Learning to eat clean and healthy is definitely one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016. I would never consider myself as someone who is hopelessly unhealthy, I’ve been playing soccer since I was 6 and lacrosse since I was 10 so I’ve learned what’s good from bad, but I would consider myself as someone who is uneducated on how to eat healthy, the right way.
I decided my first plan of action should be to meet with someone who I trusted to teach me how I should be building my meals, what foods I should be focusing on more than others, and basically educate me on what’s right from wrong when it comes to eating right. I contacted Leigh Travers, the only food coach who I completely trust to steer me in the right direction. I’ve worked with Leigh before taking fitness classes with her over the winter to get myself in shape for the lacrosse season, and she was always giving me insightful information on clean even then. And I can honestly say, I learned so much more in my first meeting with her than I ever had reading health magazines or websites.
I decided to include my blog followers on this journey to a healthier lifestyle so I put together a list of five facts I learned in my first meeting that I feel are general lessons that everyone can use to begin to eat clean, which I’m sure is on a lot more peoples’ resolutions list than mine!
1. What Is Considered Healthy Eating For One Person, Isn’t Exactly The Same For You Too.
How many of you have looked up healthy eating online, or done research on what you should be eating on a day-to-day basis. It’s okay if you have, because I’m certainly guilty of it myself. While some of the information you read online is good, it may not be the best information for you personally. Some websites will say that women should eat a yogurt every day because of the beneficial probiotics, while some websites will say to cut dairy out of your diet completely. It really is different for everyone which is what people need to understand before they begin a diet or a healthy eating program.
2. Eating Healthy Isn’t Just About Counting Calories, It’s Also About Counting Macros.
You’re probably wondering what macros are…which is exactly what my question was when Leigh brought them up in our session today. Macros are the macronutrients that make up your daily diet. These include proteins, fats, and carbs. While counting calories is important, you could be wondering why you’ve been eating under your specified calorie count, but haven’t been seeing results. You could be lacking in protein and eating too many carbs. Or you could be eating too many grams of fat per day. While you may feel like eating a bowl of potato chips as a snack or a few cookies at night won’t really affect your diet as long as you stay under your calorie count, it affects you in the long run in terms of the amount of carbs and fats you’re putting into your body. Put it this way, I could eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (a girl can dream) and still manage to keep it under my calorie count for the day, but in the end I’ll only be gaining weight rather than losing weight.
3. What’s The Deal With Carbs?
To me, carbs have always been the gray area of healthy eating. I’ve never been sure if I should eat foods high in carbs or if I should just stay away from them all together. Leigh taught me that with carbs, it all depends on the timing. Carbs should be eaten at a certain point in the day, which would be mainly after doing a workout or any physical activity. This can include going for a jog, riding a bike, going on a hike, even working outside in the yard all day. But, make sure these carb filled foods are good foods such as whole grain pasta or quinoa and fruits. Hate to break it to ya, but a post workout piece of wonder bread or a bagel doesn’t really fit the bill.
4. It Really Is All About Portion Control.
I’ve never focused too much on portion control because I always figured as long as I’m eating healthy there’s no need to track how much healthy food I’m eating. As usual, I was very mistaken. While just eating healthy in general is a great start, learning how to build your plates is ten strides in the right direction. There really is a certain amount of each macronutrient you should have with each meal. Learning how much of each macronutrient you should be eating and how to control your portions will help you lose weight so much quicker than just eating healthy foods willy nilly.
5. Notice How There’s No Processed Sugar…
Speaking as someone who can easily put away a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream with no remorse, I would compare a relationship with sugar to the stereotypical relationship with a bad boy – can’t get enough of it at the time, but in the long run it just makes you feel really crappy. For “homework” Leigh had me watch Fed Up, a documentary explaining to people that 80% of a grocery store has products with added sugar and that those added sugars can be as addicting as drugs. It is basically telling people that it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee – without added sugar of course. Obviously people know that processed sugar is bad for you, but what people don’t really understand is how bad it is for you. Processed sugar leads to obesity, heart disease,strokes, and can even lead to cancer. Is that really what you want to be doing to your body?
I really feel that I am ready to make a change for myself in the right way. While changing up your diet and learning to fill your body with whole foods rather than processed ones is never an easy task, I feel that I am finally up to the challenge. Eating good nutritious foods leads to a more energized and happier self all on your own, rather than relying on processed foods to give you that boost. I’m beyond excited to begin my road to a healthier lifestyle, with the help of Leigh of course, and even more excited that I get to share my tips and progress with all of you!