In case you didn’t know this about me, I also teach group exercise. As is usually the case, one of my current group participants recently asked how could she lose weight. I already know she works out optimally and amps up her time when she is in the gym, so I told her she had to eat. She said “That’s what everyone has been telling me, I know I don’t eat enough.”
How did I know this right off the bat without having to ask her any questions? I’ve seen this same scenario occur way more times than I can count, not only with my own clients but with strangers, too. What holds people back from reaching their weight loss goals is that they think less is better. They believe less food will mean less weight gain. Now true, less of the wrong foods would be better but isn’t the right answer either. When it comes to healthy foods and eating properly, don’t fool yourself, less is not better. More of the right kind of foods in a regular serving size is what it takes to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
What do I mean about the right kind of foods? Lean proteins such as beans (which contain as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak) and white meat of poultry; whole grains (the less processed, the better) for carbohydrates; and foods high in good fats like nuts, seeds, and fish, all work in combination to fuel your body. Most of us are busy; we have things to do, places to go and fun to be had… so we should want our body to run optimally. When we eat the most advantageous foods, our body can run optimally allowing our life to run smoothly.
If you don’t believe me, give it a test. Wait until you are hungry… then don’t eat. Pay attention to how happy you feel and see how much patience you have. I had a client who would say “OK, I’m coming up to the ugly stage. If I don’t eat something soon things are going to get ugly around here quick.” It was true. She would be cranky, did not have any patience and the smallest thing seemed huge to her. Being hungry and not eating has failure written all over it!
Eating the right kind of foods, tailored to your likes, gives you the building blocks for a healthy life. My mother just had her very first operation and has been eating healthy and exercising all her life. She looks about 65 and has the energy level of a 35 year old. She is 90. I kid you not. When the medical staff asked her for her date of birth and she said 1922, their eyeballs popped out. Many of the nurses, both male and female, asked what her secret is. If that isn’t evidence of how taking care of your body makes a difference, I don’t know what is.
And let’s not forget serving sizes! It doesn’t matter how healthy a food is, too much is too much. Here are some ideal serving/portion sizes:
- Meat or other protein-based part of your meal should be around the size of a deck of cards.
- The starchy part of your meal–for example the rice, potatoes, bread or grains–should roughly be the size of one tennis ball or your balled fist.
- Fruits and vegetables should fill approximately half of your plate.
- Fats and oils should be kept to a minimum, say, less than one tablespoon.
Before we go, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Just because a diet claims you will lose weight in 3 days–and that may be the case–when have you heard the statement “and the weight will stay off?” I thought so, me either. They never say that because it doesn’t. It is a quick fix that doesn’t solve the ultimate problem. The only sure-fire way I know to lose weight and keep it off is to create a healthier lifestyle where over time you make better choices and keep making those better choices. Eventually it becomes your routine, the way you eat, and your way of life.
I hope some of my tips this week help you change not only how you choose to eat but also who you choose to be when you eat-a healthier, happier you!