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diet

3 Tips for Mindful Eating

Fat Loss, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition By November 25, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

“Everything moderation,” they say.

You know who I am talking about, your friends whole effortlessly lean and radiant, yet eat whatever they want. Small pieces of chocolate every day, pasta at dinner, the occasional decadent hot chocolate with whipped cream and full-fat milk. They’re never uncomfortable after eating. Their weight isn’t jumping around by 20lbs multiples times per year.

Meanwhile, you gain 10lbs just by looks at a piece of double chocolate cheesecake. You’ve been gluten-free, low-carb, calorie tracking, macrocounting dieting for God knows how long.  Eating 1400 calories religiously daily during the week, only to find yourself 10,000 calories deep into a large pizza on Friday night continuing on glutinnously raging through the weekend.

Trapping yourself in the cycle of restrict and deprive, and then bingeing as a “reward” or “treat.” Losing weight every week, gaining back the same weight every weekend, and losing that same weight again next week – punishing yourself with food restriction and excessive exercise to make up for the lack of “progress.”

The physical and psychological torments we put ourselves can be mind boggling. Clearly it’s not working. So why do we do it? Sometimes because we don’t know any better.

There is better. And we can do better. 

I want to talk to you about Mindful Eating.

Mindful eating isn’t some crazy “woo woo” trend you need to go to the Himalayas and train with the Dalai Lama to learn. In fact it’s quite simple and quite easy. You don’t need to count your calories, you don’t need to deprive yourself, and you don’t need to eliminate all the foods you love that been called “bad” by zealots who want you to believe that certain foods are holier than thou.

Mindful eating is done simply by paying attention to all the things that are happening while you are eating. Eating slowly and paying attention the sensantions, flavours, textures, and feelings that are experienced while eating your meals.

Because of the enhanced awareness we have while eating mindfully, most people who practice this are able to maintain healthy body composition while still being able to enjoy all of their favourite foods. When we slow down and focus on really experiencing our food we autoregulate our caloric-intake. This allows most people to avoid eating themselves to a point of discomfort, being overful, and taking in excess calories.

So how can you start eating mindfully? Start with these three steps.

  1. Put your phone down
    • In the words of the ever-mighty Erykah Badu: “I can make you put your phone down.” Maybe the phone isn’t your vice, but you want to avoid any distractions while you are eating your meals. Turn off the TV, put your phone down, and give your meal the undivided attention it deserves.  Being distracted while eating will take away from being able to pay attention to what is actually happening in your body. Are you hungry? Are you full? Does your food even taste good?
  2. Eat slowly
    • Next, you will want to make sure you are eating slowly. A lot of people are not even aware of how quickly they are eating. People who eat slowly tend lose and maintain weight more easily, and have better digestion, than people who do not eat slowly. You’re body physically needs time figure out when it satisfied (not full,) and eating slowly will ensure that you don’t jump the gun overeat unecessarily. The improved digestion will mainly start from taking time to properly chew your food better instead of taking larger bites and swallowing the food in large chunks, meaning your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down and process the nutrients that you are taking in. A good goal for a window of time to eat meals would be 20-30 minutes. If setting aside a half hour for a meal feels like an eternity, set a timer for 15 minutes and see if you can gradually eat a little bit slower each week.
  3. Taste your food
    • Start making mental notes about what your food actually tastes like and how you are experiencing it. Is the texture soft, chewy, crunchy, tough? How does your food taste? Sweet, savoury, salty, sour, bitter? How does your food smell? How do you physically feel while eating your food? Do you enjoy it? How could you improve it? How do you feel mentally while eating your food? Is it satisfying? These are all important things to pay attention while eating. And will allow you to truly experience your food and enjoy it significantly more.

 

So there you have it, eat what you want, but do it slowly, and savour the moment. 😉

Be like Erykah Badu, and put your phone down.

 

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Ditch Your Food Scales: The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

Lifestyle, Nutrition By February 23, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Can you recite the caloric value and macronutrient content of canned tuna, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, and peanut butter like it’s your job? Have you ever had a panic attack while trying to weigh your food to make sure you ate x amount kCals per day?

While tracking caloric and macronutrient intake can be useful over short periods of times – when done for extended periods of time it can warp your psyche. Especially if you lean towards the Type A perfectionist side of things (many of us do, myself included.) While results from adhering to an extremely strict dietary protocol can feel rewarding, it’s the same strict protocols that limit us in our ability to makes choices that serve us better overall and exercise our personal power.

There is a loss of power and choice when you follow a restrictive diet and don’t get to be proactive in choosing what and when you eat based off of your hunger, satiety, and needs. As a living organism with daily fluctuations in energy use and needs and no amount of macronutrient or calorie tracking is going to be able adapt to that.

Luckily we have a built in system in our body that takes care of these daily fluctuations of by regulating our appetite and satiety – and the more you pay attention to these signals the easier it gets. But to get good at listening to your body’s signal that also means you have:

  1. Stop neglecting hunger; no dieting or excessive restricion of food intakes
  2. Stop neglecting satiety; eating slowly untill you are satisfied but not ready to burst

You can be strong, healthy, thriving and sane without having the additional stress of counting calories or macronutrients. Your eating strategies need to work for you – not the other way around. You are not bound my chains to your food scale or your diet. Gone are the days of trying to figure out how many Oreos you can eat so you don’t blow your diet. If you’re ready to be free of obsessive food tracking, calorie counting, and restriction but don’t know where to start – read on.

If you’ve ever sat over your kitchen counter in front of scale with you a piece of paper, pen, calculator and tears in your eyes – this guide is for you. 


The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

The following guide will help outline what foods you should be adding in to your diet on a daily basis and what types of quantities. It is not a rigid restrictive guideline and is flexible system that is inclusive off mostly whole foods that will help you achieve a balanced diet so you can feel great, look great, and thrive. We’re going to to go over the food groups, meal structure, and portion sizes so you’ll be good to go using your most handy and convenient measuring tool – your hand. On ward to a simple, effective, and stress-free dietary system.

Food Groups 

Protein dense foods

Provides us with amino acids to help maintain and rebuild tissues in the body.

Chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, salmon, tuna, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, etc.

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

Provides us with fibre for optimal digestive health as well as being a significant source or micronutrients needed for various chemical processes in the body.

Spinach, peppers, apples, bananas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, berries, etc.

Carbohydrate dense foods

Provides us with a direct source of energy for brain function and physical activity.

Rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, noodles, breads, etc.

Fat dense foods

Important for maintaing cellular health and strucutre as well as synthetiszing hormones in the body.

Olive oil, butter,  coconut oil, avocado, cream, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dressings, etc.

Meal Structure

In terms of structuring your meals you want to aim to have a balanced plate each time you eat – this means including good sources of protein, fibre, carbohydrate, and fats at each meal. This means adding 1-2 servings of each food category to each meal, this structure is based off of eating 3 – 4 meals per day.

Depending on your size and activity level you may need more food than what is suggested, start with the guideline as a basis and as you get more comfortable feel free to add as you need to based off your levels of hunger and satiety.

  Female Male
Protein Dense Foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods) 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Carbohydrate dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Fat dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal

Portions

Last but not least we’re finally at the part where you can throw out your food scale and measuring cup. Your new measuring tool is your lovely hand. The great thing about your hand is that you always have it and can bring it anywhere you go. Secondly, it’s already proportionate to you – meaning if you’re a big person, you have a bigger hand or if you’re a smaller person, you have a smaller hand. It’s hard to go wrong 😉

 

Serving Size

Protein Dense Foods

The size of your palm

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

The size of your fist

Carbohydrate dense foods

The size of a cupped hand

Fat dense foods

The size of your thumb

 

IMG_6754

Refer to this super high tech visual guide.


I know what you’re probably thinking: “That’s all?!” like 90% of the people I’ve ever taught this system.

To which I answer: Yes, that is all. I want you to eat your proteins, your vegetables, your carbs, and your fats. I want you to feel and look great. I want you to have as little stress as possible when it comes to having a healthy balanced diet filled with foods that you love. And most importantly I want you to enjoy the process of eating well and I want you to enjoy the food.

By keeping it simple with this guide, you’re well on your way to feeling great and living your healthiest life both physically and mentally. And if you really want an Oreo at the end of the day after you’ve nourished your body with all these awesome foods – go for it 😉

Are you ready to use the Hand Guide? Are you already using the Hand Guide?

Did this article blow your mind? I want to hear from you.

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STOP OVERRIDING THE SYSTEM – Dealing with Burn Out

Fat Loss, Mindset, Nutrition, Training By September 6, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

4am on a cold day of February in 2011, there I was restless, tossing, and turning in my bed unable to sleep – this particular moment seared into my memory because both of my quads cramped and I was in what felt like the worst pain I’ve experienced in my whole life.

I went to bed at 9pm and so I could wake up at 6am to make it to the gym to train before I had to go to my lectures for the day. I would go to bed and lay there unable to fall asleep.

But this wasn’t something that happened once in a while, this was something that was my life for about 3 months. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

I trained 2hrs a minimum of 5 days per week before my 8:30am classes, one hour of hypertrophy based resistance training and one hour of steady state cardio…all in a fasted state.

I was a full-time student in college, and I worked a part-time job after I was done school and on the weekends. In addition to my own workouts I had several hours of sport based activity courses in program that I would participate in.

On top of this overload of activity, I thought it was wise to adhere to a Paleo-esque low carb diet.

I was the leanest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I was tired, I was angry, I was hungry, I was always sore, and my legs would regularly collapse while walking up or down stairs. My recovery was poor but the idea of resting or taking a break seemed petty.

It was brutal.

And I was willingly pushing through this thinking that if I didn’t do what it takes to get lean that I was somehow weak or incapable or unworthy.

I was running on E.

Eventually my body decided for me, that I couldn’t keep up. I got the point where I couldn’t override the system anymore. I became riddled with injuries, my strength was depleted, and the only thing I was physically able to do was hatha yoga (which became a very important part of my life.)

I had beaten my body into a state of no longer being able to function properly. And it had finally had enough. It tooks me months to recover and get back to being in good health and having bountiful energy. I was eventually able to get back to training but not to the extent that I was before.

But all of this could have been prevented had I simply listened to my body.

if-you-listen-to-your-body-when-it-whispers-you


My story is not unique – I see a lot of people doing what I did. People will  relentlessly do every thing possible for the sake of achievement despite causing more harm than good.

Just because we can do everything possible, doesn’t mean that we should.

There needs to be congruence between our input and our output. If we’re going to be putting a lot out then we need to be putting enough in. And the good news is that our bodies have a way of communicating with us to let us know if that symmetry isn’t there.

bucket full

We just need to LISTEN.

Our body communicates with us through several avenues:

  • Our energy and mood: Energy and mood play a significant role in telling us if we are applying too much physical or mental stress to ourselves. Ideally we should feel energized and have a general sense of well-being and overall satisfaction. Constantly feeling lethargic, depressed, sad, dissatisfied are indicators of imbalance somewhere in our behaviours. Too much output and not enough input, or even the opposite.
  • Our appetite: Our appetite is another indicator if we are currently under too much stress physically or mentally. If you are under stress it’s not uncommon to experience little to no hunger or have a voracious appetite beyond anything you could fathom. This can also be accompanied with severe cravings for food that are very carbohydrate and/or fat dense.
  • Our recovery: Recovery gets impeded when there isn’t congruence between our input and our output. Poor recovery is often experienced as constantly being sore despite consistent training, experience repeated nagging injuries, and general achiness.

STRATEGIES FOR BALANCE

If you are listening to your body and you are finding that you need more balance in your life there are some strategies you can implement in regards to your training, nutrition, rest and recovery patterns so that you don’t burn out:

  • TRAINING: Adhere to training protocols that are based on progressive overload but are moderate. Your training program needs to be tailored towards your lifestyle and not the other way around. If you work 40+ hours per week it’s unwise to follow a program that has you doing 2 hours of exercise for 6 days of the week. It would be better to adhere to protocols that incorporate resistance training 3-4 days per week, with moderate to light activity such as yoga, brisk walking, or leisure sports for an additional 2-3 days per week.
  • NUTRITION: In terms of preventing dietary distress, you’ll want to be moderate. Extremes in nutrition can lead to issues that transcend for beyond simply being “hangry.” Dietary moderation means incorporating all macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and variety of food groups.  It also means avoiding significant caloric deficits and learning to listen to the body’s signals for hunger and satiety to determine when to start and stop eating. Eating in a moderate manner with minimal restraing is the key to preventing uncontrollable cravings and the development of disordered eating patterns or food obsession that can attribute to stress and anxiety.
  • REST & RECOVERY: Rest and recovery isn’t something that just happens, we have to be prpactive in making sure that we are well-rested on a day to day basis other wise we will burn out. Recovering from the stress of exercise is important, but it is also important to recover from the stress in our day to day lives we can accumulate from finances, jobs, education, relationships, etc. This is where it can be helpful to implement strategies such as meditation, journaling, practicing gratitude, expressing ourselves through creative outlets (dance, writing, music, etc.), doing yoga, progressive relaxation, spending time with friends and family, or anything that helps to get us destress. In addition to destressing, we also need to make sure that we are practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of having a regular bedtime and waking time in addition to creating a regular routine before bedtime that is free of stimulation (especially from electronics) that will make it easier for us to fall asleep. It’s also important to make sure that our beds are in quiet, cool, dark spaces to prevent overheating so we can sleep soundly.

 

Our bodies communicate with us every single day to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s up to us to be attentive and react accordingly.  If you’re exhausted is it really wise to go and train as hard as possible that day? Or would it be more reasonable to do a quick yoga flow for half an hour? If you’re hungry enough to eat an entire cow, is it wise to restrict your caloric intake even farther? Probably not.

Sustainability comes from moderation and balance. Balance is achieved by maintaining a healthy midzone between doing too much and doing too little. Making sure that we are matching our input to our output is the key to being consistent to achieve the results and behaviour changes we want.

Have you ever suffered from burn out? Are you going to implement some of the strategies here?

Are you implementing strategies I didn’t discuss?

I want to hear from you. 🙂

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Welcome to The “Anti-Diet”

Fat Loss, Mindset, Nutrition By August 23, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Have you tried every diet known to mankind?

You’ve done keto, paleo, Whole30, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, IIFYM, etc. But still find yourself in a never ending cycle of food restriction and bingeing and weight cycling.

You have 10 pairs of jeans in 10 different sizes to accomodate your weight fluctuations/shape fluctuations. People will see you once and not be able to recognize you three months later because of how different you look. Not only do you change physically, but mentally you’re always between the highs and lows of “succeeding” and “failing” to change and maintain your body.

I’m here to tell you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to suffer anymore. You can have a body that love without punishing it, you can enjoy the foods you love without feeling guilty. You don’t have to be “on/off plan”, you can just be.

I understand it can be scary to let go of all the conventional wisdom you know about weight loss and changing your body. But how useful and healthy are conventional protocols if you cannot maintain or adhere to them consistently? 

The reality is that restrictive dieting is not healthy. Any diet where you overly restrict caloric intake, restrict macronutrient intake (ie. eliminating carbs, fats, protein), or obsessively dichotomize food into “good” or “bad” can be devastating to you physically or mentally.

Yo-Yo Dieting is more harmful than it is good and is highly correlated with the following:

  • Loss of lean body mass
  • Slowed metabolism
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Bradychardia (slowed heart rate)
  • Obesity
  • Developtment of Eating Disorders
  • Depression/Anxiety

In addition to this list, 95% of dieters usually regain their lost weight within 1-5 years or dieting. So why suffer for a fleeting “success?” Personally, I’m not satisfied with results that don’t last. I’m not satisfied with being restricted. I’m not satisfied with day to day suffering. And I don’t think you should be either.

If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting and gaining and losing the same 10, 20, 30, 50 lbs over and over again – it’s time to embrace The Anti-Diet.

The Anti-Diet is exaclty what you think it is. Not a diet. It’s a philosophy that helps foster healthy relationships with food, with our bodies, and allows up to optimize our physical and mental health.

The Anti-Diet is a way of eating day to day that is free of restriction. It is sustainable, effective and easy to adhere to. The Anti Diet is also known as Attuned Eating or Intuitive Eating. People who adhere to the philosophy of intuitive eating tend to have lower body weight and a greater overall sense of well-being than those who adhere to conventional dieting.

If you’re ready to be done with diets and become an Anti-Dieter or Attuned Eater…look no farther.

The Principles of The Anti-Diet

  1. Eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body’s cues. We were created to thrive and our body’s signals tell us when we need energy and when we do not. If your body is sending you hunger signals it is time to eat – if your body is not giving off hunger signals, it is not time to eat. If we delay eating despite being hungry we can lose our ability to moderate our food intake and will naturally want to overeat and make less conscientious food choices.
  2. Stop eating when you are satisfied. Closely tied into eating when you are hungry you also need to listen to your body for the signals that it is satisfied. Ideally you want to minize experiences or being painfully hungry or painfully full. Listen to your body’s signals to regulate your energy intake, you don’t need to count calories. You just need to be mindful of what you are feeling physically.hunger scale
  3. Enjoy the foods that you eat. Eating foods you enjoy brings you satisfaction. If you hate brocolli there’s not point eating 5lbs of it just because someone told you to. Explore different foods and flavours. Eat foods that satifsfy your taste buds and your cravings. When you eat intuitevly you generally won’t experience intense cravings and you won’t feel the need to binge on your favourite foods because you are always allowed to have them (which will generally make you want them less becausey they are not “off limits.”)
  4. Reject restriction and convenitonal dieting. Reject caloric restriction, reject macronutrient restriction, reject dichotimizing food into “good/bad” and “clean/dirty.” Restrictive eating promotes disordered patterns and food phobias. You are free to eat whatever you want as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel good physically.
  5. Respect your body. Learn to appreciate your body for what it is. It’s hard to accept and embrace listening to our bodies when all we can focus on is changing them. When we can’t actively respect or enjoy our bodies it’s hard to treat them properly and healthfully. anti-diet - good body image
  6. Do physical activity and exercise you enjoy. Stop punishing yourself by doing exercise to “burn calories.” Engage in exercise because you feel good when you do it. Your workouts and physical activity should leave you feeling happy, energized and more confident. Do types of exercises you genuinely enjoy and I guarantee you will never miss a workout – you’ll build a routine that serves you and allows to exercise lifelong healthy habits.

If you’re ready to stop dieting – it is never to late to start the Anti-Diet. Habit change takes time but there’s no reason why you can’t feel great mentally and look great physically by implementing the princples of the Anti-Diet in your day to day to life. Sometimes even just being more mindful of your eating will make a big difference alone. You can let go of restriction and get ready for healthier relationships with your body and with your food.

diet


 Check out this TED Talk from 2014 on dieting and the consequences of it that most people experience.

Do you need help implementing habit change in your life? Are you ready to stop dieting and start feeling amazing every day? I offer in person and online coaching for exercise and nutrition and we can get you started on the right track today.

 

Did you find this helpful? Do you have any questions or feedback? 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section or feel free to contact me by e-mail. 

🙂

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The Missing Link In Your Nutrition

Fat Loss, Nutrition, Recomp By May 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

If you’re trying to change your physique and not seeing the results you want you may be neglecting an important factor in your diet.

No, I’m not referring to counting your calories, or weighing out all of your food, and planning all of your meals five months in advance.

I’m talking about satiety.

What is satiety? For the sake of simplicity and context let me explain it like this: Satiety means to eat until you are satisfied 1) physically and 2) mentally. 

Don't strive to feel like this guy.

Don’t strive to feel like this guy.


Physical satiety
is to eat until you are “full,” leaving you neither stuffed nor hungry. It’s a sweet spot where you feel good and well-nourished without feeling like your pants are about explode. People will neglect physical satiety by overeating or under eating. From time to time it is normal normal to go either way…but if repeated extensively you will eventually lose the ability to know when you are hungry and satisfied from your meals – which is less than ideal if trying to maintain or achieve change with your physique.

Mental satiety is to eat foods that satisfy your emotional and social needs (as much as we would like to detach from food being an emotional and social thing – that’s not going to happen.) You know and I know that showing up to family barbecue with a bag of carrot sticks to eat isn’t going to cut it when everyone else is throwing down bacon cheeseburgers. And that’s perfectly okay, you can give yourself permission to enjoy life and indulge in foods if they are worth it to you. When you give yourself permission to enjoy your food you prevent putting yourself into a mindset of “deprivation eating” which usually results in cycles of binge eating and severe restriction, and wreaks havoc on your body and your psyche.

ecard

When you eat to be satisfied and well-nourished, you allow your body to function optimally – meaning you can kill it in the gym and still have the energy to go about your daily life with vigor and enthusiasm. You can also change the composition of your body without dropping or gaining extreme amounts of weight (“recomping.”) You can also perform at a high level – getting stronger, fitter, and faster.

It’s hard to go wrong with something when it allows you to thrive physically and emotionally. So how do you implement this type of eating into your routine? No strict diet required…It’s quite moderate:

  • Eat till your hunger goes away but you don’t feel overfull
  • Eat at regular times
  • Eat foods that meet your requirements for protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and other micro-nutrients
  • Eat foods that taste good to you
  • Indulge in “play” foods occasionally
  • Drink adequate amounts of water

Listening to satiety and hunger is the easiest and most moderate approach you can use for long-term maintenance of healthy bodyweight – but it’s often overlooked because it’s not “extreme” or “sexy” or “the latest thing.” However, it works and it’s the easiest thing to implement for an entire life time. Don’t be afraid of being moderate in your approach to eating and training – moderation offers sustainability.

Nobody wants to spend their life exercising 15 hours a week to the point of exhaustion while starving themselves on unseasoned fish and broccoli – only to eat an entire strawberry cheesecake in one sitting on Saturday and repeat the same cycle week after week. Your nutrition needs to work for you, not the other way around.

Rarely is extremism sustainable.

“Throw moderation to the winds, and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains.” – Democritus

 

 

 

 

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