In our home, Diet is a four-letter word! No one should ever go on a diet. All this means is that temporarily you’re going to restrict your calories, and probably spend the allotted time eating foods you don’t really care for, or more likely, depriving yourself of foods you enjoy. Either way, when the diet is over, i.e., you’ve lost the scale weight you sought (see http://lifefitnessbydane.com/2014/01/07/the-science-of-the-scale), you will resume for your former way of eating and probably gain the weight back, often gaining even more. Hence my perspective that dieting is your enemy.
Now then, if you view your daily intake of food as your nutrition then you are automatically set up to look at food as a daily requirement, and one that if handled with a few key ideals, will keep your organs and body composition at healthy levels, and allow you to enjoy all the joy cuisine can offer. In other words: Nutrition is your friend!
Whether you’re an “eat everything carnivore”, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or “fish&fowl follower” (my term since I eat no beef, pork or lamb), you can eat clean (little to no preservatives or processed foods) and healthy quite easily and cost-effectively if you plan well, and embrace your nutrition (not begrudge it).
Here’s a few simple steps that you can follow:
1. Pick one day a week where you grocery shop. Pre-plan your meals and create a specific shopping list. There are web sites and pinterest pins galore to help you figure out quick, easy, affordable meals.
2. Pick one day a week (I suggest Sunday) to do food prep. Get out the crock-pot and make a meal that will last a few days. Make breakfast egg-white burritos, and then freeze several of them for defrosting and eating on the go. Get the kids involved in planning and preparing lunches – pre-bag veggies and fruits, etc. Fill grab ‘n go ziplock bags or tupperware with healthy snacks for the entire family, then keep them in the pantry or fridge.
3. Make sure you always have a few key staples on hand: eggs, black beans, garbanzo beans and/or lentils (canned or dried that can be easily reconstituted in a crock pot), quinoa, fat-free low-sodium chicken and/or veggie stock, extra virgin olive oil, all natural peanut or almond butter, apples, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and/or sweet potatoes/yams, almonds, dates, and dried oats. I can make an awesome breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack with any/all of these ingredients in about 20 minutes time – with practice so can you.
4. Keep your meals simple, lean proteins and veggies. If you need to increase substance to a meal add quinoa or brown rice.
5. Be consistent – eat small meals 5-6 times a day, always. Your body will thank you and the results will give you more motivation. I had a client who followed my meal plan for about 10 days before we were able to begin his workouts. Just eating differently caused him to lose 16 pounds!
6. Never refer to having a cheating when eating. Cheating implies you’re doing something wrong. Choose 1-2 days a week where you enjoy an indulgent sweet treat or alcohol or cheese & crackers – whatever is your go-to or comfort craving. Deprivation is the quickest way to over-indulgence!
7. Last but not least, remember moderation is key. Don’t over do any food or beverage whether healthy or not. I had a client who actually ate so many carrots and took carotene supplements that his hands turned orange. Imaging what his liver was doing. Likewise, watch the documentary Super Size Me if you want to see what too much fast food and soda does to your inside.