There’s no shortage of health information available on the internet, in the media, and from well-meaning family and friends. It’s enough to make any person who has good intentions to improve their health run for the hills, overwhelmed and without a clue where to start. So they don’t.
And you know what? Some of that information may be doing you more harm than good.
In this post I spill the beans about some common healthy eating myths and what matters just as much or even more than “how much” you eat.
Learn why “what” you eat and “how” you eat it are super-important things to consider and discover that fuelling your body so you have more energy to get you through the day doesn’t have to be hard.
OK – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!
And I bet, when you’re looking for ways to improve your energy and lose those pesky extra kg’s that you’ve come across lots of conflicting info on which way is best for you……am I right?
To get started, let’s break it down in to some simple concepts.
Everyone’s heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way a lot of attention in the past and, while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
So, 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), while still utilised for certain diets, is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Now, don’t get me wrong, limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight, but it’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. It’s kinda something that deep down, we just know isn’t going to cut it.
You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to WHAT you eat. When it comes to calories, not all foods with the same amount are created equal.
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 overall health and wellness.
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.
- 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’s 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 and 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.
When you’re eating, are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you eat on the run? Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.
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?
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.
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 snack. 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.
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.
If you haven’t grabbed it already, be sure to download my FREE eBook for some more ideas on what to eat to help you lose weight and get that spring in your step.