My Favorite Nutrition Tips
Throughout the week I spend a lot of time “writing” my articles in my head. I’ll hear certain comments or have a conversation that makes me think now that’s what I should address next! With this approach, I work on two or three articles at a time (again, in my head) and then I have no idea which topic will actually surface when I sit down to write for the week.
Today I’m inspired to write about the beginning of my journey with the entire focus on nutrition. When I hovered well over 200 lbs and finally decided to shift my reality, the only adjustments I made were related to the quantity and quality of my nutritional intake. As mentioned before, this resulted in the first significant drop in weight that motivated me to turn my entire life around and keep on going. Remember, we’re all experiencing our challenges at different levels, so consider where you are now before jumping into or even overlooking the potential of any of the following tips and see where your own nutritional journey can take you and your family.
Eat your Fruits and Vegetables and Eat Them FIRST. Everyone knows eating fewer calories is a good idea. It’s simple math to take in less calories than you burn each day if your goal is to lose weight. An easy way to do that without having to count calories (which can be highly overwhelming and is very unlikely to maintain on a regular basis) is to always have fruits and vegetables with every meal and make sure to have them first! Rearranging your approach like this helps you fill up on more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water and fiber, before ever getting to the rest of your meal. Food with greater nutritional value is naturally lower in calories and (even better!) it takes WAY less calories to make you feel fuller, longer. The more you eat foods that nourish you, the more you and your body will crave them. Not a fan of the raw versions? Play with cooking them in different ways, in various recipes or even try them juiced. No matter how you get them in, let that be your primary goal and as you create better long-term habits and see results, you’ll be ready to work towards even greater achievements!
Reconsider Your Concept of the Value of Food. For those who still consider “fast food”, “junk food” or anything you can order through a drive-thru food at all, it might be time to reevaluate what you’re actually paying for. People think they get a bargain with the cheap prices of combo meals at fast food joints or even the buffets that offer unlimited intake at a low cost but what are you actually getting for your dollar at these places? You know that you need carbohydrates for fuel and protein to stabilize your metabolism, protect and build muscle. You know you need healthy fats to burn fat. So, as far as nourishment goes, we find it in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts, healthy oils, etc., etc. which is not typically found in the “value meals” described earlier. What you are paying for is lots and LOTS of saturated fats and sugars, both of which are heavily loaded in EMPTY calories and are the few things your body can (and should in large doses!) actually live without! It’s a simple and undeniable truth that there IS NO value in that at all.
Learn to identify the breakdown of nourishment a meal or snack offers you and let that be your guide to making food choices for yourself and your family. Keeping a mental checklist of the types of food you actually need will help you see food differently and also appreciate the true value of a meal.
Indulge with Purpose and Keep It In Check. We just talked about the fact that saturated fats and sugars are a non-necessity when it comes to food and the nourishment of our bodies so why do we have them at all? Simply put, they’re cheap and they can help add a little flavor—it’s the OVER indulgence of these types of foods that get people in trouble. Keep in mind, the danger is not just in excess pounds and inches, but in extremely dangerous health issues and the snowball effect of the more you eat junk the more you crave it. I’ve never been a fan of deprivation because with my background it’s too easy to slip into a binge if I try to avoid things completely. Instead, my regular habits on a daily basis are for the most part very clean. Throughout the week or weekend, though, there may be an opportunity to indulge in a sort of special-case scenario and so I do. Whether it’s a rare meeting of friends or an occasional get-together, happy hour, dinner date or some other type of celebration, I don’t think twice about it anymore but I DO make sure to balance them out later.
Don’t over-think it when you decide to eat something but do be honest with yourself. You know what foods you need and you know what you could live without. Obsessing over every detail of every meal will only frustrate you in the end. Also, when you eat clean and avoid junk the majority of the time you’ll be able to enjoy those special indulgences even more!
Natural is Always Better. There’s a pretty consistent theme in tips for proper nutrition and always opting for whole, natural sources of food has been my favorite now that I can appreciate the difference. As I learned to identify better quality foods and minimized artificial sugars, additives, preservatives and especially anything overly processed, my taste for food changed right along with it. Reading the lists of ingredients and looking for those that are shorter and include the most natural sources is a quick and easy habit to adopt.
Consider this—food that comes from natural sources breaks down much easier in nature and, as such, is much easier for your own body to digest. It is simple nature and biology! Think about that overly processed cheese or any food highly saturated in fat. What happens to it when it sits out too long? The cheese that was once melted and gooey quickly hardens as it cools just as heavy animal fat does. Now think about that happening inside your body, slowly moving through your systems and building up the more you eat this way. On the flip-side, the more clean, whole and natural foods you eat the more you help your body along with the process of its natural functioning. As a result, you take in fewer calories and eat more nutrient-rich foods, without even really trying.
I love simple approaches to eating well and nourishing the body. There are SO many wonderful ways to incorporate some really great stuff! Once we take on the mindset of the value and appreciation of really good quality food we change our lives for the better. Don’t keep these secrets to yourself, though! We all have loved ones who will benefit from learning about food in this way. Whether you teach your family these tools to help you remember them too, or if you’re helping along the next generation to keep your family healthy, sharing these tips every day can be the BEST way to show yourself and your family love.
With my love,