I’m sure you’ve heard of the food guide pyramid or it's replacement, MyPlate, which came out a few years ago. Well, based on my own preferences, education, and coaching guidelines...I like to do things a little differently.
Why? Two reasons.
Reason #1: My Plate totally left out fats! And fats are essential for a healthy body. They are so important for optimum brain function and hormone health, plus they keep you full and are DELISH (avocado and peanut butter are a few of my favorite things…). I really don't think you can have a balanced diet while leaving out a whole macronutrient!!
Reason #2: MyPlate recommends includes dairy as a suggestion for every meal. I don’t have anything against dairy, but I don't think it's necessary for every meal.
So here’s the VivFit version of MyPlate…
What does this mean?? Here's a brief introduction to macronutrients (or carbs, fats, and proteins):
benefits: carbohydrates provide your body with energy. Choosing whole grain carbs like quinoa, popcorn, or brown rice in addition to fruits can give your body fiber to aid in digestion, and provide you with long lasting energy (versus simpler sugars like in a candy bar that won't keep you full for long at all).
how to enjoy them in your diet: fruit, potato, brown rice, or quinoa are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Be sure to eat them in combination with protein or fats (or all three) to keep you full! Add peanut butter to fruit, or eat your rice with salmon, etc.
benefits: Without going into the science of the different types of fats (bond structures between saturated or unsaturated fats), the short story is fats are amazing for the body. They keep you full for longer, aid in digestion of important vitamins, and aid in hormonal balance (to name a few...fats are seriously amazing. click here for an in depth article if you're curious).
how to enjoy them in your diet: avocado, olive oil, peanut butter, nuts, avocado oil, or coconut oil are excellent ways to get healthy fats into your meal (and if you want to know my take on the recent coconut oil controversy, click here. long story short: in moderation it's perfectly fine!)
benefits: The body uses protein to make and repair tissues. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They aid in creating muscle tissue, make enzymes and hormones, as well as provide the building blocks for hair and nails.
how to enjoy them in your diet: beans, eggs, chicken, steak, fish, legumes, or greek yogurt are examples of healthy proteins
More vs Less Mentality
I like to tell clients to focus on adding more of the good stuff instead of worrying too much about cutting out all the bad stuff. For example, more water (and then hopefully you'll be drinking less soda and juice, which spike your blood sugar and mess with hunger cues), more fruits and veggies, more healthy fats like avocado and eggs, more protein to keep you feeling full.
This is a guideline to get you thinking about how you are filling your plate. Sometimes your food will be in a sandwich or mixed in a blender or even a casserole. It probably won’t look just like the example--I personally like my food mixed in one big bowl lol-- but the purpose is to get you thinking about how to improve your nutrition, and what is going on your plate (or bowl or in your blender, etc).
If this seems like a foreign language, don't worry! I get it. If nutrition was easy to understand there wouldn't be a million diet books for sale.
Pop your info in below and I'll send you a sample healthy menu + grocery list to take the guess work out of meal planning this week.
One of the first habits I discuss with my coaching clients is intuitive or mindful eating. What is mindful eating? It’s the process of taking time and paying attention to what you are eating and why you are eating it.
Have you ever sat down for lunch or a snack in front of the tv and the next thing you know your food is all gone? That is not eating mindfully- that is mindless eating.
Eating mindfully involves sitting down, chewing your food, breathing, enjoying, and stopping before you are 100% full.
You might be wondering, do you really need to use your intuition to eat?
Isn't eating something that should come naturally? Yes, however due to being told various food "rules", yo-yo dieting, eating while distracted, using food as a tool for dealing with emotional issues, and having access to gigantic portion sizes, most people forget how to eat intuitively.
Because of our go-go-go lifestyle, most people inhale food. Combine that with emotional eating and the insane body standards our culture has placed on us, and it’s no wonder we don’t trust ourselves to just eat and are always looking for the next meal plan or diet.
Eating mindfully helps you to feel connected to your hunger cues and stop emotional eating. Here’s how to do it.
(p.s. Don’t try all 5 steps at once. Try one or two at each meal and think about how they work for you, then combine them!)
5 steps to eating mindfully:
Next time you open the pantry or fridge, or head to the vending machine or snack bar, or buy a muffin in line at Starbucks...ask yourself “am I hungry?” This might seem like an obvious question...duh I’m hungry...but often times we confuse thirst or boredom for hunger. Truly ask yourself and think about how you are feeling. Is your stomach growling? How long since your last meal? Are you just feeling tired? How long til your next meal? If you are truly hungry, grab a drink of water and your snack and enjoy! (also important to note: sometimes we simply eat because it’s “time” aka it’s noon, so time for lunch. Pay attention to how you feel more than the time!)
What am I feeling? If you aren’t necessarily hungry but are feeling sad, stressed, or anxious...consider this. Do you tend to eat when you are feeling this way? What could you do instead? Are you eating for comfort? Our emotions are SO tied to our food habits. Sometimes this comes from how we are raised (you did a good job, so you got an ice cream so now you reward yourself with food or maybe if you were sad your mom would make your favorite dinner or dessert)... consider how you usually react to these emotions, and consider an action you could replace it with. Even saying to yourself, I’ll wait 10 minutes and see how I feel can be very effective.
Breathe. When it is time for your next meal stop and BREATHE. I am SO guilty of sitting down and inhaling my food. Sometimes it’s because my daughter needs me, sometimes it’s just out of habit. In between each bite put down your fork and take a breath and slow down.
The 80% rule. This step takes a little more focus. You have to be in tune with your body AND eating slowly to really understand your fullness cues. As you are eating, focus on how you are feeling versus how much food is left on your plate. Stope when you are 80% full NOT when the plate is empty. Why? It takes your brain a while to catch up with your gut. By stopping when you are 80% full, you give your mind and stomach a chance to connect and chances are good about 15 minutes later you will feel 100% satisfied. If you usually go till 100% full or even 110% full, just slow down and scale back little by little.
Enjoy! When it comes time to eat, take the time to enjoy! Feel the food as you chew. Taste it. Pay attention to the texture and the smell. Regardless of if you are eating a healthy snack or a decadent dessert- enjoy without guilt or judgement.
If you need help eating mindfully or could use some guidance or accountability, check out my coaching packages here. I'm also currently offering 20 minute free sessions to work through a specific problem! To schedule a free call, click here.
With date nights, going out with friends, running errands and the temptation for fast food, it’s difficult to make healthy choices on the weekend (plus, I rarely want to cook dinner come Friday night). I encourage everyone to live a little and enjoy some treats every now and then, but there’s nothing worse than waking up on Monday morning and thinking “I blew it this weekend!” You can avoid that feeling by keeping a few tips in mind.
- Plan ahead. If you aren’t familiar with a restaurant’s menu, look at it online ahead of time. Most restaurants have a healthy option menu these days (my favs are CPK and Cheesecake factory). If all else fails, order grilled meat or fish with grilled veggies or a salad.
- Go Halvsies. if you don’t want to eat off the lower-cal menu (or if there isn’t one) split an entree with someone. Restaurant portions are WAY too big for one, and this is a good way to make sure you don’t over eat while saving some cash and enjoying something tasty!
- Drink water. sodas and alcoholic beverages are filled with calories. If you are drinking alcohol skip the fruity (calorie-laden) drinks and go with something simple. Or just drink water with a little lemon or lime.
- Skip the bread basket. I can sometimes control myself if there’s bread at the table and just not eat any of it, but if I do take a piece, there is no turning back. Don’t fill up on a meals worth of calories before your dinner even gets to the table.
- Choose the restaurant. If you can, choose a restaurant you’re familiar with. I always do better going to places I know (where I know what I like and that it’s tasty). Sometimes I will go to a shopping center with multiple places to eat for lunch and I’ll eat at Chipotle and my husband will grab Five Guys or firehouse subs or something and then we will meet up and eat together- do what works for you! (My husbands metabolism is much better than mine, sadly).
- Don’t show up starving. I know your parents always told you not to ruin your appetite before having a meal, but it’s ok to ignore their advice. Have a healthy snack filled with plenty of protein and fiber so that you aren’t starving when you arrive. This will cause you to eat less, and make less impulsive decisions (appetizers, anyone?)
- Stay active. Don't worry about slaving away in the gym if you do over indulge, but balance out your weekend with a fun activity like a hike, family walk, trip to the beach, or some other outdoor fun.
- Balance. If you do plan on eating a heavy meal or are going to an event or party, just enjoy it! Balance it out by eating like you normally would throughout the day and then just enjoy yourself. Don't over think it!