Numerous times, I sit down with my amazing clients, and we talk about goals, and we talk about plans, and all of the diets they’ve followed. Recently, I was asked if I knew about the six pack sensation diet… I hadn’t. There appear to be so many diets, and not a lot of people actually succeeding with them. It’s quite frustrating really, but totally normal. A large part of our training is about habit based coaching.
I never (or hardly) focus on meal plans. I only ever focus on building positive habits, or building awareness through short periods of tracking food choices. I often get asked what is the key to fat loss, and my clients are often surprised (and so was I when I first found this out) to hear that fat loss is largely related to the speed with which we eat. By becoming more mindful about the foods we eat, than we were, and more mindful to allow ourselves to eat more slowly, we’ll often feel fuller earlier, and won’t be over eating any kind of food, let alone unhealthy food.
Food awareness is however very difficult. The reason being that we were raised by (or at least our parents were raised) people who had experienced rationing. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the general population would have had to limit what they bought, and therefore would absolutely made sure they finished what was on their plate. With food scarce, it was logical for all children to be raised to finish what was on their plate. So our parents would have then habitually trained us to finish what was on our plates, right from an early age.
Nowadays, with plates larger, portion sizing also, food more processed, and cheaper to buy, we always tend to eat more than we need, because we’re set on finishing the meal, and we often eat quickly (unthinkingly). We are a society of mindless eaters.
By eating too quickly, we’re not giving our stomach the time to tell our brain that we’re no longer hungry. This is largely due to the fact that eating food reduces the release of ghrelin, (the hunger hormone), and this takes time to be removed from our system, helping to maintain the feeling of hunger, even when we’ve eaten enough for our bodies to handle. We are also slightly, but chronically under slept, which increases the release of ghrelin, in turn causing us to eat even more.
- Eat Slowly. (15 to 20 minutes is ideal). So the simple solution to this is eating slower, and we can do that, by setting timers to get us started, or by checking the clock when we start eating and setting the intention of finishing after a certain time. There will be times we’re largely unsuccessful. However, if diligently working on this, we can begin to be more food aware, and slower eaters. When we eat slower, we lose between 50 and 70 calories on average. Add that up over 3 or 4 meals a day, and that’s at least 150 calories less per day. Add that up over a week and thats at least 1000 calories less. Do that over a year, and the weight loss is pretty steadily downward so long as we do the next 4 habits in conjunction to some decent degree –
- Eat Protein Rich Foods with each meal. The protein will provide for more growth and repair. It reduces hunger further. Is harder to digest, and leaves us feeling satisfied for longer. It will allow us to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day, and therefore mean we’re able to be even more mindful about our next meal.
- Eat lets of deep green or bright vegetables with each meal. They are high in volume, low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals, and therefore is optimal for providing a conditions of health. It is still conjecture, however it seems logical to think, that when a person becomes vegetarian for the first time, their energy levels take a spike, because of the greater array of nutrient dense foods, that allow for optimal bodily function. In this instance, a 1 or 2 handfuls is the best bet with this.
- Eat fruit or starchy carbohydrates on days where you perform vigorous physical activity. This includes foods such as bananas, large fruits, potatoes, pasta and bread. These are great for fueling depleted glycogen stores in the blood stream after you’ve trained hard, and pushed yourself. In this instance, one fist of this, will suffice. On non training days, do the best that you can to avoid these foods, and eat less starchy carbs than you would otherwise. The sugars are less necessary, and are more likely to be stored as fat, if you do.
- Each healthy fat daily. This includes saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. What do I mean by this? Saturated fats include coconut oil, butter, cheese, animal fats and eggs. Monounsaturated fats include macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, and pistachios, olives, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and avocado. Polyunsaturated fats includes fish oil, algae oils, sunflower seeds, peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds and flax oil, brazil nuts. Aim for 1 to 2 thumbs of which per meal, with a variety of different sources, and you’ll be winning. At each meal choose a different fat source to get ⅓ of each per day.
These are the 5 healthy habits. Let me know what you think, and how you get on. Post any questions to comments.