Getting fit and staying slim doesn’t happen by accident, and doesn’t happen from dieting. In my twenty years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen it all, and I’ve noticed what works! The people who are able to reach their healthy weight and happily maintain it have adopted a specific set of healthy eating habits. They don’t starve themselves or follow rigid diet plans for years and years. They live by a set of habits that consistently produce successful results. We can all learn, adopt and practice these same skills.
Some of my suggestions below might challenge the norm, and might cause you to second guess what I’m saying. But that’s okay. I’m secure enough with myself, and with the research I’ve done, to know that my suggestions are well thought out and not quick fixes.
1.) Take back the word diet
Unfortunately the industry, which I have been a part of and take some responsibility for, has perpetuated a myth that a diet is a strict, regulated, black and white approach to food. There’s a right and a wrong way to do something.. or the latest and greatest diet will fix all your weight loss problems… or that you’ve failed at your diet because you haven’t had the same results as others. My eyes have been opened over the last year, and I see diet in a whole new way. And I think it’s time for us to take back the word! It’s time to pump this word with positivity and empower YOU to take control of YOUR diet. Diet is individual. There is NOT ONE that works for everyone. Even though that would be the simpler answer, I would be lying to you if I perpetuated that myth.
It’s easier for me to tell you to eat X Y and Z and you’ll lose weight! But unfortunately that is not how our bodies work.
Recent research has shown that each individual person has their own gut biome, similar to your genetic make up… and your gut biome has a HUGE impact on your body’s ability to lose weight. If your gut biome is off, your entire body is off.
This can cause weight loss resistance, imbalanced hormones, fatigue, brain fog, decreased sex drive, lack of concentration, insomnia, and more…. and it all stems to your gut.
Instead of following a diet, I would rather you take the word DIET back, and create your own. Once that works best for you! A diet that promotes gut health, because your overall health will follow.
2.) Cycle your diet
Cycle your diet, just like you cycle your workouts. Your body like homeostasis, so if you eat the same thing, every day for weeks and months and years, then homeostasis is achieved, and the body stops adapting, and therefore can stop losing weight. So cycle your diet from a little heavier (good) carb based, to more paleo, to more fruits and veggie based. Each lasting a few months or so. There’s not a right or wrong necessarily, it’s what works best for you. What I want you to take away is the fact that you should approach your diet, just like your workouts!
3.) Consider intermittent fasting
I used to preach starting your day off with fuel… However, that opinion has changed. Intermittent fasting has amazing effects on your body and could be the ticket to pushing you through your current plateau. If you’re interesting in learning more, I put some links below to some great podcasts on the subject.
4.) Drink TONS of water
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. There is no alternative for pure, fresh clean water. Drinking water keeps your body functioning, your engine running and your skin glowing. How much you ask? At least half you body weight in ounces.
5.) Eat whole organic foods
Aim for 80% of your calories to come from whole foods that are as close to nature as possible with minimal processing. I’d say 100%… but I honestly don’t think that is realistic. Eat organic as much as possible. If you can’t, don’t stress! Just do the best you can.
Take the time to know where your food is coming from. There is a direct correlation between the quality of food you put in your body and how you feel.
6.) Become a food expert
Invest a little time to know a lot. By reading labels and educating yourself, you’ll soon be able to estimate calories, serving size and other important data. Read up on nutrition and learn how your body responds to various nutritional choices. Take ownership of you health! You’re worth it!
7.) Have healthy alternatives around
If it’s not in your house, you won’t eat it. Remember this when you shop. You can change your habits almost as easily as restocking your refrigerator. When there are plenty of healthy options that support your goals readily available, you’re not going to miss the junk.
Keep the healthy foods at eye level so that they are the first things you see and are easy to grab!
8.) The kitchen is closed
Set a time in the evening to end eating. Give your body the night to recharge and rest in lieu of digesting food. Close the kitchen, and stop eating a few hours before bedtime.
9.) Be a politely picky restaurant patron
You absolutely can adapt restaurant options to support your nutritional strategies. Be extra polite, and ask for a few adaptations that will make your meal work for you.
10.) Find something other than food to cope with your feelings
Much of our eating is not hunger-based. Learn the triggers that set you to snacking. By identifying the moments when you are most likely to nibble you can find alternative productive alternatives.
We are each a work in progress and we can learn from those who have already had success in the areas we struggle in. I hope that you’ll adopt these healthy eating habits and that they will become part of your routine for maintaining a healthy, happy weight.
Don’t forget to connect with me below, by leaving me a comment!
~ Chalene XO