I often hear complaints from new clients about their lack of results when it comes to losing weight. They are diligently monitoring their food intake, but they’re either not losing the weight they desire, or have reached a plateau. Eating for weight loss is about more than calories. It is a philosophy, a mindset, and set of techniques. Your relationship to food and the way you eat both play a big part in optimizing your weight and health goals.
Here are my five top tips for healthy eating, weight loss and overall wellness. These strategies have worked wonders with my clients.
1. Make sure you are hungry.
I know this might sound a little obvious, but so much of the time we eat because we are bored, overly emotional, or stressed. Take a few movements to check in with yourself and see if you really need to nourish your body…OR your soul. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Is there something missing in my life that I am trying to substitute with food?
- Am I eating in response to a stressful situation?
- How am I feeling emotionally right at this moment?
2. Avoid foods that are processed and full of chemicals and additives
Not all food is created equal, especially if it is made in a lab. The fewer ingredients a food has, the better it is for your health and longevity. Chemicals and additives can not only make losing weight nearly impossible, they affect your brain, nervous system, hormones and digestion, not to mention that they can keep you addicted to certain foods. As a general rule, choose whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
3. Give your digestive system a break.
Digesting food is hard work for your body and an inadequate digestive system can lead to poor nutrient absorption, bloating and gas, and can make you look heavier then you really are. Help your system by:
- Chewing your food more – at least 25-45 times, until there are no lumpy bits left in your food. You want your food to have a paste-like consistency.
- Do not eat when you are anxious, stressed or emotional. Food will not properly digest if your body is in stress mode.
- Take a few deep breaths before you take your first bite.
- Make sure you do not eat in front of the TV or computer or in the presence of other distractions.
- Drink a glass of water with 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the morning to aid in digestion and to help cleanse the liver.
4. Eat foods that you enjoy.
There is a lot of information out there on the types of food you “should” be eating for optimal health. But, the reality is that you are not going to like the taste of all of them. Do not force yourself to eat foods that you do not like, just because you are told that they are good for you. There are many different varieties of foods available that are extremely healthy, so experiment until you find out which ones you like the best — and stick to them. You will be happier and more likely to make incorporate them into your diet.
5. Reduce stress.
Chronic stress can keep your stress hormone cortisol at a continuously high level in your body. This can cause the body to store visceral fat deep in the abdomen where it is hard to get rid of. Some ways to reduce stress are to get outside for a walk in nature, write in a journal, meditate, participate in your favorite hobby, do yoga, call a friend, watch a comedy show or movie, or have sex. Above all, do an activity that brings you pleasure and calms you down, and also make a note of what your stress triggers are so that you can actively manage or get rid of them.