Friday, January 22, 2016

Managing a Healthy Weight, Part II

If you missed Part I, start here. If you're back for more, thank you for reading and I hope my 10 tips are helpful for your personal journey to health!


Ten Tips for Managing a Healthy Weight

Tip #01
Be mindful of empty calories; they count!
For sautéing, use a low sodium vegetable broth instead of oil. Save your fat calories for something you will actually realize you’re eating, and enjoy more! Think avocado, nut butters, and coconut milk. Plus, whole food fats offer more nutrition and fiber which help keep you fuller longer and are more health promoting!

Tip #02

Don't weigh every day, but weekly can be helpful.
Weighing every day can lead to obsessive thinking and can drive your focus more on to numbers rather than health. Weekly weigh ins are a great measure of success but are not the ultimate measure. How you feel, how you fit into your clothes, your blood work, your mood and your energy level are all important markers for health.

Tip #03

Write it down.
Tracking what you eat whether on paper or online can help keep you accountable. It can also help you realize how many calories are in unexpected foods, shine a light on any possible deficiencies, realize how many fruits and vegetables you’re eating on a typical day, and can just generally help you fine tune your diet to serve you best.

Tip #04

Learn how to make a proper salad.
Here's the equation: Green, nutrient-rich lettuce + protein (beans, nuts, fish, meat) + healthy fats (cold-pressed oils, avocado, nuts & seeds) + slow carbohydrates (whole grains, beans, legumes, squash, sweet potato). 
One of the biggest problems I hear from people is that “salads don’t fill me up”. I believe that people are just uneducated on how to build a proper, nutrient rich salad. When done correctly, a salad should keep you full for hours. Try making your own dressing from raw nuts to pack in extra nutrition. (Nuts are more filling than oils).

Tip #05
Don't stress about the numbers, focus on health!
Try not to get too tied down by tracking in your food journal, weighing yourself or counting calories and fat grams. There is definitely science involved in weight loss, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. When you stress yourself out with numbers, you aren’t looking at the big picture and risk sabotaging yourself by overthinking.

Tip #06

Be honest with yourself. 
What makes it difficult for you to control your eating and lose weight? Try to think about how ready you are to make changes. There is a series of steps used to measure people's willingness to change behaviors called the Stages of Change. 
They are: Pre-contemplation (Not even aware that a problem exists) Contemplation (Not quite ready) Preparation (I will soon) Action (Real behavior change) Maintenance (Continuation of changes) Termination (the ultimate goal) or Relapse
Sometimes people are just not ready to change, and until they are, they will not accomplish lasting behavior change. So, be honest. If you're not ready, think about why that is and how you can get there. Otherwise, you're just going to start a cycle of self-doubt and failure, which are not conducive to success!

Tip#07

Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. If something  doesn’t sit quite right, listen to your body.
I am always surprised by how many people say that certain foods make them feel bad but they continue to eat them. If you are one of those people that never feels great, or find you feel sluggish after eating, you don’t have to! Your body is made to feel amazing, not just "okay". Take a look at what you’re eating; sometimes just a little tweak in your diet can make a huge change in your health. It's all about experimenting and finding what works for you. Common problematic foods include dairy, gluten, eggs, processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Eat for the health you want, it’s that simple.

Tip #08

Focus on fiber.
Fiber is amazing! The Dietary Reference Intake for fiber is 25 - 30 g per day. Many people do not meet this goal. Fiber is so important for health in a wide variety of ways. Digestive health, heart health and satiety are all pros of consuming adequate fiber. Cultures with low rates of disease and noted longevity have been documented to consume upwards of 60 g daily! It can take a while for your body to get used to high amounts of fiber, so increase gradually. But don’t be afraid to fill up on fiber! Some high fiber food are:

Raspberries, with 8 grams per cup
Collard greens, with 4 grams per cup
Black beans, with 15 g per cup
Chickpeas, with 12 g per cup

Tip #09

Measure.
Try measuring high calorie "health" foods like nuts, nut butters, trail mixes, crackers, dips, etc. to make sure your portions are staying in check! This goes back to tip #3 - write it down! Sometimes we eat what may seem like small amounts of higher calorie foods, but in reality they may be as caloric as a small meal! It is important to practice portion control, especially with foods that are easy to snack on, because they add up and can easily sabotage your health goals.

Tip #10

Veg Out!
If I had to choose just one tip to share, it would be to eat more green vegetables. This is the most health promoting thing you can do in my opinion, maybe besides quitting smoking. Green vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods you can consume and therefore don’t contribute many calories while simultaneously contributing a wide array of nutrients like Vitamins A, C, K and folate to name a few. Green vegetables include collard greens, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli, romaine and more. Greens are great sautéed, in soups, massaged with lemon and oils, and blended into smoothies. 

Need some green vegetable recipe inspiration? Try some of my favorites.

Lettuce Eat Salad
Nutrition Soup
Collard Wraps, Two Ways
Zesty Superfood Spread

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