If you are feeling fat and tired, you may have grown up in the low-fat, eat less, Jane Fonda aerobics mindset. What was being taught from the 80s through the early 2000s, may be wrong. Learning a new way of eating healthy, based on science, may help you feel better and fit in your jeans.
Nutrition and diet info is everywhere! Each expert and association try to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Everyone has heard and maybe even been told by their physician that if you are gaining weight, you just need to eat less and exercise more. This intense focus on how much you eat has gotten way too much attention because while calories do matter and exercise has an effect on health, what you eat and drink as well as how you eat and drink it may be proving to be more important.
Feeling Fat and Tired, It May Be What You Eat?
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e.quantity) 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 that’s simply 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? After all, if you ever filled up by drinking only no-calorie soda pop all day, you may not have consumed any calories, but you probably felt fat and tired as well as bloated and lethargic.
Paying attention to the number of calories (although very hard to really know how much is in something you eat), and the number of carbs and fat you eat is not a bad thing. It just leaves the picture of healthy eating “fuzzy.”
Ideally, you need to eat a variety of minimally processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). I call it a whole foods way of eating. This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness. Eating whole foods can reduce your feeling of being fat and tired.
Every day this is what you should aim for:
- A colorful array of fruits and veggies 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 is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, enjoy a handful of nuts, 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
Do you 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? Have you ever found yourself with an empty plate and really don’t know what you ate?
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor 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.
Mindful eating can 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?
We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
Don’t forget about drinking your food. (Even if you make a smoothie, try to “chew” it and slow down, don’t just gulp it down.)
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.
Don’t get me wrong 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.
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 or a scoop of a quality protein powder. Read: 8 Ingredients to Avoid in Healthy Smoothies
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it and you may stop feeling so fat and tired.
Recipe: Chia Peach Green Smoothie
- a large handful or two of spinach (or any leafy green)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 banana
- 1 chopped peach
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1 scoop of protein powder
Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia seeds on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend). Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the non-dairy milk.
Blend, Serve and Enjoy! Remember this is a filling meal with protein, carbs, healthy fat, and fiber.
Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.
Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.
What do you think, do calories matter when it comes to losing weight and being healthy?