I am often asked by clients how they should eat to lose weight. Since I am not a certified dietitian or nutritionist, I feel it is most important to give them ideas that they can live with (for their whole life!).
I truly believe that food doesn’t have to be so darn complicated. In fact, I apply this belief to my own diet all of the time. I don’t have a pie chart that shows a specific balance of proteins, carbs and fats. I also rarely count calories. Instead, one of the best ways I can describe my food philosophy is that I use the principle of “Adding in Nutrition.”
Instead of depriving myself a cookie from time to time or swearing to myself that I won’t eat carbs ever again (because that is just crazy!), I like to think about adding in nutrient-dense foods at each and every meal.
Here’s how: Look at your diet and see how you can add in fruits, veggies and whole grains. If you add these to your diet, you will naturally crave fewer of the ‘less-than healthy’ stuff over time and make positive changes to your diet.
That’s right, forget about depriving yourself! No one can eat healthy all of the time. However, we can add in more health with every fork-full of food! If you know that you want that cookie, eat an extra banana at dinner first. That way, you won’t end up eating two cookies! When your body feels “nutrient-full,” those cravings will stop faster.
Here are more ways to “add in” nutrition:
1) Make a goal of having a fruit or veggie at every meal before you eat the main entree. Eat a salad before eating a hamburger. Sip on veggie soup before you indulge in a pasta meal. Have some fruit before you eat breakfast. These foods will fill you up so that you won’t eat as much of the calorie-dense foods.
2) Replace a “once in a while” food with a healthy, nutrient-dense alternative you can live with “most of the time.” For example, I love black bean burgers. I love them so much that I can almost always eat them instead of hamburgers. However, I still like hamburgers too. This means that my “once in a while” food is eaten just a little less often! Now, I probably only eat hamburgers a few times a year.
3) Use fruits as a snack between meals. I love to buy tons of bananas. They are my “go to” snack when I am hungry between meals. They are nutrient dense and fill me up so that I don’t run for a vending machine snack! You can try this same idea with apples or avocados!
4) Add some H2O! No, water doesn’t have nutrients, but it helps to flush all the toxins away that you keep on eating! I love to add in water whenever I can. In fact, I now always have two large water glasses each morning before I eat my breakfast and coffee. This helps me stay hydrated and feel full before I have even eaten!
Try a few new additions to your diet and see if this idea works for you!