Maintaining a sexy physique can be challenging! We are constantly bombarded with tempting delicious foods that plump up the parts of our bodies we rather deflate. I know this is something some of my clients struggle with and the key is to eat your best when you can. As healthy as I am about my eating habits, I still enjoy meals out with friends, and yes I’ll have dessert on occasion. My secret is that I stick to these 7 tips as much as possible and trust me, I love to eat, AND I never feel deprived! The trick is NOT to diet, but rather develop a healthy lifestyle and eat in a way that prevents disease as well. These 7 easy to follow tips can help you on your way…
1. Stay Close to Nature…
…because everything else has a tendency to make us overweight! Avoid anything that comes in a box because chances are it is processed and filled with hidden sugars, fats and preservatives. The food science that created packaged, processed foods is one culprit in the obesity epidemic by tricking our brains and making it impossible to eat just a few bites!
I eat as many natural fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds as I like. Healthy “packaged” brands are on the rise, so if I think an item looks promising, I read the label for the fewest number of ingredients, and I make sure I recognize all the ingredients because if I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it!
Avoid “fat free” labeling because here is where you’ll find the hidden sugars and avoid “sugar free” labeling because these foods are often loaded with chemicals (aka fake sweeteners) that upset the digestive tract and some are linked to obesity, heart disease, cancer and more.
2. Opt for Nature’s Candy
I have a confession… I have a bit of a sweet tooth.
You know where I get my fix?
Dates and raw organic honey. Maple Syrup (I’m talking about Grade A, NOT Aunt Jemima style) and fruit are also great natural sweeteners. Stevia is another one and a drop of the liquid concentrate form does the trick.
- high fructose corn syrup? Avoid at all costs. Anything that contains any kind of corn syrup has been proven to be a major cause of obesity.
- Splenda, Equal, SweetnLow and other fake sweeteners? Avoid them too because they may actually result in weight gain because they stimulate your appetite. And as mentioned above they have been linked to various health problems.
- Sugar? Sugar, cane sugar, organic cane sugars are all the same and it’s the perfect way to get zero nutrients and gain weight. Sugar is toxic to our bodies, it’s a drug we become addicted to, AND it damages our vessels and nerves.
- “Evaporated cane juice” is the exception and falls into the category of natural sweetener.
3. Eat a Mostly Plant Based Diet
I don’t think Mother Nature intended us to eat “meat” (fish, chicken, steak) with every single meal, or even everyday. Because meat isn’t high in fiber, we tend to over consume relative to the nutritional benefits. It is recommended that 80% of our diet come from plants due to their wonderful phytonutrients and minerals that are crucial for proper metabolism to occur. There are also many anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and disease prevention benefits to eating a mostly plant based diet.
4. Choose Dairy Alternatives
Milk and cheese are loaded with saturated fats. And even if you choose fat free products, they contain lots of sugars. Skim milk doesn’t really have any nutritional benefit, and milk “powders,” aka chemicals, are added to give this liquid more consistency and “nutrition.” Not to mention all the antibiotics and hormones that are pumped into cows, making them sick so that they pus production accompanies the milk production. Then milk drinkers consume that. Gross, I know.
Almond and Hemp Milks are all the rage now, along with cashew cheeses, and they are just as creamy and delicious to fix that craving! They also have a better fat profile than milk products and provide us with the calcium we need.
5. Choose Gluten Free
More and more studies are showing that a large percentage of the population has an intolerance to gluten (anything foods that contains wheat/flour). Gluten results in a range of symptoms from feeling fatigue to inflammation in the body. Whenever there is inflammation in the body it is difficult to maintain our optimal weight because stress hormones sky rocket, causing weight gain and increase our risk of developing other health problems.
Gluten containing food products like breads, pastas, cakes, and cookies generally help us pack on the pounds because the glycemic index is high— meaning the body gets the signal to go into “storage mode” and we gain weight.
6. Drink Water
Bottled is preferred, especially if your city adds fluoride to the water supply like NYC.
Liquids like soda and juices also contain lots of sugars and even the artificially sweetened drinks open up our appetites and can result in overeating.
Cold Pressed Juices (NOT pasteurized) are healthy to have once a day. At the same time, it’s always a great idea to EAT the fruits and veggies for nutrition instead of drinking them because then you get the fiber benefits as well, which is great for keeping our intestines young and fiber makes us feel full.
Alcohol is empty calories, there are no nutritional value except for the antioxidants and good cholesterol benefits in red wine, and for the pros to outweigh the cons just a glass a day max is recommended. So cutting down on alcohol in any way will definitely slim pounds and maintain health.
7. Eat ONLY when hungry
Our culture is all about breakfast, lunch, and dinner, AND snacks. It’s like clock work.
I choose to listen to my body. Some days I’m super hungry and I have breakfast, two lunches, and dinner. And other days I just eat a hearty lunch and an evening snack and I’m satisfied. I eat when I am hungry. The key is to listen for the hunger signals. As soon as I begin feeling a little hungry, I think about what I’m going to eat so that I have the time to make or order something healthy. If you wait until you are absolutely starving, you may just pick the fastest thing you can find, which may not be so healthy, AND you will likely overeat.
Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle takes time and dedication, so be patient, and applaud yourself for any conscious healthy choices you make. Soon enough you’ll start noticing that you crave healthy foods and how good they really taste!