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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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