Have you ever heard that you should never talk about politics and religion? These can be very polarizing subjects and can instantly create some stiff debate and harsh feelings. Personally, I think there should be a third topic added to that list. Never talk about Politics, Religion, and DIET!!!
Everyone has their opinions about diet. And, everyone is really open and ready to share those opinions with you assuming their opinions are best practices. Unfortunately, people don’t consider the fact that what has worked for them may or may not work for you. Further, there is no consideration for where that diet idea came from or whether there is any real science behind it. Just walk through a gym sometime when people are chatting, and you will hear some wild diet ideas and suggestions. Sometimes people talk about eliminating entire food groups and types of food. I head someone once say that they are going to stop eating any food that is white. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. Sometimes people talk about trying to time their food intake. I’ve heard suggestions like eat all of your fruit in the morning and don’t eat any fat after 7pm.
Three Essentials That Never Change
Then, you have to sift through the fad diets. Which one is better: Paleo, Zone, Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Vegan, South Beach, the list goes on and on. You may not have the time, or desire, to figure out the best practices, but I do. That’s why you come to a professional for help with what is best for you. Let’s make this easy, in all of the diets, in all the studies, in all the changing opinions, there are three essential characteristics to a healthy diet that have never to been proven wrong: 1. Eat all nature foods, 2. Eat at least 3 times a day, 3. Eat until you are full, but not stuffed. It’s that simple . . .
When we start with a new client in the Practical Diet Revolution, this is where we start, every time. You have to develop consistency in your diet. How do we define consistency? With these three characteristics. Are you eating all natural foods? How many times did you eat today? Are you eating too much? Some clients might spend months trying to reorganize their diets to show this kind of consistency. Some clients may already be showing consistency in two out of three. Rarely do we meet with new clients who have all three in the bag.
Eat All Nature Food
When you write this on paper, it seems so easy. What’s the big secret to a diet that will help you maintain a healthy life? Easy, eat all natural food. Done! That’s it. Now, go out and concur your life.
We wish it was that easy. However, education is the problem in this part of developing a consistent diet. Our diet consists of Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat. Everyone seems to know these words, but doesn’t know what food actually fall in each category. Sometimes, we have to start with educating new clients on facts like that vegetables are carbs, potatoes are not protein, and cooking oils are 100% fat. Clients’ lack of knowledge in this used to amaze me. I remember going home and telling my wife in astonishment that a client didn’t know that avocados are fat. However, then it started to occur to me that I was never actually taught this stuff in life at a time when I would actually pay attention and remember it. I only know if because I had the motivation to teach myself. Additionally, it’s not like it is exciting information to learn. Chicken is a protein . . . fascinating.
The next education piece is the concept of food being all natural. No, pasta is not a natural food. Rice is not a natural food. Even frozen food items are not all natural. (Side note, just because the label says “Organic,” does not mean real or natural) A quick question to determine whether something is “All natural”: Is this the form it was in when it was harvested? If you want to get really technical, the meat we buy has been processed. However, when it comes to processed food, we are really talking about food that has been altered with chemicals or has been completely processed in a factory, like organic Pop Tarts. Here’s another tip, stick to the outside of the supermarket. This isn’t a guarantee that you will only buy all natural food, but it increase your chances a ton. All natural food has only minimal processing and doesn’t have chemicals added for flavor of preservatives. I used to tell people that if it comes in a box, and have a nutrition label, it probably isn’t all natural. This isn’t as true today, but still holds up pretty well.
Eat Three Times a Day
If you don’t eat, you won’t have energy. Energy is the product of metabolism. You eat food, your body breaks it down, and you absorb nutrients to be used. If you don’t eat, you won’t have energy. Food also contains micro nutrients that have an impact on your hormones. Want to be firing on all cylinders and be able to put 100% into your life every day? Eat food.
One reason you need to eat at least three times a day is to make sure you are taking in enough food. If you aren’t taking in enough food, chances are your body will shut itself down and start storing everything you eat. This is called starvation mode. It is an endless cycle for people trying to lose weight. It’s been planted in your brain that eating less food equals losing weight. While this can be true, it needs to be monitored. Eating less food can cause starvation mode. At that point, your body will start to store what you are eating, you won’t burn it, and you will actually gain weight despite your lack of food intake. You respond by eating even less food and the cycle continues. Clients who are in this cycle have the hardest time bouncing back. It is never easy to tell a client to eat more food.
You also need to have proper hormonal regulation in your body. Insulin is a common hormone affected by eating. When you eat, especially carbs, your body produces insulin to move sugar into your blood stream and cells. When you eat a lot of sugary foods, your blood sugar is spiked until everything is processed, then it drops way down. Eating all natural food, on a regular schedule of at least three times a day will help level out hormones like insulin.
Eat Until You Are Full, But Not Stuffed
How many of you grew up with the rule in your house of, “you don’t leave the table until you clear your plate?” The intention is good, but the lesson it teaches is terrible. Never eat until your plate is empty. Eat until you are full. Then, walk away. Your body is naturally equipped to tell you when you have had enough food. Unfortunately, we are great at ignoring this signal from our stomach. We eat, and eat, and eat, and then regret it because we can barely move. Do that a few times a week and you are on a road to an unhealthy weight. Do it with highly processed food like french fries and burgers, and you are pushing toward a chronic illness.
So, how do you learn to listen to your body? First, SLOW DOWN!!! It takes your body about twenty minutes to tell your brain that you are full and you don’t need to eat anymore. If you stuff in all of your food within that first twenty minutes, then by the time your brain gets the signal, its too late. Next, get rid of the distractions. Don’t eat in front of a screen. Put away your phone while you are eating. You can have a conversation with someone, but try to avoid loud distracting eating environments like restaurants or bars. Finally, start a diet journal. Write down what you ate, roughly how much, and how you felt after you finished. This is a great way to bring internal awareness.
The three characteristics of a healthy diet are easy in concept. They are much harder in execution. Depending on where you are, implementing these characteristics into a healthy diet could require some big life changes. However, you have to start slow and accept small steps as wins. You might be able to develop this consistency in a month. It might take three to four months. The goal is to make small changes every day that keep you moving forward toward your goals.
For more information on these three characteristics of a healthy diet, check out our Podcast Episode on the diet: MASTERING YOUR DIET.
If you are ready to get some help on bringing about this major positive change to your life, let us know: