22 April 2011

10 Ways to Eat Less and Enjoy More

 It's no secret that food is a big issue in this country. some people eat way too much of it, other don't eat nearly enough... and pretty much all of us could probably benefit by making some changes. Not that the american food industry (or the food and drug association) makes it easy for us. There billions of chemicals and other crap that the conglomerates stick in our food- where they definitely don't belong. All kinds of synthetic "food" that has been designed to cut costs and in the process has cut out nutrition entirely. Oh, capitalism.

So how can we know what we're eating? How can we know how much is enough? and how can we truly enjoy our food- wholesome food- instead of mindlessly shoving fistfuls into our faces? I've compiled this little list to help us all to do just that.

1. Listen to your body. I've preached this all across this blog, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna stick it on this list, because it is SO IMPORTANT. When you have a headache, a stomachache, cramps, fatigue, heartburn, stress, anger, illness... don't just write it off as bad luck or something that's unavoidable and pop a pill. Your body doesn't just randomly have headaches. You shouldn't always feel stressed out or tired. Unless you have a diagnosed illness that causes these things, the chances are that these symptoms are your body's way of telling you that you aren't feeding it right. You get heartburn after eating fatty foods. Eating too much gives you stomach cramps. Eating too much sugar can cause you to feel lethargic. Let me break it down for you. Your body=a machine. food=fuel. bad fuel=malfunctioning machine. Would you put mud in your car instead of gasoline and then be flabbergasted at why it's not working? I didn't think so.

2. Eat Food. This is one of my favorite tips from the book Food Rules. Sounds simple right? but so few people actually follow it. Food is food. food is not chemicals. If you look at the ingredients on something, find a word you don't know, and a quick google search shows you anything other than it came out of the ground or was raised by a farmer, it ain't food baby- so don't eat it. You will save soooo many empty calories and feel way more full if you stick to the good stuff!

3. Plan your meals, and avoid snacking. For me, I like to have a small breakfast (can't do much food in the morning), an even smaller snack around 10, a medium-small lunch (I really love bento boxes and macro plates- healthy and so much variety!) a really small snack around 4, and then a medium dinner. Some day (most days now since I've been sleeping late and have been so busy) I skip the snacks, but I keep the meal sizes the same. This plan works because it keeps your body constantly metabolizing small bits of food, so your overall metabolism rises. But you've really got to plan it- before you go grocery shopping, think about what you're going to have every day for snacks and meals- that way you wont be stopping at a fast food restaurant or convenience market with the excuse that there's nothing in the fridge.

4. Drink water. And then drink more water. And then just for good measure drink some more. People are afraid of water because of the term "water-weight". Well. water-weight is better than food-weight in my opinion. Water weight is gone after a couple trips to the gym. Anyways, I drink water like it's going out of style. You should be getting at least 64 oz a day, more once it gets hot out. Not only is water GREAT for you (clear eyes, rosy cheeks, supple skin), it's a great way to fend off hunger. I'd say at least 50% of the time I think I'm hungry I'm actually just thirsty. You see, the signals get mixed up inside our brains and thirst and hunger often come across as the same feeling. So, next time you feel like you need to snack, just reach for your water bottle. Chances are your cravings will be significantly diminished.

5. Learn to cook and experiment with eliminating things like oil, sugar, dairy, and meat. Today I cooked a completely fat free chow mein by using a few tbsp of water to sautee my veggies instead of my usual canola oil. Tasted the same, only maybe fresher because the veggies had a crispness that oil just doesn't allow. You can sub things like sugar free applesauce or agave nectar for a lot of things that call for sugar... and I'm not telling you not to eat dairy or meat but there are some really delicious vegan/vegetarian dishes out there. Cooking your own food makes the experience fun, and you know for sure exactly what you're putting into your body.

6. Tell your eyes to suck it. They no longer get to be bigger than your stomach. Serve your own food (this is easy if you're the one cooking it!), and when you do serve significantly less that you think you're actually going to eat. I'd say about half as much. When you're done eating, wait 15 minutes, and if youre really really still starving after that, then serve yourself a second, even smaller portion. We've all got this "i've got to finish everything on my plate" complex, and serving ourselves monstrous portions isn't doing anything for our health- or our figures. Also, it takes about 20 minutes for a minds to connect with our stomachs and start signaling to us that we're full... so if you don't stop eating until you're full that's 20 minutes too late! And 20 minutes from then you're going to feel it. Give your brain time to send you the signal... it's unlikely that a second helping will even be necessary.

7. Shrink your stomach. After years of eating until we're full instead of eating small portions and waiting to feel full, our stomachs have all been stretched out. In order to eat less and still feel satisfied, it's helpful to do something that will shrink your stomach back to its original size-of-your-fist self. In my opinion the most effective way to do this is the fast for 1-2 days by eating only fresh fruits and veggies or drinking only fresh fruit and veggie juice (along with water of course) throughout the day. It can also be done just by switching from large portions to small portions.

8. Make food an experience. Who doesn't love to eat, right? So if food is so great, why do we feel like we need to preoccupy ourselves with something else while we eat it? In many countries in Europe, dinner can go on for hours and hours, as small course upon small course is savored and shared. When you're watching tv, driving, doing homework, or surfing the internet you aren't concentrating on the food, so it's pretty likely you're just eating mindlessly. When you finish whatever you were eating, you won't really have enjoyed it because you weren't paying attention to it! Sit down to eat. Eat with friends and family. Eat small bites. "drink your food and chew your drink", as they say- meaning, chew your food long enough that its practically liquid and swirl your drink around in your mouth so you can really taste it. Savor and enjoy each and every bite... it will both help you to eat slowly and make eating way more enjoyable!

9. Eat slowly. Like I just said, savoring each bite will help you do this. It's so important. Put your fork down between each bite. Don't be constantly eating. Take a few moments to take in your surroundings or listen attentively to what the person you are with is saying. The slower you eat, the less you will eat by the time your mind sends you the I'm Full signal. Even if you end up eating the same amount, at least the enjoyable experience (the eating of the food) lasted longer.

10. Get invested. I think about food like, a million times a day. And then I think about going to the gym another million times. I'm so excited and passionate about keeping my body healthy and strong and beautiful! Make food and health important in your life, or all of this rules mamby pamby crap will just bum you out. Learn more. Research. Find out the facts about sugar and dairy and meat and the chemicals that are in so much of our food. Get passionate about creating healthy meals. Get excited over the happy healthy full feeling your body give you when you eat fresh food slowly and in small amounts! All of this stuff works, I use it every day. I guarantee you will feel loads and loads better. But, it's really up to you to want to make the difference and find something about health and food that makes you excited. Have fun and good luck!



  1. I've heard a few (or perhaps most) of these tips before, but I really like your commentary. You've put a lovely spin on them.

    I just wanted to let you know that being healthy is a thin that I've been working on and you're an individual I look up to. I appreciate having you as a "blog friend". =)

  2. Hey! I really loved this post, you have such great input. I've been getting headaches a lot lately, and even though I don't have refined sugar, I do eat a lot of fruit... probably way more than I do veggies. I should probably reverse that and see if something changes. Thanks for the great tips!!!