As far as health and nutrition goes- I put people into 2 categories.
- People who fail as a result of lack of knowledge
- And, people that fail as a result of their mental state
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the industry- the marketing behind foods, the contradicting theories and the numerous diets that exist amongst other things- it can get tricky. Unfortunately, it is so easy to sell people the quick fix. People want to believe they can make changes overnight and easily. Why wouldn’t the marketing guru’s use this weakness and jump on the bandwagon in aid of making a few $$ by playing on peoples emotional appeal? There is NO quick fix. Any quick fix is most likely playing havoc with your health, your metabolism and probably your mental state. This book isn’t a quick fix (depending upon how far you have to go) it is a way of life. It is a tool for understanding nutrition, exercise and yourself and if you follow each section of this book, you will be kicking goals in all areas of your life. The journey and change of lifestyle will sustainable, rewarding and even fun!
I am however going to keep this post as clean and simple as possible. I am not going to go into the science side of things and into too much depth- at the end of the day, what you should be eating and doing in terms of what you put into your body is really just common sense.
Eat pure and natural
I want you to think back… back to when we didn’t have factories and processing chains and big marketing that exist to fill your mind and body with garbage. Fake artificial sugars didn’t exist, processed grains that have had all the goodness removed didn’t exist, fast food chains didn’t exist (yes we are talking WAY back) and people grew their own produce…. And this is only naming a few scenarios. People ate what their bodies were designed to eat. Obesity was not a problem. Now it is an epidemic and a growing problem.
Let’s start by making the decision to eat as pure and natural as possible. I want you to focus on eating foods that are in their whole natural state. This includes foods that are from the ground or picked off a tree and foods which aren’t altered, processed or pre-packaged. Foods that are packaged should be packaged with very few other things – of which should be familiar to you. For example, a good quality brand of muesli may consist of oats, almonds, buckwheat, cinnamon, sunflower seeds and goji berries. This is great. Because we know what all of these ingredients are. Moving forward from this very moment if you are craving something sweet- eat fruit. Don’t drink a diet soft drink or something loaded with artificial sugars claiming to be free of carbohydrate. Your body does not even recognise this sort of garbage and it is not helping you achieve overall wellness. If you give your body the right nutrition you will not need to fill your body with garbage to subside cravings.
Most supermarkets these days have organic versions of foods. Otherwise you should be able to find an organic food supermarket nearby. If not, there are organic delivery services you could use. Aim to go organic or mostly organic wherever possible and providing your budget allows (It is more expensive). Organic foods are much higher in nutrients, are grown in better environments, are free of genetic modification and are not artificially ripened. This probably all sounds pretty scary- and it is. Do more research if you feel necessary, but because we want clean highly functional bodies we want them free of the nasties and full of the goodies. This means aiming to eat organic food.
Food is an energy source. Nothing more, nothing less
We are also going to start perceiving food as an energy source. That’s all it is. Fuel for your body. Food is not to entertain you when are bored. Nor, is it to comfort you when are you sad. Or, take your mind off stress. If you eat for the wrong reasons start to change this habit now. If you are bored, read a book (re reading the first section of this book will help) or take a bath. If you are feeling down or stressed go for a jog and get an endorphin release. Dance on your bed to Tina Turner. Call her friend. There are plenty of things you can do that aren’t going to make you put on weight and then feeling more down or stressed because now your clothes don’t fit.
The self-confessed ‘sweet tooth’
If you crave sugar and you are one of these people who reach straight for a chocolate bar or a bag of lollies, I can guarantee there is a better reason for it than simply ‘needing energy’. People claim to be a sweet tooth (as if it’s something they genetically inherited). The only reason people have a ‘sweet tooth’ is because a) they aren’t giving their body enough of the right foods and b) because they are giving their body too much of the wrong foods. If you’re already thinking this is going to be hard because you are one of those people constantly fighting the urge to eat junk, that is only because that is what you keep doing! Feeding your body junk! As a result your body keeps craving those foods. You are setting yourself up to fail. Remove these foods from your diet and your body will stop requesting them. Give your body what it needs nutritionally and you will start to crave the right foods.
Then there are the emotional repercussions that come with making poor food choices. Have you ever noticed that when you are being healthy and looking after yourself you bounce out of bed in the mornings, you feel happier, you are more productive at work and you find it much easier to keep eating healthy? That’s people when you are putting good things into your body and looking after your body it directly affects your mental state. When you eat crap, you feel like crap and when you feel like crap you simply crave more crap! It is a negative cycle. No one wants to live their life this way. Stop now. Take control.
When you follow a clean healthy clean diet and you look after yourself physically and mentally, your body will return to alkaline state (a healthy Ph level) and your body will start to crave real food – food that is high in the particular nutrient it is after. You start to tune into your body. You will still get cravings so to speak, but they will be a genuine request – your body asking for something it needs more of. For example, if you’re craving Oranges your body may want a dose of Vitamin C. There may be times you are craving sugar because your body is needing more energy than you are giving it- have a healthy, nutritious high energy snack. Listen to your body. This is the beauty of being healthy and being in a good head space. Things become clear and everything functions efficiently and accordingly. Our bodies are very intelligent- it will tell you what it needs.
It is also important to pay attention to is the foods that your body doesn’t like- even foods that are good for us. Not everyone’s bodies respond to the same foods and the same way of eating. You need to start eating the right foods for your body so that your meals get broken down and digested easily and the energy and nutrients from the food get absorbed and utilized by your body efficiently. If you are eating the right foods you will feel energised and satisfied after a meal. If you are one of these people who suffer- lethargy, bloating, gas, indigestion, head-aches and other complaints you need to start paying attention to your diet. Keep a food diary for 2 weeks. Write down everything you eat and drink for 2 weeks as you eat it. Throughout this diary make notes on how you are feeling. For example, if you eat something and you instantly feel like you need to sleep then note that down. You have the first food you should be staying away from. An example of this for me is bananas. Although a fruit and considered a healthy food every time I eat a banana I get a stomach ache. I am doubled over with pain. This tells me that my body doesn’t like bananas so I stay away from them.
If only, all the people walking around complaining of indigestion, bloating, lethargy, head-aches and other complaints realized that changing their diet instead of depending on pain killers and so forth could actually change their life. It has got to the point where people think it is normal to suffer from these things, and they think it is some sort of genetic gift they inherited. They don’t even know how amazing they could actually feel. Then, there are the people who have a poor diet but don’t necessarily suffer from any of these ailments and say that they feel great. I bet they could feel a lot better. They don’t realise it, because they have probably never experienced it. Well you my friend are going to experience it!
Red meat, wheat and dairy
The foods that are most commonly causing these health complaints are: wheat, red meat and dairy. Peoples digestive systems are not designed to break down these food groups in the quantities most Australians consume. Please keep your diet as free or as minimal of these foods as possible, and if you have problems when eating any of these food groups stay off them completely. I will list variations to the foods below. It is not hard to keep your diet free of these foods and you may feel much better for doing so.
Have you ever noticed that all the stuff you should be eating is generally around the outside of the supermarket? From now on, unless you need toiletries or cleaning products please stick to the outside of the supermarket (with the odd exception)
When choosing your food from the supermarket you must check the ingredients list for added sugar. Examples are: Cane sugar, brown sugar, sugar, sucrose and fructose. Anything ending in ‘ose’ or containing the actual word sugar or syrup, are types of added sugar or in the case of syrup contain added sugar. Obesity rates would be a lot lower if Australians just started paying attention to all the added sugars they were consuming in their foods. Sugar is addictive! It is like a drug. As a general rule of thumb always look at the ingredients list and aim to know everything on that list.
We Australians eat way too much food. Often way more than our bodies require. Unless you’re an athlete or extremely active start cutting down the amount of food you eat. Your body adapts to the amount of food you give it. It may be hard to cut down your serving sizes for the first couple of weeks or more but your body will adapt to your new serving sizes. Below I have listed food groups according to their serving sizes.
Full fat versus low fat:
Low fat versions are often not the answer. They are loaded with sugar and other ingredients to add to the taste sensation instead. Based on what your diet is going to be based around you shouldn’t need to make this choice too often but when you do need to make the choice, choose the full fat version. It is far better for you.
Please avoid alcohol, normal tea and coffee as these are toxic and de-hydrating substances. Refrain from drinking anything other than water, fresh juices and herbal teas. If you need a caffeine hit drink a good quality green tea as it is high in anti-oxidants, will stimulate your metabolism and even suppress your appetite. Every single cell and organ in your body requires water to function optimally. Dehydration, even mild will make you feel fatigued, cause your metabolism to slow down, zap you of energy, make you feel hungry and these are just some of the effects. This is not hard to achieve. Drink 2-3 liters of water every day. It is vital that you ALWAYS start the day with water. After 8 hours sleep, your body needs to be re hydrated. Please aim to drink filtered water.
Have a bowl of steamed vegetables with your dinner every night and as many as possible throughout the day. Do not cook your vegetables for more than 2 minutes as the longer you cook them the more nutrients you lose. Add green vegetables to as many meals as you can- in fact aim to eat meals that you can add green vegetables to. . Try to snack on raw vegetables throughout the day. I wash a bunch of broccolini and eat it raw throughout the day, every day. Green vegetables are extremely high in nutrients. If people ate enough green leafy vegetables then there would be no market for multi-vitamins. They will increase your energy levels, support your immune system and help you to burn fat. You can eat as much of them as you like and you would not put on weight, you would lose weight
Excess salt will only clog you’re arteries, make you restore fluid and gain that ‘puffy’ look along with the other commonly known health issues and eventually chronic diseases. You should not consume more than 4g of salt per day and aiming to keep it under 6g per day (approximately 1 ½ tea spoons). Remember some of the foods you eat will have salt added to them. Based on what you consume in day, work out whether you should be adding it to your meals at all.
Let’s get small and regular
Start aiming to eat small regular meals (every 2-3 hours). This will help prevent overeating, balance blood sugar levels, boost energy levels and keep your metabolism ticking away.
Adopt food preparation strategies that allow you to consistently get the nutrition you need, when you need it. It is important that you know what you are eating so this means preparing your own meals and packing your own snacks so that you are prepared when hunger hits. Otherwise one of two things will happen- you will reach for the biscuit jar in the office kitchen or you will hold out, get home starving and over eat. Sit down and ask yourself what will it take to make this happen? Start doing a big grocery shop on the weekend? Get a box of organic fruit and vegetables delivered once per week? Starting to allow time in the morning or evening to prepare your meals for the day or next day? Writing down your meals for the week? Whatever, it might be for you note it down and make it happen. As with any lifestyle change it may take a week or two to get used to, and then it will be just like brushing your teeth. Plus, have I mentioned how much more productive and efficient you are when you are looking after yourself?
You know all those bottled jars and sauces you have in your pantry that you use to flavor your meals? It’s time to throw them out. They are loaded with sugar! Even soya sauce- Throw it out! There will be some approved sauces and jarred foods found below that don’t contain nasty ingredients but not many! Start using natural flavorings (fresh herbs and spices to flavor your food). Did you know when you get a take away meal that you consider healthy- let’s say you go to a Thai restaurant and you order a scallop and vegetable stir fry and you opt not to have the rice. Well done for trying! But unfortunately, the oil they use and the sugar in the flavoring they use in this stir fry will make it not so healthy. This is why you need to start preparing your own meals. If you do however, go out for dinner this would definitely be one of the healthier options (maybe just ask for minimal oil), but gone are the days of relying on take away meals as part of your regular diet.
Eat a wide variety of health foods
Your body likes variety. This ensures we get all our vitamins and minerals and maintain optimal health. When you make a salad make it as colorful as possible. Swap your fruit servings on a daily basis. Eat lots of different vegetables. Swap your raw nuts around each day or week. Swap between chicken fish and turkey for dinner. How fun!
Eat your breakfast!
Surely I don’t need to tell you this? Some of my clients argue with me and tell me that it makes them feel sick. I laugh at them. The only reason you would feel sick from eating breakfast is if you eat mouldy food, or your body isn’t used to having breakfast. I’d say it is the latter. Unless you want a sluggish metabolism and therefore more struggle in terms of keeping the weight off (and you are only encouraging it to slow down even more with time) I suggest you start eating breakfast. This will come after 2 big glasses of filtered water and your exercise.
Don’t drink your calories
If you are thirsty, your body is asking for hydration and the best way to hydrate is by drinking pure fresh still water. Do not drink juices, soft drink, cordial, nutrient waters or anything else because you are just giving your body extra calories in the form of sugar. On average, these flavored waters you can buy these days have between 10-20gms of sugar. You may as well have 1-2 pieces of toast and classify it as a meal. If you drink fresh juices (this must be classified as a meal) and herbal teas this is fine, but otherwise eat your healthy food and drink your water.
You are allowed to put the bad stuff into your body sometimes! Yes, you are allowed to drink alcohol here and there. Yes, you can have some cake if you feel like. Balance is the key. Do not go overboard with your portions or you will watch the weight slowly creep back on. Have a row of chocolate. Share a dessert. Be normal. If you are going overboard you are putting all your hard work to waste. If you are on a maintenance diet (at your ideal weight) then you can afford to do it more often (say 1-2 x per week). If you have some more weight to lose you are looking at once per fortnight if at all. Remember, if you are eating junk food then when you exercise you are only burning the calories you are eating not the existing fat that you want to lose. High fat, high sugar foods hang around in your body for days allowing your body to keep leeching calories off it. You are not burning any fat and doing this too often leads to weight gain and fast! Just remember the mars bar- it takes 20-30 minutes jogging to burn off a mars bar dependent on the intensity of the run and the individual’s metabolic rate. Once, you stop putting these foods into your body you will stop craving them. There is a good chance you will not feel the need to eat them at all.
If you do choose to have a day, or a period of bad eating every so often that is fine but be prepared for the repercussions. As discussed earlier your body will crave what you feed it. If you eat chocolate on Sunday night then Monday you will be craving chocolate and other similar high fat/high sugar foods all day. And then Tuesday you will again be having the same cravings. It will very hard to stick to regular, healthy eating for a these days. Based on my own experiences and the experiences of my clients it will take 2-3 days of clean eating again before your cravings will subside and you will find it easy to stick to healthy eating again. Get through it and avoid the cycle of bad eating, knowing that in 2-3 days you will be back in the zone and feeling amazing again.
The wine drinker
I’ve seen so many clients lose weight when they finally listen to me and cut out their one glass of wine in the evenings. Seemingly, women can find it impossible to lose weight until they do cut out their alcohol. Despite how much they are training and exercising. Regardless, of the so called health benefits (isn’t fruit a better way to get your anti-oxidants?) our bodies aren’t made to metabolize alcohol. If you need a stress relief well go for a walk.
Always cook with good quality oils. We want the oils that are high in goods fats and low in bad fats. My favorites – cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and almond oil. Please note that if you do use oil in cooking you must classify this as one serving of good fats for the day (as outlined later).
Controlling the ego
One of the main reasons people fail to lose weight is that the ego kicks in. That little voice starts playing in your head (usually when you are feeling vulnerable!) saying things like ‘you may as well eat chocolate you are fat anyway’ or, maybe you have a critical moment in the mirror (positive thoughts only!) and you hear ‘see you are fat anyway, you may as well just eat crap’. Please remember 2 things- The difference between you and your best friend who is her ideal weight is most likely, that she has learnt to drown her ego out.
Secondly, don’t ever listen to your ego. Anyone can achieve physical transformation ANYONE- including you! Accept that this is your ego talking, take 3 deep conscious breaths, envision yourself looking amazing, look in the mirror and say ‘I love you’ and move on. I can guarantee any desire to go off track with your healthy lifestyle will be gone and your ego will be thinking ‘Wow- she didn’t listen to me’. The more you ignore your ego, the less it will speak. Keep going with it, and you won’t hear these remarks from your ego at all.
Also remember, that yes losing weight and seeing your body transform is important but do not focus on this being your only driving force to live this lifestyle. There are a trillions reasons right? You are more productive, you have a clear mind, you feel amazing, you have lots of energy, you are not grumpy, lethargic, you are sleeping better, you aren’t getting head-aches, people love being around you, your kids are loving you, you are getting fitter, you are going to live longer – do I need to go on? Your ego can’t argue with all of these reasons. Your ego is smart. It will play on your emotional appeal. Laugh at him. There is so much more to life.
There is no need to eat after dinner. Food is an energy source and you do not need any more energy for the day. Plus your digestive system likes to have its job done 2 hours before bed time. Settle in with a pot of chamomile tea and brush your teeth to avoid temptation and to signal that you have finished eating for the day.