Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere! And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. It is the philosophy that places like Weight Watchers has turned into hundreds of millions of dollars. This theory has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.
What you eat and drink
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) finally starting to take a back seat with research on other factors that may be just as or even more important. Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but what is much much more important is what you eat.
Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and hormone health. Cause being a size 2 means shit when you feel like.... well.... shit.
Every day this is what you should aim for:
● A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. I try and eat veggies before anything else, whether I am snacking or sitting down for a full meal.
● Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
● Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, or coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here. Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.
How you eat and drink
Also pay attention to how you eat and drink. Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought. Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”. We talked a bit about this last week, in our 3 Way to Avoid Overeating At Meals.
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe. This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Of course you did! You're the smartest. We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And don't forget about drinking your food.
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. Sometimes you can lose track of how much you are packing in or what your smoothie is focused on. Five serving of fruit in one glass is too much!
Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a side snack to your sandwich (I am looking at you, Jugo Juice). And don't gulp it down too fast.
If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds which both have incredible hormone balancing benefits to boot!
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.