1. Eat 5 SMALL Balanced Meals a Day
Eating small meals more frequently throughout the day prevents your body from reaching starvation mode. If your body thinks it is starving, it will conserve more food as fat the next time you eat. This is obviously not a good thing, so don't skip meals, even if you don't feel hungry!
Make sure each of your meals consists of the following:
♦ Healthy fats
♦ Non-starchy vegetables
♦ Real carbohydrates
These four food groups provide your body with everything it needs at each meal. Proteins and fats are essential to the body for building the chemicals (hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters) needed to survive. Non-starchy vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fiber, and carbohydrates act as "fuel" or energy for the body.
Eat real food that you could, in theory, pick, gather, milk, hunt or fish.
-Dr. Diana Schwarzbein2. Watch Your Carbs
All foods should be eaten in moderation. However, it can be easy to lose track of how many carbs you are consuming. Therefore, I am keeping track of my carbohydrate consumption at each meal.
The reason why I'm "watching" my carbs is because all excess carbs that your body doesn't use gets turned into simple sugars...which then turns to fat. It does feel a little like "counting" calories at first, but you get to know your carb contents of food pretty quickly and it becomes very easy!
The following is a "Guideline for Carbohydrate Consumption" chart based on your activity level. I got this chart (as well as a lot of my nutrition plan ideas) from "The Schwarzbein Principle", by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein.
I am in the "Active" category for a normal body composition, so I can consume three meals a day containing 30-60 carbs per meal, and two snacks a day containing 0-30 carbs per snack.
Keep in mind that starchy vegetables are considered carbs like squash, cooked carrots, corn etc. Carbs can also be "hidden" in some proteins like nuts, yogurt, etc. Just double check the carb content before you eat something.
Eat REAL carbohydrates (ones that can be grown, picked or harvested) and try to avoid man-made carbohydrates whenever possible.
Don't eat carbs by themselves. It is important to eat a protein/fat with them to slow the sugars down in your body.
Some of My Favorite Carbs:
Whole Plain Greek Yogurt
Homemade Oat Bran muffins (Sweetened with Honey)
Ezekiel Bread and English Muffins
Whole Grain cereal (with no added sugar)
Whole Grain Pretzels and Crackers
3. Limit Your Dairy
Dairy has nutritional value and contains proteins and healthy fats. Just eat it sparingly.
AVOID: highly processed cheeses (like American cheese)
4. Eat Protein
Eat protein with every meal. Keep the portion size of protein to about the same size as your fist. Make sure the meats you are buying are hormone-free and organic!
Chicken and Turkey Products
All Fish and Shellfish
Nuts, Nut Butters, and Seeds (note carb content)
Legumes and Beans (note carb content)
Beef and Steak (Grass fed... and eat only once in a while)
AVOID: Pork products
5. Include Healthy Fats
FATS don't make you FAT. Healthy, non-damaged fats are essential for good brain function, making some hormones, and sustaining your cells. You usually don't have to "add" them to your meals because they are usually naturally within your protein.
Fats help slow down the sugars in your meals so that the sugars are less absorbed in your body.
6. Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables
Here is a list of some Non-Starchy vegetables. Eat as many of these as you want! (Eat starchy vegetables too, those just have to be considered carbs).
Beans (green, wax, Italian)
Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
Sugar snap peas
7. Drink Only Water and Lots of It!
This is pretty self-explanatory. I don't drink milk, juice, soda, or alcohol, which all have high carb/sugar contents. I drink only water.
The reason why I don't drink milk is because it contains a huge amount of the hidden sugar, Lactose. If I do have milk (like in my cereal), I use whole milk, because the fats in whole milk slow down the the absorption of sugar in the body. Skim milk has no fat in it to slow the sugar down, so the sugar is quickly absobed in your body and that leads to fat buildup in your body.
Remember, fat doesn't make you fat, excess sugar and carbs do.
8. AVOID These Foods
I think most of the foods that should be avoided are common sense, but here is a list:
Sugars and Desserts
Processed Snack Foods and Breads
Condiments and Dressings that Contain Sugar and Chemical Additives
Foods that contain Damaged Fats
Highly Processed Meat and Sausages (like pepperoni, salami, and bologna)
9. Treat Yourself Occasionaly
I personally cannot live my entire life without a sweet once and a while. I don't think too many people can, so don't deprive yourself! Let yourself have that occasional dessert! Just don't indulge =)
10. Don't Punish Yourself
Everyone has a bad day...bad week...or even a bad month...especially me. Don't let these times of messing up your healthy diet let you down. Don't feel the need to punish yourself by continuing to abuse your body with unhealthy food. Its okay! It's never too late to get back on track! Start eating healthy again right at THIS moment. Don't push it off any longer! You deserve to live a healthy life. Respect yourself and learn to love the body God has blessed you with. When you learn to respect and love who God created you to be, you are so much more inclined to feed your body the right foods and truly take care of yourself.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me!