Whenever I see people who haven’t seen me since I was overweight always ask “how did you do it?” Even after answering this question probably 100 times, I still don’t have an answer that’s concise and to the point. That’s because, as I’ve explained in past posts, there is no simple answer. I tried a lot of different things…some worked really well, some didn’t work for me at all, even though they have worked wonders for other people. Once I tell people that I avoid gluten, pasteurized dairy (although I’ve begun to learn the benefits—and controversies—surrounding raw dairy and I was intrigued enough to try raw milk), and refined sugar their faces kind of fall and they say “Oh…well I could never do all of that. I guess I will never reach my goals.”
This is not the case!
Just because this is what worked for me does not mean that it will work for everyone; or that there aren’t other ways to approach your own individual weight loss and health goals that will give you great results. Everybody’s bodies, lifestyles, and needs are different and while all of the dietary theories out there work for someone, they most definitely are not all appropriate for everyone. Obviously there are some common threads among all theories and reported studies concerning diet: eat real, whole foods. Eat more veggies and whole grains. Drink water. Reduce the junk. These are all givens that no one needs a holistic health practitioner or even Western medical doctor or nutritionist/dietician to tell them. I don’t know too many people who are not aware that real foods are healthier than processed foods.
It’s all a matter of method:
How are we going to incorporate more of these healthier foods into our busy lifestyles while taking all other health history and lifestyle factors into consideration? How do we know which foods are best for us and which don’t work for our individual bodies? How do we know which ones to even try? Where do I by these foods? How do I prepare them? How do I get my family on board? How can I travel or eat out and still eat healthy foods? How will I know if something is working or not? These are all questions that get answered along the journey. And often, more questions arise as our bodies and ways of thinking change. It’s an ongoing process and wonderful learning experience that can be very rewarding.
This is why I like to work with my clients for at least 3 to 6 months…it gives us the time to work through these questions and make sure the answers are understood and able to be applied to daily life. It also gives us the opportunity to re-assess when necessary, since people’s needs tend to change as their health and lives improve.
So what do I eat personally?
Instead of writing a very long explanation of what I eat and why I eat it (because I have found that it works for my body), I thought I would take the suggestion of one of my readers, Sara. Sara thought it would be cool if I did a post about what I eat on a typical day. Remember, this is what I have found works really well for me. This is no way intended to be dietary recommendations for each of you reading this…I only make personalized recommendations to clients who I am working with in my 6 month program after I have gained a thorough understanding of what’s going on with them. But I thought it would be interesting for you anyway to see how I eat on a typical day. By typical, I mean when I am at home and I have full control over the food available to me.
I have never been a breakfast eater. I know many people believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day and love to indulge on big, heavy breakfasts that they believe they have the rest of the day to “work off.” That is one theory. There are several others out there, and many contradict this theory completely. Heavy breakfasts just don’t work for my body. I don’t digest heavy foods well in the morning and have learned this after trying other types of foods that made me feel much better and more energized. What works for me is beginning the day a big glass of room temperature water followed by a mug of warm water with juice from about half a lemon. I drink this slowly and take my morning supplements with it. If I feel like I am fighting off a bug I steep some fresh ginger with the lemon and water. I follow that with a large glass of my green smoothie (made from whichever fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits I happen to have on hand that week). I drink this slowly, and usually have another glass of water or some white or green tea before lunch. I am never hungry between breakfast and lunch. If I skip my lemon water and smoothie it throws me off for the rest of the day. I even travel with lemons and frozen smoothies…I went to Maine for 5 days last summer and brought a cooler full of lemons and mason jars of smoothies and it worked out just fine.
For lunch I enjoy a salad (usually just lettuce like romaine or arugula) with one of my homemade dressings usually followed by one of my soups. I love soup any time of year…I make warm hearty ones in colder weather and enjoy lighter chilled gazpacho-like soups in the summer. I used to load my soups up with pasta but since I went gluten-free I either enjoy them with smaller amounts of brown rice pasta or plain brown rice or quinoa. If I’m not having soup, I enjoy a warm grains dish. If I am in a rush, I might do a large portion of one of my warm vegetable and greens salads.
I tend to have my biggest meal for dinner. Again…this is what I found works best for me. I start with a really big salad (and I mean really big) followed by maybe a gluten-free pasta dish, veggie and whole grains stir-fry, large portion of one of my soups with whole grains or gluten-free pasta, or chicken over warm greens.
Afternoon or evening snack:
Yes I still do snack sometimes in the afternoons and evenings. I usually expend more energy later in the day than I do in the morning (driving kids around, working, running errands, exercising, etc.) so I do like a little something. My favorite snack is seed crackers (love Mary’s Gone Crackers) or raw veggies with hummus or babaganouj.
I also enjoy organic air-popped popcorn with a touch of Himalayan salt and black truffle oil (got this idea from Square 1682…a great restaurant in downtown Philly with a fantastic vegetarian tasting menu option). I also like a small square or two of organic dark chocolate from time to time as well (I like 72% cacao, dairy-free, sweetened with natural sugar alternatives), and gluten-free organic chips with fresh salsa. Mind you I don’t eat all of these at once…and I usually only snack once a day…either between lunch and dinner or in the evening while I am winding down. Again I know this breaks some “rules” about how to eat…many people say not to eat after 7 pm or not to snack at all…others say to snack several times throughout the day. This is what happens to work for me.
So those are some examples of how I eat on a typical day at home. I am not “perfect” by any means with my diet, but I do try to maintain my 80/20 rule: eat mindfully 80% of the time (which is usually when I am home) and if I happen to eat “off-plan” the other 20% of the time I don’t sweat it.
Do you need help figuring out what works for you? Schedule a one-on-one HH Hash it Out phone or Skype session with me today.