I know what it is to be overweight and have no clue how to eat well. I was two years post-baby hauling around an extra 35 pounds, eating SpaghettiO’s and drinking Coca-Cola. I didn’t like how I looked or how I felt. Then I was introduced to a brand new concept. Food as fuel for my body. I was a college educated 25 year old mother but that concept really hadn’t sunk in before.
I began to read. A lot (see below for a suggested reading list). When I began to understand what that processed food and refined sugar was doing to my body it suddenly wasn’t quite so appetizing anymore. I never went on a “diet”. I never counted calories or starved myself. I did begin to consider if what I was putting in my mouth was giving my body what it needed to function well. The pounds melted off and I’ve stayed at a healthy weight for almost 25 years now.
Dr. Diana Schwarzbein says in her books (see reading list below) that you don’t lose weight to get healthy. First you get healthy and then you’ll lose weight. That was certainly true in my case.
I still strive to improve my diet, I struggle with getting enough veggies and fish into my system, but it’s about improving the fuel now, not losing weight. And it’s always – always – about it tasting good. Food is one of life’s great pleasures. Eating well doesn’t have to change that.
Moderation in all things, including moderation.
Like we all do, I overindulge once in a while. Typically around my birthday which is in December. Too many dinners out. Too many holiday cookies. I don’t beat myself up over it. It wasn’t good for me but it tasted great and that’s ok once in a while. It shows up in how I feel and on the scale. It’s not a chore to get back to how I usually eat. I start to feel like crap when I don’t eat well. So by this time of year I’m looking forward to again focusing on eating better (note, not eating less). I know I’ll soon be back to feeling like my old self and my typical number will reappear on the scale.
Now, I’m not saying you can eat all the healthy food you want, especially as we get older. But I’m saying before you focus on how much or how little food you’re eating, focus first on quality. See what happens when you pay attention to “what” and not so much on “how much”. If you’re eating quality food but the pounds aren’t coming off then evaluate if you’re eating too much. If that’s the case try first to simply eat slower. Put your fork down between bites. Pay attention to the wonderful tastes and textures in your mouth. Chew your food and let your mouth do its job, which is to prepare your food for the rest of your digestive system. I’ve found for myself that this allows my brain to stay in tune with my stomach. I end up eating less but I never feel hungry or unsatisfied.
So, what do you eat?
I’m not a registered dietitian. I have no formal training in nutrition. It is, however, a personal passion and I’ve been successful at taking and keeping off my extra weight. More than that I’m healthy. My blood profiles are excellent. I don’t get sick. I feel good. So, for what it’s worth here is my page on how I eat.
If you’re just starting your journey towards eating better, or if you’re already on that path and just looking for some new information, here’s my recommended reading list:
- Patrick Holford’s The New Optimum Nutrition Bible This is my go-to reference for all things nutritional. Bible is the right word too, this is an in-depth resource, not a quick read. I haven’t read it yet, but I just ordered his new book: The 10 Secrets Of Healthy Ageing: How to live longer, look younger and feel great
- Not convinced your nutrition has a huge impact? I double-dog-dare you to read this book and still think that: Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition
- Michael Pollan’s two must reads: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
- I don’t agree with everything in this book, but it’s an easy read with some good basic healthy eating info. The 8-Hour Diet: Watch the Pounds Disappear Without Watching What You Eat!
- The Schwarzbein Principle II: The “Transition” – A Regeneration Program to Prevent and Reverse Accelerated Aging
- The book that started it all for me: Getting Thin: All About Fat–How You Get It, How You Lose It, How You Keep It Off for Good