my plan?”, “What will I do in that situation?”.
- Throw away your scale
Scales are the WORST motivator I’ve ever come across. How often have you jumped on the scale, only to realize that your weight is the same or higher than last week? Probably often. How did you feel? I bet it was hugely discouraging. I bet you didn’t even think about the amazing healthy changes you made that past week or how you feel like you have more energy and focus. You’re focus was on a number. A silly number has all the power. Shouldn’t our focus be on how we feel? Absolutely! Get rid of that scale, hide it in the basement and get your mind focused back on all of the amazing positive changes you are making and how your body is feeling.
- Don’t cut out treats
What happened last time you told a child they couldn’t have something? I’m willing to bet they wanted it even more than if you simply let them tire of it by themselves. The human brain is very interesting this way. When we are told we can’t have something, we seem to crave it more. Life is about enjoyment and moderation. There is no need to tell yourself that you can never have another chip in your life. Not only does this type of self-talk create stronger cravings for that particular treat, but it also creates a huge sense of guilt and negativity around the item. Enjoy your pleasures in moderation. Instead of a whole bag of chips, eat half and only every couple of weeks. When you do indulge, practice true focus and enjoyment of that item. Really taste it, enjoy your treat. Don’t guilt yourself for enjoying life. Accept that you live a life of moderation and that the occasional treat is more than OK. Practice self-love and heal your unhealthy relationship with food.
- Re-arrange your house & life to break habit links & stimuli
This one is a neat trick. Take a look around your house and life to see what habits or stimuli contribute to your unhealthy eating and habits. Perhaps driving home from work you always pass by the McDonalds and stop for a McFlurry. Now, take a different route home from work and break that trigger. If your kitchen table is constantly overflowing with work and things, clear it off. Make a welcoming and beautiful seating area to encourage you to sit there instead of on the couch in front of the TV. Put all “unhealthy” snacks and food out of sight in a cupboard. Fill a bowl of fruit on your counter in plain sight. Set yourself up for success and change your living and work environment to support you.
Since I couldn’t quite stop at 10 tips (there are just so many I’d love to write about), I had to include this one very important one.
Focus on how you can add more vegetables into your diet.
Including vegetables with every meal will drastically improve the amount of nutrients and fiber you eat every day. No, I’m not talking about veggie straws and fruit snacks. I’m talking about real raw or slightly cooked vegetables. Try bulking up soups, making smoothies, or roasting vegetables for an easy snack on the go. The more vegetables you eat, the less room there is for the bad foods that are getting you in trouble.
Now, get started. Choose 3 tips from above and start them this week. I’d love to know which ones you will try. Reply to this email and let me know!
Take back responsibility for your health today!
If you would love some help making these changes or someone to keep you accountable and motivated, then please reach out and connect with me for a completely FREE 30-minute consultation. I’d love to learn more about your journey and find out if there is a way that I can help. I want to see you be the healthiest version of yourself!
Love & Healthy Habits,