Why You Can't Live on 20 Oreo Snack Packs a Day
SIGH – nutrition and diet info is everywhere.
Each expert and association (and neighbor and Facebook friend) tries to sway you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. It's gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's definitely not the “holy grail” of health. I'm looking at you, 100-calorie Oreo Snack Packs!!
Let's focus a bit more on the overlooked (and science-backed) aspects. Primarily, what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.
What you eat and drink
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight, but:
Calories-in-calories-out is not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we?
If it suits you, you can still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to pay attention to what you eat.
Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.
Every day this is what you should aim for:
Fruits & Veggies: Eat at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There's a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain. They're also critical to help you absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins/nutrients from other foods (Some vitamins absorb in water, some in fat). Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here. Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.
How you eat and drink
Just like we talked about in our last post on how to avoid overeating, pay attention to how you eat and drink.
Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.
Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Thought so!
We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And don't forget about drinking your food.
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. Wait, what?
A green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don't gulp it down too fast.
If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it!