Have you heard the age old philosophy that it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you consume less calories than you burn if you want to lose weight? Most of us have heard this before, and there is certainly some truth to it, but not all calories are created equal.
The quality of the food you eat can have a huge impact on your success at weight loss and increasing your fitness level. Why? Because what your body is really looking for when you eat is nutrients. Ever wonder how it is that you can eat a huge helping of ice cream, cake, cookies, pizza, fast food, or any other junk food and still be hungry again in an hour? Ever eat a cinnabon? You can easily consume all of the calories your body needs for a day in one sitting and you'll still be hungry later because your body hasn't gotten the nutrients it needs to be content and healthy. If you're nutrient-deficient, your body will ask for more food (any kind of food), hence why we crave foods and always have room for dessert.
Want to be able to eat MORE and still lose weight? Give your body the good stuff! Eating nutrient dense foods like fresh fruits and vegetables gives your body what it's craving. It will have an easier time digesting and processing the food, and with all those nutrients in there for it to soak up, there will be less extra stuff for it to store as fat. Not to mention giving your body all of the fuel it needs to workout hard and the vitamins and minerals it needs to be healthy and strong and ward off illness. One more great side effect of eating healthy food? You'll actually feel full sooner and not need to eat as much. Check out this chart and see how much more food you get for the calories, so it's easy to see how you can feel fuller with the good stuff. For some people increasing the amount of healthy foods means the amount of calories you consume daily will automatically drop and help with weight loss in that way.
So cook up some veggies, have a nice piece of fresh fruit, or try a nutrient dense meal replacement shake (I love my Shakeology!) and see how you feel. It will be tough to kick the sugar and fat habit of junk food, but your body will thank you for it. Do you know just how good you can feel? Eat quality calories, not just less calories, and you'll find out!
Success is all around you. Most of us don’t know the journeys our friends and family have been on in the past (either distant or recent), but if you start talking to people, you’ll find a lot of them had to LEARN to be healthy.
For everyone who has met me within the last year or so, it may seem like I’ve always been this into health food and fitness and have always looked like I do, but that’s far from the truth and it is still a battle for me to work on unlearning poor habits I developed when I was a kid and a college student.
Over the weekend I ran into a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a while and both of them are looking fabulous! Their secrets? Actually paying attention to what they are putting in their bodies and getting their butts to the gym and pushing themselves harder every time. Sound simple? It is, but usually easier said than done. In talking to both of my girls (shout out to Olivia and Emily! You ladies look absolutely stunning and happy and healthy!) I heard all about how they have really taken the time to learn about nutrition, about what exercise to be doing, and then figured out how to make it work in their lives.
You cannot lose weight or feel better if you don’t take the time to educate yourself. Knowledge really is power and the more you know about what you’re using to fuel your body with and how best to challenge and shape your body with exercise, the more successful you’ll be. And remember, everyone’s path is different. I try to include insights from my friends and family in my blog because I know that not everything that works for me will work for other people, but I certainly have a biased opinion. So go out and talk to your friends about what they do, what they have learned, and what has helped them to make a change.
If you’re on your healthy living journey now, keep moving forward and learn as much as you can. If you’re not there yet, start asking people about how they got started... for some of us it takes years of “knowing” what we should be doing before something actually motivates us enough to start doing it.
Talk, share, listen, and learn! And then let me know what you’ve learned! Post in the comments below so we can help everyone learn from each other and realize that they are not the only one trying to make a change!
This past week I have been on my A-game with cooking and packing meals and snacks for my time away from home so that I know I'm eating right. Personally, I don't really like to cook, so this is a pretty big feat for me and in the process I've realized there are some kitchen essentials that make it possible (and easy) for me to stay on track with my eating. So here is my list of tools for a healthy kitchen:
1. Pan with a lid
- it might sound silly, but I find cooking to be a lot easier when I can throw a bunch of ingredients into a pan, cover it, and let it simmer while I do other things like dishes or prepping snacks elsewhere in the kitchen. A lot of frying pans do not come with a lid, so for cooking up veggies or lentils, I recommend getting one. Not to mention you can use less oil and create more of a "steamed" atmosphere.
2. Storage containers
- this is huge. I live by myself so when I cook there is always more than one serving. Having a range of sizes and types of storage containers makes it easy to portion out the leftovers so I can just grab a serving on my way out the door later in the week. It's also important to make sure the lids secure tightly so you don't have to worry about getting food all over items in your bag or in the car should they tip over. I prefer glass and Target sells some great Pyrex ones that have really nice, secure lids.
- sounds simple and almost silly, but when it took me a while to actually get a pair of these in my kitchen. Tongs are great for pretty much everything because they give you a long reach when turning over pieces of tempeh in the frying pan or getting the roasted veggies off the cookie sheet in the oven. They are inexpensive and are handy in so many ways (tossing salad to get dressing all over the lettuce is another favorite use of mine), that they are definitely worth having around
4. Salad spinner
- admittedly, I do not own one of these, but my mother swears by it because she can't stand wet lettuce. And if you feel the same way, it is a must for your kitchen. The spinner allows you to clean and prep a lot of lettuce at once that you can then store in individual bags so it's chopped and ready to go when you want to make another salad. Prepping lettuce cuts my salad making time in half, and it's wonderful!
5. A good cutting board selection
- you may be saying to yourself, but Amanda, I have a cutting board. My question to you is, does your one cutting board make ALL of your cutting tasks easier? Mostly I use my bamboo cutting boards because they are sturdy and I prefer using renewable sources, but even them I have in multiple sizes based on how much cutting space I need. Flexible cutting boards are also great for cutting and immediately pouring into a pan or a pot for cooking. And if you eat meat, I would recommend having a separate meat cutting board, not that they can't be cleaned well enough for veggies later, but so you remember not to cut your veggies on it right after cutting up raw meat.
It's a short post today, but I hope you find this helpful! Try to make the time at least once a week to do some serious food prep and cooking so you have lots of healthy options to go to when you're late for work or going to be away from home all day. Sometimes convenience is the biggest reason we get off track with our eating, so supply your kitchen with the tools you need to fight back!
lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and feeling confident.