“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”
 -Virginia Woolf

Have you been trying to lose weight and keep it off for years?

Do you sometimes struggle to get through the afternoon?  Do you wish you could take a nap or need a coffee or crave a sugary snack?  What are your mornings like?  Do you have energy in between breakfast and lunch?  How long after breakfast are you hungry again?  Do you even eat breakfast?

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Have you ever made the connection between what you eat and how you feel?  Have you noticed that one morning if you eat eggs for breakfast that you may feel differently than if you eat a bagel? Are you saying duh or are you saying huh?

Many years ago, I would have said huh? Until the winter of 1996, when I got really sick with flu like symptoms and I began to get better but wasn’t getting well. My doctor suggested that I change my diet to see if that could be causing my illness.  This is when I first made the connection about what I was eating and how it impacted the way I felt.

After 2-3 days of detoxing and feeling really bad, I became super clear.  It was amazing.  At the time, I was eating a lot of refined food.  I had been eating low fat/fat free unconsciously relying heavily on extra sweeteners, usually white sugar and even artificial sweeteners, and refined, processed carbohydrates like white flour.

Once I got well, I went to the Chef training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. This was a revolutionizing education for me.  It changed the way I think, live, eat, raise my child and view wellness. This is where I learned about choosing foods for nourishment and selecting foods that are as close to the way nature created them as possible, with all of their edible parts (whole foods) and what happens when they are refined and what that does to our health on a short and long term basis.

I haven’t needed to diet since I’ve graduated and I have maintained my weight naturally as a result of what I learned. That’s right; the same foods that are making you feel bad and draining your energy might just be the foods that are making you fat!

So back to you now, does this resonate for you at all?  Just to be clear, I am not talking about food allergies. It may even be subtle. I am talking about everyday foods that you eat that may be causing you to feel less well than you could and also maybe causing you to be fatter than you want and unable to lose the weight.  I’m talking about foods that are zapping your energy, maybe clouding your brain, causing food cravings that are making and/or keeping you fat and may ultimately be making you sick.  You may not even realize it because you’ve lived this way for so long.

If you can recognize that your body is telling you that it doesn’t work for you, maybe you will decide to stop eating it and replace it with things that your body really needs and wants.
 If you’re open to it, let’s look at some things that you can do to improve the way you feel and look by eating differently.

Pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel:  If you typically eat cereal for breakfast, how does that work for you (I am not a fan of dry cereal and that discussion is beyond the scope of this article)?  Do you have energy in the morning? By what time do you feel like you want lunch?  On a different day trying having eggs for breakfast.  Is there a difference when your breakfast has a good source of protein?  If you eat a bagel or a muffin (which I don’t suggest) do you feel differently than when you have oatmeal?

Get to know what works best for you:  Each one of us is different and we all have different needs.  By paying attention as described above you will quickly start to recognize that what we eat impacts how we feel and you will have a sense of what foods you should choose and which to avoid or eliminate in order to feel your best. This is a great technique to learn because once you know it, you’ll be able to make adjustments as your needs change throughout your life. As you begin, I suggest that you use a journal so you can go back to each meal and make connections about what works and what doesn’t.

Avoid eating very refined foods: By this I primarily mean foods made from white flour and white sugar but also chemical additives.  This will negatively impact most people because they will raise your blood sugar up and then drop it down. For both short and long term health benefits and to avoid food cravings eat as many whole foods as possible (foods the way nature created it with all their edible parts).

 Freshly prepare your food at home as often as possible: With rare exceptions, this is the only way you will know what is in your food.  If you are buying pre-made or pre-packaged foods, you can’t be sure of the quality of the ingredients.  Is there white sugar in your take-out food? What kind of oil did they use? Cook at home when you can and use single ingredients (quinoa, onion, carrot, sea salt instead of a pre-seasoned box of rice).

So this is how you can begin to learn to eat in a way that will allow you to lose weight, keep it off and feel your best every day. These are just a few suggestions to get you started and moving in the right direction. If it feels overwhelming, I’m here to support you. Email me at Randy@TheConsciousPlate.com and I’d be happy to speak with you and give you some help.