When you decide that you’re going to lose weight, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most people, you’ll start thinking of all the things you won’t be able to eat. Ever again. And then you’ll probably pound your fists in the dirt and pull a carrot from the ground and sob and say something really dramatic like, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” And you’ll probably give up before you even get started.
Let’s leave the drama to the Real Housewives and just relax. Of course you will have to cut some foods if you’re not eating right, but it’s not as big a deal as you think it will be. There are sugary foods and drinks that supply little to nothing in the way of nutritional value and offer you a whole load of calories in its place; there are foods that are high in fat (some healthy, some unhealthy, both also compensate you with plenty of calories); then there are the buzzword foods, such as gluten, lactose, GMOs, which everyone knows by now are big no-no’s but a lot of people don’t know why. For now, let’s just say if they’re swirling in the tornado of bad food buzzwords, you should probably avoid them.
But no matter what diet you’re on or what your lifestyle change plan may be, and no matter how different every body (and that is not a typo; I did mean that as two words: every body) is, there are certain things every body needs. And if you want to lose weight the healthy way, or more frankly stated, if you want to lose weight at all and keep it off, you have to get these four foods onto your plate and into your belly or your weight loss efforts will be for nothing. Fill up your daily personal menu with these foods first, and then you a: won’t be craving the junk so much and b: won’t have room for the junk anyway.
If you ditch these four foods, you’ll mess up your nutritional balance, and your body will try to compensate in all kinds of weird ways, none of which you’ll enjoy because sooner or later, regaining the weight will be inevitable. Case in point: When you don’t eat enough, your body fights back with a starvation response and stops giving up fat because frankly, it doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from, so that fat to your body is like those year-old ramen noodles in the back, back, back of the pantry are to a starving artist: You just have to keep them around to be safe. So no matter what type of diet or nutritional overhaul you’re considering, make sure these four foods are included in the plan. And if your diet guru tells you otherwise, well, give ‘em that sidelong look that says, “You did not just say that to me,” shake your head with an appropriate amount of theatrical dismay, and say very sweetly, “Well bless your heart,” and then hit the door and get on down the road.
Now, let’s get to those four foods you just fired your trainer/nutritionist/doctor/whomever for … good carbs, good fats, lean protein, and fiber-rich foods.
I always hated to label foods as “good” or “bad” because I think some counselor told me once that was an unhealthy attitude to have toward food. I seem to remember being told something along the lines of, “It’s just food. Quit being weird about it.” Something like that. Realistically, though, there really are good foods and bad foods. They just are what they are. And the “carbs are the devil” people may need to re-evaluate their position because all carbs are not alike. Your body needs “good carbs” for fuel so that it doesn’t rob Peter (your muscle) to pay Paul (your energy needs). The higher your percentage of muscle, the faster and better your metabolism will burn calories. So protect the muscle that you have, and build on it at every opportunity. Okay, I got a little sidetracked there … “good carbs” consist of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Things that grow out of the ground, essentially. “Oh, snap!” you say. “Bread is a grain! Therefore, I can have all the bread I want!” Not so fast, slick. When’s the last time you saw a slice of white bread sprout up from the ground? How about that macaroni tree? Rule of thumb: Does it come from planet earth or does it come from the little elves that live in a tree? Learn to differentiate between whole grains and refined, processed foods (which really are the devil in my food religion). Refined and processed anything pretty much qualifies as “bad.” But since we aren’t cave people, we’ll probably have to buy things off the shelf or out of the grocer’s freezer from time to time, so just know what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy, become a maniacal label reader to weed out the bad stuff, and you’ll do just fine.
If you’re a female over the age of 20, chances are that you’ve tried a low-fat diet at some point in your life. If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve probably tried it more than once. It’s easy … you just go to the store and buy anything that says “low-fat” on the label. Right? No, no, no, no, no … The low-fat diet works for some people, but not for most people, and those who are insulin-resistant can tell you that it’s an epic fail. You know us insulin-resistant types … we’re the ones who can’t even look at food without looking like we suddenly became six months pregnant. We’re the hard cases that you can usually spot from a block away because of all that visceral fat … “apple shape” is the socially polite word for it, I believe. We’re also probably on the road to Type 2 Diabetes if we don’t change our ways. So, forget low-fat, which all too often translates into high-sugar, and let’s concentrate on “good fat,” which is not only good for your waistline, but also good for your heart health and your cholesterol levels. Remember “mono” and “poly.” Those are the two fats you want. Make a mnemonic out of it to help you remember that, such as “Everyone caught mono except Polly because she ate her healthy fats.” I know that’s lame, but it’s late, and I bet you’ll remember it anyway. How about this one: “We don’t like trans fats because they transfer fat to our thighs?” Yeah, well, anyway …
So where do you get these mono and poly fats? Nuts, seeds, fish (wild caught fish and shellfish are healthiest), avocados, and good choices of cooking oils, such as sunflower, walnut, olive, peanut, and sesame. There seems to be some dust-up recently about whether or not canola oil is healthy, so I’ll omit that as a recommendation for now. But I’m not going to say it’s bad, either. Mayo Clinic says, “Health concerns about canola oil are unfounded.” So if you’re concerned about the safety of canola oil, I suggest researching it until you come to a comfortable conclusion. However, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true! So make sure your sources are trustworthy before you make a final decision.
Not just any old meat will do for this important source. This is high octane fuel, baby! Protein takes its sweet time through the digestion process, keeping you satiated longer. Sated or satiated? Anyway, it makes you feel full and provides sustained energy. When you feel full and energetic, you’ll be less likely to run to the vending machines for your afternoon wake-up soda and candy bar. When shopping for meat, look for the word “lean” on the label. That’s important. Lean meats include chicken, turkey, and fish (notice how fish serves double duty as a protein source and a source of good fat? Score!) Eggs are also a great source of protein (keep an eye on that cholesterol, though), and for non-animal sources of protein, choose beans or quinoa, which is really cool to eat just so you can say out loud that you ate it. “I had keen-wah for lunch today.” There’s no way you can say that sentence and not sound totally hip and cool.
And then there’s fiber, which you never want to be caught without. It’s nature’s roto-rooter for your pipes. Without it, you’re going to be facing a major clog, and it won’t be pretty. So to keep things moving, incorporate fiber-rich whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose pretty fruits and veggies that will make a pretty plate. I love pretty food. In fact, I swear by it. Though you may be tempted to juice those fruits and veggies, be aware that while you’ll retain the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, you will lose the majority of the fiber to the compost pile—or garbage disposal, whichever way you handle your scraps after juicing. Fiber also has the same secret weapon as protein: You will feel full longer after eating fiber-rich foods, and you won’t be so tempted to pack away sugary snacks an hour after you eat. Make procuring your fruits and veggies an adventure. Go to the Farmer’s Market, grow your own … whatever makes fresh produce appealing to you, I beseech you to do it!
So the moral of this whole late-night rambling is this: The more you focus your energy on the things you MUST eat to lose weight, the less you’ll be consumed by what you MUST NOT eat. It’s a little mind trickery, but if it works, so be it. Especially with Plexus Slim to take the edge off your cravings and balance your blood glucose levels, along with ProBio 5 and BioCleanse to get your gut health back into fighting condition, you won’t want to do anything to mess things up again.
Clean eating really is easier than you think. Once you get a dose of feeling amazerful inside and out—especially when those jeans go from “uggggh, that hurts!” to “aaahhh, they’re loose,” your belly stops hurting every time you eat, your energy is smooth and even, and the words “food coma” leave your vocabulary, then you’ll start to see what feeling good really means. And you’ll want to hang on to it. It isn’t a life of deprivation that you’re facing, it’s a lifetime (and probably an even longer one, at that) of being free from food duress. Plus, your body will be primed to be a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. It just takes practice, baby steps, a few deep breaths here and there while you get the hang of it, and these four foods, and it gets much, much easier after that. Now start practicing the word “keen-wah” until it rolls off the tongue. You got this!