There are two things that universally connect all of us; our insecurities/body issues and emotional connection to food – positive or not. What I’m getting to is that whether you love your body, hate it – look after it, or don’t, each and everyone of us is constantly on a journey to find the food and lifestyle that our bodies and mind love the most. We’re constantly learning, and beginning to explore a healthier way of living is just the first step.
When I speak to my readers at events or via email, the most common reason for people changing their diet is to do with weight. Whether they want to loose weight and tone up, or gain weight and get back to having a balanced healthy body. Before eating this way I had tons of weight issues, and was constantly confused as to how to just look great, feel good in my own skin and be healthy. It sounds so easy on paper doesn’t it?! I went from eating absolute rubbish and being heavier then I wanted to be, to loosing lots of weight and looking the very opposite. How could I eat well, feel like I wasn’t just eating salad and maintain a healthy weight? The problem is that with so much information out there it’s so hard to know what to believe. I thought it would be a really great idea to put this blog post together to share what I’ve learned through my trials and tribulations, and show that really, at the heart of it (whether you’re looking to gain or loose weight), the answer is the same – eat plant based, natural foods in abundance and your body knows the rest. I’ve gone into a little more detail below, in the hope that it will help some of you too.
MY ADVICE TO LOOSE WEIGHT AND FEED YOURSELF FIT
Loosing weight is never the funnest thing to have to do, I’ve been there and it can really be pretty draining. Not only are you limiting the amount of energy your body’s used to, but you’re having to be stricter on those ‘naughty foods’ you now can’t indulge in. If you’re 50/50 when it comes to eating good food and more indulgent richer foods, then simply overhauling your diet entirely is going to reap huge benefits. However, if you’re already a wellness-guru then it can be a little harder. I’ve recently met quite a few people who eat entirely vegan, they’re gluten free, refined sugar free and adore raw food – yet, they are putting more weight on now than before they changed their diet. How can this be? I’m sure you’ve heard millions of bloggers say that when you eat healthily, you can eat as much as you want and never put on a pound.. well, that’s a load of…….gluten (wink, wink). Whilst I’ll be the first to say no two calories are equal, it is still so important that when you do eat healthily to make sure you have a really varied diet. Just because your meal may be vegan and sugar free doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you! So many vegan foods and ready meals are really processed, and super high in starchy carbohydrates and oils.
Foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruit are a really great source of protein, vitamins & minerals – but can be over-done too, and I see this trend constantly as it’s so easily done. Having both at every meal and snack can be pretty excessive, so in general I try to have them both once or twice a day. Natural sweeteners, are much better for you, but another food that healthista’s can also tend to over-do because we all say they’re so good for you. I always think of natural sweeteners as a much healthier alternative for refined sugar, but never as an equivalent to a green powder!
Keeping veggies and plant based protein up is really important, as is limiting sugars and keeping your water consumption up.
Raid all the nasties out of your kitchen and pimp your cupboard with good nourishing food! You know what they say, if it’s there you’ll eat it.
Eat with people. It sounds silly but when you eat on your own you tend to rush it, chew faster, eat more and generally just not enjoy your meal as much. Take time to really sit down and enjoy what you’re eating!
If you use food as a stress or anxiety coping mechanism, put something in place to stop you from doing so. You know that feeling when you’re having writers block and you just open the fridge and stare at the contents? Instead of going for food, phone a friend, take a walk, have a camomile tea.
Get you’re friends and family involved, and make meals together. There’s nothing better than having the support from those you love!
MY ADVICE TO GAIN WEIGHT AND BALANCE YOUR BODY
There’s so much information out there on how to loose weight, but so little about how to gain weight in a healthy way. It seems obvious, just eat a lot? But eating rubbish, isn’t going to do your mind, body or soul any good. Most people in the position of needing to gain weight have found themselves in that place from a mis-understanding of food, and helping to balance your body always starts with the mind. Re-learning about food, and particularly the benefits of different foods and food groups is the most important foundation for making changes. If you’ve read the ‘About me,’ you’ll know that whether you eat a car load of junk food or in fact nothing at all, the first thing to do is learn about the why of food; why we need it, why different foods do different things and why are bodies process some foods better than others. After truly understanding the importance of nourishment, you can enjoy the fun part – you get to give your body even more goodness than normal. Fats are amazing for helping you boost your energy intake, foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut and oils in abundance are really important at every meal and snack. Not all carbohydrates are fattening, Low GI carbs such as Quinoa, brown rice, millet, oats and buckwheat all help give you a toned athletic body. Again an abundance of both these food groups, Carbohydrates and Fats, are really, really important to re-store healthy bodily function, and get you feeling energised and happier then ever.
Sometimes when we set ourselves physical goals we forget the mental challenge that will inevitably in-sue. Be prepared and think of ways you can stay on track! When i’m trying to get into tip top shape, I use apps like Fitness Pal. This is a sort of calorie counter app, but you don’t have to use it as one, for me the benefits are that i can enter in what i’m going to cook and eat for the week so i don’t have to make any last minute decisions that lead to unhealthy choices, or missing meals!
Keep positive! If you’re under pressure to build up your body again, but aren’t so sure how you’re going to do it – give yourself a break and trust. Food should never be deprived, and should be used as a tool to enhance every aspect of your life: energy levels, mood, athleticism…the list goes on!
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes perseverance, strength and a whole lot of support. If you have a bad day, get a good night’s sleep, wake up and start afresh the next day.
Sharing your journey on social media is another amazing way to keep yourself motivated, and trust me your journey to the healthiest you is a million times funner when you can share it with those like-minded people that know what you’re going through!
I hope this post has really helped some of you that may be trying to figure out exactly what the next step is on your journey to the healthiest, happiest you. If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments below or go over to my Instagram @naturallysassy__ and ask me there!