Being a health coach, isn’t always easy for me or my family because I feel like we have to eat perfectly. For me, I have grown up eating the standard American diet, which consisted of cereal in the morning with milk from tortured, unhealthy cows, a white bread sandwich with mercury laden tuna with pickles and potato chips, and for dinner white noodle pasta topped with sugar filled marinara sauce. The meals changed from day-to-day, but on average, this was my day of food. Oh, and I forgot to add, I usually drank a can of soda and chips with dip as an after school snack and some sort of candy bar.
Now, the body is incredible at doing what it needs to ensure homeostasis, or balance. After a while of this kind of treatment, things start to wear down. In my life, this wear down came in the form of acne, severe stomach aches, migraine headaches that effected my vision and caused me to vomit, and fatigue.
Fast forward 15 years, and now I am living on the other extreme. Most days, I wait to eat breakfast until I’m hungry so that I’m allowing my body to fast a bit longer to increase the amount of time I’m giving my body a rest. (80% of our energy is expended on digesting food, on average) Then, when I eat, I opt for a balanced meal of fats, carbs, and protein for optimal blood sugar balance. (Try to do this for every meal). This can look like oatmeal with an egg mixed in with some nuts and coconut oil. I add lots of yummy stuff like cinnamon, flax meal, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, bee pollen, berries, the herb stevia for sweetness, etc. OR I make some eggs and breakfast hash and throw on some Daiya cheese with herbs. For lunch, I usually have some leftovers from the previous night. Dinner is mostly veggies, with humanely raised animal protein and if I eat a grain, it’s gluten-free (otherwise I get migraines) and dairy free (acne). For desserts, when I have them, they are usually sugar-free and only sweetened with green herb stevia or brown rice syrup(fructose free). To many, this diet is extreme. And really, it feels like it sometimes when I’m hanging out with family and/or friends. Yet, once you find out what certain foods do to your body and how they make you feel, this is a big help and motivator to eat clean. You might notice how it could be difficult for my family to eat around me, because I’m very particular about the food we eat.
My sister told me a story about a cardiologist that states the diet change he implements to his patients doesn’t come close to extreme. What’s extreme is cutting a vein out of a person’s leg to use in their heart after cracking open a person’s chest. This procedure happens when one or many of the main arterie(s) in the heart needs to be replaced because a person eat the food and lifestyle choices lead to a blockage to this crucial organ, the heart. What an awesome example! That is way more extreme than taking a few foods out of the diet.
When I went to visit my mom a couple of weeks ago, we made food that fell into the more healthy category, for the most part. However, she bought these yummy snacks called Snap Pea Crisps. When I find a “healthy” treat like this, I usually over do it. Is it because I feel deprived? Probably, because I don’t usually allow myself a treat, unless I make snacks to fill this desire. These treats remind me of a cross between funyuns and cheetos (minus the cheese flavor, more of the texture). We ate two bags between the two of us and I definitely at the most, however, I just over ate the whole weekend. My mom is a wonderful cook and we usually veg out and watch movies and play games whenever we are around each other. For some reason, I feel like ever since I became pregnant over 3 years ago and then nursed my daughter for over 27 months, I constantly found myself eating. I’m thinking it just became habit after trying to grow a child both in my body and afterward through my milk. This is great and wonderful and I encourage every mama to nurse as along as possible, but after I stopped, I continued to eat. Albeit, the majority of food was healthy, yet even if you’re eating the healthiest foods you can still over eat. And that’s what I was doing. This was not healthy for me! or anyone. It caused me to feel depressed, increased belly fat, low self-esteem, fatigue, gut issues, etc. It also caused a decrease in my immune system. This I know, because I got sick again! That’s twice in the last two months and it was the final straw. Remember, on average, the body is using 80% of its energy to just digest our food! That’s a huge chunk of energy! No wonder most of us are tired! Not only are we feeding our bodies mostly processed food and junk, we are eating too much. So these are the action steps I have used to help me break this habit.
How I love my body by eating less
- most of the time, our hunger is actually our body telling us that we need water. A good rule of thumb, whenever you feel hungry drink a glass of water, then wait 20 minutes. If you’re hungry still, then…
- Eat a balanced meal or snack
- When we eat a balanced meal, we stay satiated longer, or more full for longer. When you fill your plate, make sure half of your plate is complex carbs (variety of veggies with lots of color), a deck of card size of protein (make sure this is humanely raised animal protein if you eat animals, or plant protein), and a healthy fat (coconut oil, lard, ghee, olive oil, avocado).
- Choose a smaller plate
- This one is pretty simple, but if you see less food, you tend to eat less food. Similar to asking for a to-go box when eating out and putting half of the food directly in the box before you start eating your meal.
- Mindful eating
- This means turn off the TV, put your iPhone or tablet down and focus on your food. Included in this step, is to CHEW your food! When we miss out on this step, we tend to over eat because we are distracted and we miss out on the crucial part our body needs. Digestion starts in the mouth and is hindered when we don’t chew our food enough. This leads to GI problems and wasted energy and over eating. None of those sounds good, right?
What are the ways you show your body love?