The word “diet” has become synonymous with a short-term eating pattern that is done briefly to bring about rapid results. We encourage lifestyle changes that involve eating patterns that become part of your life forever. We do acknowledge that it may take time to make these changes and do not recommend doing the change all at once unless you have a significant medical issue that requires drastic changes to improve your quality of life or even save your life. We use the word eating pattern to avoid confusion with short-term “diets”. Your eating pattern is holistic in nature – body, mind, heart, and spirit. It is not simply what you eat and when, but for what reasons.
Standard American Diet is addictive. The SAD is full of hyperpalatable foods, which are foods deliberately engineered in such a way that they stimulate the reward centers in the brain to a much higher degree than traditional foods. Food chemists achieve this by making the products with increased levels of fat, sugar, flavors, and food additives. The foods are engineered to be ADDICTIVE because they increase cravings, leading to you buying more and eating more, which causes a vicious cycle!
What is the Standard American Diet?
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is predominately make up of refined, processed, and packaged “foods” and drinks. We want our food fast, convenient, cheap, and easy. In order to make them fast, convenient, easy and to taste good, they are high in sugar, salt, artificial flavors, preservatives, and other additives. The oils are refined so that food that contains them will last longer. These foods are deficient of many of the nutrients that are necessary for optimal functioning of the body. Some of this is because the soil the plant is grown in has been over planted and contains less nutrients; some of this is because the food is processed with chemicals that remove the nutrients. To compound things further, low-fat foods have been recommended by health professionals for 2 generations now. In order to make foods low-fat, sugar and salt are added so that the foods taste good. The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour each year. The SAD is low in vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole grains.
- High in animal fats
- High in unhealthy fats: saturated, hydrogenated
- Low in fiber
- High in processed foods
- Low in complex carbohydrates
- Low in plant-based foods
Lunch a frozen dinner fit in between meetings, or sandwich & chips, or hamburger & fries and a soft drink
Afternoon snack because you are starving and tired of candy bar and/or soda from vending machine
Dinner: packaged rice, meat, canned vegetable, and rolls.
Evening snack: packaged cookies & milk or ice cream
It is the typical diet for the typical American. And it is leading to a large number of diseases, disorders, and deaths. Diseases affiliated with eating SAD, include but are not limited to: Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Auto-immune disorder, cancer and MORE! We have been led to believe that many of these foods are healthy, and the ones that we know aren’t healthy have been made so addictive and convenient that they really are hard to resist!
In the next sections, we will be offering you guidelines and recommendations for what a Healthy Diet is. We will discuss that a balance of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (YES FAT!) is vital for optimal functioning of our bodies and minds! We know that some of this may challenge what you have heard about food before. We presume that if you are reading this material, what you have been doing isn’t working, so give it a go for a while!
The government produces Dietary Guidelines every 5 year. The most recent update was in 2015 and extends through 2020. This set of guidelines focuses on SHIFTing from refined, processed foods to nutrient dense foods and beverages.
high calorie, non-nutritious snacks→ nutrient dense snacks
fruit products with added sugar→ whole Fruit
Refined Grains → whole grains
snacks with added sugar → unsalted snacks
solid, saturated fats→oils
beverages with added sugars → No sugar-added beverages
Of note, these guidelines:
removed cholesterol limits in foods, which added eggs and shellfish as approved source of food
No longer advocates low -fat eating pattern
Specifies limiting added sugar to 10% of daily diet (10-12 teaspoons of sugar),
Offered The Mediterranean Diet and Vegetarian Diet as Healthy Alternative Eating Patterns.
Their overall 5 recommendations for a healthy eating pattern include:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.
What is your relationship to food and eating? Is it a nourishing relationship? A love-hate relationship? An adversarial relationship? An addictive relationship? One of convenience or comfort? Does it seem strange to even be talking about our relationship with food at all?
After all food is intended to nourish the body, to provide the nutrients it needs to repair and replenish the cells for optimal functioning. Yet for many of us, food represents so much more. Some may have developed an emotional connection with our food! The food we eat may be a status symbol! It may be a way of connecting or disconnecting with others! Meals are often a gathering place for friends and family! We have food for festive events: birthdays, weddings, Thanksgiving, religious holidays.
Do you have comfort foods that make you happy? Do you ever find yourself reaching for this comfort food when you feel stressed, anxious and even excited? Have you ever used comfort food as a way NOT to feel stress, freedom, anxiety or joy? If so, what types of food are comfort foods for you? We crave certain types of foods because they can cause a release of hormones in the brain and body that causes feelings of happiness and euphoria. This can become a habitual, even addictive pattern!
This country is blessed with an abundance of food. We learn from an early age how to relate to food whether it be through our parents, our culture, TV, etc. What were you taught about food as a child or as a teenage girl or young adult? Were you taught as a child to eat all that was on your plate? Can you relate to the humorous message by Weird Al Yankovic “Eat It”?
How do we fit in meals when our schedules are so full? Can you relate to any of the following behaviors?
Fitting meals in quickly between or during other tasks.
Scarfing down a meal before going to an appointment because you know you will be hungry soon and won’t be able to wait until the appointment is over.
Relying on convenient prepackaged food that can be prepared quickly or relying on fast food.
Eating out because you don’t want to add another chore to your to do list.
Did you know that it takes our stomachs 20 minutes to communicate to our brains that we are full? So if we’re eating in a hurry, we may be eating more than our body needs and we may not be digesting the food well. This can lead to putting on extra pounds and in some cases obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
We receive lots of messages about food. We see commercials on TV that are designed to make us want food. We read labels and articles on foods that tell what is healthy and unhealthy. Many of the messages are contradictory and confusing! We rarely listen to our bodies when it comes to food and eating! We invite you to start becoming aware of the relationship you have with food. Begin to notice any judgments you have about yourself and food. By building awareness, we can gradually begin to identify what no longer works for us and begin new action that will bring us closer to our goals! We will work on this more in the Live & Create the Alternatives section of this module!
We have been taught for several decades that our genes determine what our bodies will look like, what diseases we will have, and that we have little to no control over that. But science is evolving and demonstrating that that is only partly true. We are learning that genes are turned on and off by things in the environment. This is a field called epigenetics.
Food is one of the most impactful environmental component that turns genes on and off. Food is information that the body uses to determine what response the body should have inwardly and outwardly. This is the study of nutrigenomics.
Our genetics have evolved little since our times as hunter-gatherers, several thousand years ago. Our bodies are designed to eat what the earth provided at that time, an abundance of plants, some meat and fish. We walked regularly, with higher intensity activities in short bursts. Our genetics simply has not caught up with the significant changes in our lifestyles, especially the changes in our food supply! A diet of mostly plants with healthy proteins and fats turns on genes for optimal health, while the SAD of processed foods turns on the genes for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune disease, cancer, and more.
We genetically evolved to crave sugar, fat and salt because there was a scarcity of those nutrients during that time. Our bodies have amazing mechanisms for processing these nutrients when they are provided in balance. We now have an over-abundance of foods that contain sugar, fat, and salt – and the more out body has these the more it craves, leading to addictive behaviors.
Knowledge and awareness are powerful! Food can be medicine, or it can be poison that leads to disease! In the last section, we talked about our relationship with food – how our minds and hearts use food for comfort, pleasure, fulfillment, and many others. In this section, we learned that our bodies are programmed for a different lifestyle than the one most of us live. As you proceed through the next sections, begin to adopt the mindset Food is fuel and medicine for the body. If this was the mindset that was the basis of your food choices, what food choices would you make?
All carbohydrates break down into sugar. What foods contain carbohydrates? Vegetables, fruits, grains, breads, chips, cookies, French fries. Some of these foods have complex carbohydrates and starches that are broken down into simple sugars by the body. 80% of processed foods have added sugar, particularly those described as low-fat. Sugar is everywhere and it is making us very sick, fat, and hungry.
Anytime we eat a food that contains carbohydrates or protein (or a combination of the two), our body releases insulin. Insulin is a hormone released by an organ called the pancreas. Insulin is like a gate-keeper that allow the cells to use the glucose and amino acids (from protein) that are now floating in the blood stream. Insulin activates the gate that allows glucose and amino acids into the cells, especially muscle cells.
When there is more glucose in the blood than the cells can use, insulin activates the liver to store it as starch and fat. When there is no space in the liver to store the extra fat, it then is transported and stored in fat cells around the abdominal organs, then other areas of the body (hips, butt, and breasts). This is a genetic survival mechanism that was created when food was scarce and we may go long periods without food. Now we have an abundance of food, especially foods containing carbohydrates.
When blood sugar levels “crash” cortisol is also released to support the body in raising the blood sugar again. This ongoing cycle may result in fatigue, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, appetite dysregulation, hormonal imbalances, and irritability.
Over time, with an abundance of sugar floating in the system, our bodies become resistant to insulin. The pancreas releases more and more insulin, and the body becomes more and more resistant to insulin. We begin to store even more sugar as fat. This becomes a vicious cycle that, if continued, will result in Metabolic Syndrome and Type II diabetes.
To complicate things further, foods that contain predominately refined carbohydrates may not signal the hormone that stops us from eating!
There are over 100 names for sugar in processed foods. A brief list is below. Use this list to identify more!
- Any name ending in “ose” or “ol” or “syrup”
- Sucrose – refined crystalized sugar of glucose and fructose combined; table sugar
- Fructose – simple sugar found in fruits
- Glucose/Dextrose – fruits, vegetables, honey
- Lactose – simple sugar found in milk and dairy products
- Maltose – simple sugar from grains, often found in malted drinks/beer
- Brown sugar – refined sugar coated with molasses or colored with caramel
- Corn syrup – manufactured syrp of corn starch, containing glucose, maltose, and dextrose
- High-fructose corn syrup – highly concentrated syrup of predominately fructose
- Maltodextrin – a manufactured sugar from maltose and dextrose
Sugar, Hyperpalatable Foods are ADDICTIVE
Our brains LOVE sugar! We have evolved to crave sugar, as it is relatively rare in nature. Our brains use a large amount of glucose. Having an over-abundance of sugar can lead to addictive qualities. Dopamine and opioids are chemicals naturally produced int he body that are associated with reward and pleasure, and ultimately addictions! The image above shows the dopamine response in the brain when exposed to sugar and cocaine! More dopamine is released with sugar than cocaine! Watch this video [Confessions of a Sugar Addict] to learn more (10 minutes)!
One study evaluated people’s perceptions of foods as addictive or not. 92% indicated they experienced addictive-like behavior with certain foods. They reported experiencing that they wanted to and “should” stop eating the foods.
Hyperpalatable foodstuff has been engineered to produce pleasure in the consumer and drive him/her to eat more than they wanted to and seek the food in the future! The most foods that have been rated as most addictive have flour, fat, sugar, salt, & chemical additives (caffeine, MSG, apartame):
- Ice Cream
- French fries
- Fried Chicken
- White Bread
Other resources you might be interested in:
Sugar-the elephant in the kitchen
Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines
The Addiction Potential of Hyperpalatable Foods
So we can just replace the sugar with an artificial sweetener, right? Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners have been linked to weight gain, obesity, metabolic disorders (including diabetes), headaches, and vision problems. The body has not adapted to know that artificial sweeteners are not really sugar and to not respond to the artificial the way it does to sugar. Sugar substitutes cause an insulin spike as though real sugar has been eaten. The body senses the sweet taste sends signals to the pancreas to release insulin thinking real sugar is on the way. Because there is no new sugar to interact with, there is even more of a crash at the bottom. Over time, just like with real sugars, this leads to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. These sweeteners also increase the prevalence of “bad” bacteria in the gut and reduce “good” bacteria.
Saccharin [Sweet’n Low]; Aspartame [Equal, NutraSweet, Canderel]; Sucralose [Splenda]; Neotame; Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K); Advantame
Sugar Alcohols are a more “natural” alternative to artificial sweeteners. They are derived from real sugar and may have less impact on insulin levels. Some include: Xylitol, Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Erythritol. These alcohols are not fully absorbed and become fermented by the bacteria in the gut which may cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other gut health issues.
Following a healthy eating pattern is simple, but not necessarily easy. Here is a healthy eating pattern:
Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
Non-Starchy Vegetables as 50-75% of your plate
Eat Protein, healthy fat, and healthy carbohydrates at each meal
Eat when hungry. Stop when full.
Choose Nutrient Dense Foods over nutrient poor, processed foods.
Aim for a variety of colors of vegetables in each week. Not just green, but green, red, orange, purple, blue.
We provide additional information about these topics in the remainder of this module. We provide you with tools and support in making this eating pattern YOUR lifestyle in the Creating & Living the Alternatives section of this module.
We start with healthy fats for a reason. We live in a culture where fat has been vilified as the cause of heart disease. For decades, the US government recommended a low-fat diet. Thus, healthcare providers across the nation followed suit. Our obesity and diabetes rates skyrocketed! Increasingly research is proving that a low-fat diet is detrimental to our health. In its 2015 recommendations, the US government quietly removed the recommendation to follow a low-fat diet, as you learned earlier in this module.
When the fat is removed from our foods and diet, it is often replaced with carbohydrate based food. The unintended consequence of the low-fat diet, was the advent of added sugar in our foods. When the fat is removed from food, other additives are added to make the foods more palatable – especially sugar and salt.
Not all fats are created equally. There are fats that make you sick!!! Processed oils, like those found in packaged foods, margarine, cooking oils/sprays, and many vegetable oils are not as healthy as we once thought! How the oils are produced is a huge part of what makes them healthy or not. Look for extra virgin or expeller pressed versions of oils. These oils are not treated with heat, leaving the healthy oil intact!
In this section, we will discuss how fat is important for the optimal functioning of our bodies and what fats are considered healthy.
Why is Fat important in our diet?
Fat is necessary to create the hormones that maintain normal function throughout the body, including:
cortisol to manage stress
thyroid hormone to manage metabolism
Serotonin/Dopamine to manage mood and neurological function
estrogen/testosterone to manage menstrual cycles and libido.
Fat is required to absorb fat soluble vitamins.
Fats influence our risk of heart disease by influencing our lipid and cholesterol levels
Fat is satiating! Fat tastes good and we feel full longer with foods that contain fat. Fat makes food more rich and pleasurable leading to more satiation.
Avocado (oil) – Olives – Extra virgin olive oil – Nuts and seeds – Extra virgin coconut oil – Organic coconut milk – Whole organic eggs – Fatty fish – Grass-fed lamb, bison, beef – Organic, pastured poultry
Improving omega 6:3 ratio
Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that influence our health and well-being. Learn more in this video!
Olive and Avocado Oil
Oleic Acid is an Omega9 essential fatty acid found in Olive Oil and Avocado Oil. Olive oil is a large component of the highly recommended Mediterranean Eating Pattern, where those following this eat upwards of 1 quart of Olive Oil each WEEK.
Reducing triglycerides and LDL
Lower risk of cancer
Improvement of autoimmune and inflammatory disease
Improved circulatory function
Improve hormone balance
Supports the immune system
Simple ways to add these oils to your diet:
Add a tablespoon to a smoothie.
Drizzle over a salad.
Use it as a marinade for grilling meat.
Include it when baking.
Use it in homemade mayo.
Drizzle it over vegetables before roasting.
Top hummus off with it.
Drizzle it over cold soups, such as gazpacho.
Healthy Saturated Fat
Saturated fats have been the most vilified of the fats. These fats are generally solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are found in plant and animal sources. Consumption of saturated fat has been associated with heart disease. What research is finding is that refined carbohydrates and sugar have a larger impact on this than saturated fats.
Not all saturated fats are created equal! Saturated fats from grass fed animals have a different effect on the body than those fed grains and corn. Unrefined saturated fats from plant sources, like coconut and palm , have been shown to have tremendous health benefits.
Here is some information on Extra Virgin or Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids which are metabolized differently than other fats in the body. The benefits of Coconut oil are:
Easier to digest
Not readily stored as fat, readily used by the body as fuel
Anti-microbial and Anti-fungal
Supports gut health when substituted for sugar and processed foods
Improved hormone balance (testosterone, cortisone, human growth hormone)
Balance Lipid levels – Increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and Reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
Improves memory and brain function
Improves energy and endurance
Increases calcium and fat soluble vitamin absorption
Improves Weight Loss, builds muscle and reduces body fat
Increases collagen production in skin and bones, improves cellulite
Diseases that Coconut Oil has been proven to improve or prevent:
Heart Disease/High Blood Pressure
Type II Diabetes
Urinary Tract & Kidney infections
Candidal (yeast) infections
Simple ways to add Coconut Oil to your diet:
Add it to your Coffee or Tea
Use coconut MILK (has coconut oil in it) in smoothies [oil itself difficult in cold smoothies because stays solid – consider melting oil or using MCT oil which is made from coconut oil]
Use it in place of oils for cooking, frying, broiling and baking
Coconut flakes in trail mix
Add to broths/soups
It can also be used as a lotion! It is great for dry skin and preventing exacerbations of eczema, dermatitis, and skin infections! It is great for wound healing!
50-75% of your plate should be from vegetables and other low glycemic carbohydrates. The healthiest forms of carbohydrates are found in low glycemic vegetables and fruits. Beyond providing carbohydrates, these foods offer a variety of vitamins and minerals that support the optimal functioning of the body. Avoid processed, refined carbohydrates.
Guess what? Our bodies don’t need sugar from an external source. Our bodies evolved to deal with relatively small amounts of sugar that are found naturally in the wild. Sugar is not an essential nutrient. Our bodies make glucose all the time through a process called gluconeogenesis. A hormone called glucagon is released by the pancreas to break down starches stored in the liver. We are also able to make sugar from protein. We can also fuel our bodies on fat.
Tips for selection of optimal carbohydrates:
Choose Whole, fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season are whenever possible.
Choose a rainbow of vegetables and fruits each WEEK to maximize your vitamin/mineral intake. Yellow/Orange, Green, Purple/Blue, Red, White. The vitamins and minerals are what makes the food the colors they are!
Store-bought frozen are healthy options when they have no added sauces, sugar, preservatives, etc. These are often frozen at peak ripeness when they are most nutritious
Only purchase canned as a last choice. These are usually heat processed resulting in less vitamins/minerals.
Note that tropical fruits and grapes are
The video below discusses glycemic index and glycemic load, which support you in choosing the vegetables and fruits that are healthiest for you!
Look for a free app to download on your phone for the glycemic index ratings of food. There are some paid apps for GL available as well.
You may notice that we have not mentioned bread. Bread, even when it is called whole grain, is often one of the most process foods we eat AND generally has a high glycemic index/load. When choosing bread, get breads that you see whole kernels and seeds throughout the bread. Consider gluten free breads. If choosing bread, consider open-faced or half sandwiches, using only 1 slice. Always eat bread with a healthy protein to reduce the impact on your blood sugar.
Proteins are broken down by the body to make amino acids and used in every cell in the body! Amino acids help keep our blood sugar stable, are essential components of hormones, enzymes, and anti-bodies, and are used to make MUSCLE! Protein in our diet helps us feel full and keeps us from over-eating. Some amino acids are ESSENTIAL, meaning that the body cannot produce them. They must be obtained from our diet, ideally from a variety of plant and animal sources.
25-30% of your plate should be your protein source. In America, protein (ie meat) is often the largest portion of the meal, upwards of 50% of the meal! We eat a lot of protein, but it is often not healthy protein. Much of our meat and dairy is produced in a factory style environment that leads to reduced health of the animal, requiring added hormones and antibiotics to optimize production. An unhealthy animal does not produce optimal meat and may not have the components in its diet to create the amino acids we need. Healthy proteins also contain healthy fat!
*A note on Dairy: Dairy does contain protein, but also sugar (lactose). Some people are sensitive to dairy and it is highly processed. We recommend dairy only in moderation. If choosing dairy products, consider those with minimal processing. We do not recommend low-fat versions (highly processed to remove fat and often contain added sugars). You can get calcium in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, watercress, bok choy, some beans, canned salmon, sardines with bones, sesame seeds, almonds/almond milk, bone broth. Dairy alternatives are almond/cashew milk, and coconut milk.
Water is essential for life. Without it, within 3 days, death occurs. Water makes up 50-65% of our body. Many of the fluids we drink are dehydrating, including coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol. Mild dehydration may show up as fatigue/tiredness, constipation, hunger (that is really thirst), headache.
Benefits of water on health/wellbeing
Supports detoxification of toxins in skin, digestive system, and kidneys
Supports digestion and regular bowel movements
Keeps skin supple and smooth
Supports circulation and blood flow
Supports cellular metabolism
How much water
How much water should I drink? We are used to the recommendation to drink 8 – 8 oz glasses of water. Some recommend up to 2 liters a day! But there is no concrete science behind this. Your water intake depends on many factors, including your diet and environment. If you eat lots of water containing foods [veggies, fruits, broth (in soups or by itself), etc.] you may need less water than someone who drinks a lot of caffeinated beverages and eats few water-containing foods.
Let thirst and urine be your guides. You become thirsty when your blood has lost 2% of its volume. Your urine should be a very pale yellow. [Note: if you are taking B vitamins, your urine will be bright yellow for a couple of hours following consumption]. If you are urinating constantly, with clear output, you may be drinking more than you need.
Make water fun and practical
Lemon Water – improves the skin and detox benefits, while adding Vitamin C and acids that support optimal digestion.
Mineral Water-helpful for transition from soda; mix with lemon juice or splash of fruit juice; minerals vary – Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfer, Potassium
Infuse with fruit
Well, both have positives and negatives. Both can contain toxins. If drinking tap water, consider filtering with a carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter. Drink from glass or stainless steel container. If bottled water, choose spring water. Watch The Story on Bottled Water to learn more.
Coffee & Tea
Green tea – Contains powerful antioxidants, reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol. It has a small amount of caffeine.
Coffee & Black Tea – both have antioxidants that are beneficial for health and well-being. Be mindful they also contain variable amounts of caffeine.
A note on Caffeine:
Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea, and chocolate; and is added to drinks such as soda and energy drinks. Caffeine functions in the body as a stimulant, causing the release of adrenaline, which causes the experience of higher energy and alertness. It is a mild diuretic (causes release of water from the body through urine) and may lead to mild dehydration if not balanced with non-caffeinated fluids. The caffeine content varies widely, as does the health benefits of the drinks. Coffee and tea have some health benefits, whereas soda and energy drinks have no health benefit and, in many cases, are harmful. There are some people who metabolize caffeine slower than others, leading to extended effects.
Coconut water is a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to soda and electrolyte drinks. It is the clear liquid that is inside a green coconut. The coconuts are harvested before the water is replaced with “meat”. Coconut contains vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, among others. [Caution: people with kidney disease should consult their health care providers before consuming.]
How big is your plate? We tend to fill up our plate with food, so simply reducing the size of the plate you eat on will have you reduce your serving size!
A calorie is not a calorie! You will notice that we do not recommend counting calories. Our goal is for you to get a balance of nutrient dense foods that provide minerals, vitamins, protein, fat, fiber, and water for your body. Eating nutrient dense foods may provide more calories, while causing you to burn more calories. Nutrient poor, processed foods provide the calories, while stimulating your hunger, driving you to eat more.
To support you in determining how much of foods to eat, we recommend using serving sizes based on your hand. The smaller you are, the smaller your hand. The larger you are the larger your hand. Your hand goes everywhere with you. It is a valuable way to judge your serving sizes.
Palm for protein/meat
Fist for veggies
Cupped hand of carb
Thumb of fat
We love this infographic from Precision Nutrition:
You have learned a lot about food, nutrition, and eating patterns in this module. Now is the time to choose if you are ready and willing to make any changes! It really is your choice! You may have simply wanted to learn more and are not ready to do something OR you may be all in and ready to go OR somewhere in between. This video discusses readiness for change and supports you in evaluating where you really are in the cycle.
Be really honest with yourself to determine where you are on the spectrum and what you are ready and willing to change, if anything. The next section of the module is designed to support you in creating SUSTAINABLE lifestyle modifications around your eating pattern! When YOU are ready, please proceed to the next section to begin creating and living the alternatives section !!!
Where are you on the continuum?
To further assess where you are in the continuum, ask yourself the following questions and be ruthlessly honest in your response.
Am I willing to commit time and energy to making this change in my life? Am I willing to schedule this time on my calendar along with my other commitments, then keep the appointment? Am I willing to say no to other commitments in order to create time for this one?
Am I willing to take time to prepare myself for this change? Am I willing to plan and prepare on a regular basis to make this happen?
Am I willing to ask for support in making this change?
[Note: “friend power over will-power”]
Am I willing to make small changes gradually over time to improve my success?
[Note: having too many goals limits the amount of attention and willpower you can devote to reaching any single goal]
What/who am I doing this for?
[Research shows that self-motivation rooted in positive thinking is more impactful than making a change out of fear, guilt, or regret]
What do I want to experience in my life out of making this change? These may be thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, etc.
What is really important to me? What is really, really important to me? What is really, really, really important to me?