If you are anything like me, just looking at some foods puts weight on me. Having been not feeling well for the last eight months due to some awful respiratory thing I picked up on my last trip to New York, I find myself carrying around some added pounds. All it took was cutting back just a little bit on my usual activities and allowing myself a few treats from time to time and bam, my waist has spread like dough rising!
For most of us seeing those numbers on the scale move upward triggers an emotional response that has a huge impact on what we eat. One would think that this would get us in line to begin a new regimen of sensible eating, but it has just the opposite impact on us. Our food choices are so emotionally driven that when we are frustrated or upset, we tend to desire foods that send our Dopamine , the “feel good” neurotransmitter, supply higher. Dopamine triggers the same part of the brain that all mood altering drugs trigger to make us feel temporarily happy… but we come crashing down only to want more feel good foods to push the Dopamine up again. This sends us into that out of control eating pattern that can drive us crazy and feel really bad about ourselves.
The foods that usually drive Dopamine up are the ones with that wicked trifecta of Sugar, Oil and Salt. If you can relate to what I have just written, you are simply human and can stop beating yourself up for this roller coaster way of eating. If you can rid yourself of the emotional self-ridicule, you can begin to change this pattern and create a new set of habits that will support your reducing inflammation and weight gain. You will increase energy, reduce cravings, begin to really taste your food, and have control over how you eat and the choices you make. Do this one meal at a time, one hour at a time, and sometimes one minute at a time. When you succumb to old patterns and habits instead of beating yourself up, be mindful of what sent you into a tail spin and look at what you might be able to do differently the next time. Sounds great doesn’t it?
Let me give you just a few guidelines for beginning to eat a Whole Food Nutratarian Lifestyle. Remember you did not get into this situation overnight and so it will take you awhile to change the way in which you relate to food and eating. This is not s DIET, which is a dirty word, it is a Whole Food Nutratarian Lifestyle! The goal is to fill up on foods that are not calorie dense but pack huge nutrient content into them. The following steps are a good place to begin:
Make sure you increase your water intake to at least 8 to 10 glasses spread out during the day. If you are afraid of being kept awake at night running to the bathroom, make sure most of your water intake is in the earlier part of the day.
Throw away the salt shaker and bring your taste buds to life and you will begin to really taste the natural flavor of the foods you eat.
Limit the amount of oil you use. Instead of cooking with oil, steam, stir fry in broth, or poach your food on low temperatures for longer periods of time if necessary. Only use 1 teaspoon of oil a day on salads and get used to creating non-oil based salad dressings. You can find great recipes for these online. Oil is high in calories and is not packed with nutrients.
Eat on dessert plates instead of dinner sized plates, filling half the plate with vegetables, a quarter with some sort of WHOLE grain, and another quarter with animal protein if you must, beans and legumes would be much healthier. It is a myth that we need animal protein for complete amino acids, and if we are eating an assortment of greens and nuts we are certainly getting enough protein. Eating animal protein twice a week is fine and will give us the B12 that we need, or we can get B12 from a good quality supplement.
If you eat out, order a to go container when you order your meal and immediately put half your meal into the container for another meal. Order without sauces or extra salt or oil, most restaurants will be happy to comply.
Do not eat packaged or pre-prepared foods they are filled with salt, oil and additives that act as toxins in our bodies. Learn to make everything from scratch, it really isn’t that time consuming.
Do not use stimulants like alcohol, sugar, coffee on a regular basis, but rather as treats that you have once in awhile, perhaps once a week after you get back in a balanced nutritional state. For those of you who drink coffee daily, you will have to titrate down slowly so you do not get headaches. If you are craving sugar eat fresh fruit until the cravings go away, and they will after awhile. You can also go online and get great recipes for easy to make frozen desserts made from fruits that can satisfy your need for a “goody” you can look forward to after dinner.
Make sure you eat at least two large salads a day, and at least three different fruits each day. Adding good quality home made soups or vegetable stews to your meals will keep you full and give you lots of added fiber.
Nuts can be used in small quantities to give you those healthy oils you need and boost your protein. But remember that nuts are packed with calories, so measure them and eat no more then an ounce a day. For those of you that are very over-weight, the nuts should not be a part of your daily intake.
So, what I am really asking you to do in the above is to clean up your eating lifestyle. Make sure you allow time for these new habits to take hold, and give yourself credit for all the small changes you make along this path to a healthy Nutratarian way of eating. If at all possible be sure to eat organic fruits and vegetables and natural animal protein without added anti-biotic and hormones. Keep the body hydrated so that as you change the way in which you eat, your body will be able to detox and rid itself of the chemicals and poisons that have kept you feeling sluggish and fat.
So, take things in small steps, hold yourself accountable and be mindful of what your automatic patterns and habits are related to food. Try and remove the emotional charge from eating, learn not to eat certain foods to “Feel good” and do not beat yourself up emotionally for eating “bad” foods. You will eventually learn that eating healthy Whole Food will give you the sense of balance, great taste, healthy weight and great energy that we all want. If I can do this, so can you, all it takes is time, patience and experience.
Spring is a time of renewal and growth so go for it. If you have any questions or feel you need some guidance and support please go to the following link and contact Barbara Bloom at Bloom Inside Out: http://www.bloominsdieout.com. Both personal one on one appointments or telephone appointments are available.
Happy Spring everyone!