Read the other parts in the series:
The fourth and final part of our detox series has little to do with what you are eating, but rather focuses on how you are eating. When practiced, certain food behaviours can have dramatic positive effects on weight loss, digestion and overall health. Simply implement the recommendations below for a mere two weeks and you will make a positive difference on your health.
The food behaviours outlined below emphasize consciousness eating. Unfortunately, in today's rushed and busy world, we have become accustomed to eating in a hurry and dining out on fast food. This practice promotes excess eating and mindlessly munching on the wrong types of foods. In essence, a detachment from our true hunger signal occurs and our health and weight suffer.
The four steps to consciousness eating to improve health and wellness are:
Step 1. Eat breakfast!
Research has shown us time and time again that people who front load their day and eat breakfast are healthier, have more energy and lose more weight in the long run. While breakfast skippers think they are saving on calories and losing weight, they are in fact doing the opposite. I often hear people lament that they are not hungry in the morning and could not possibly eat. Keep in mind, you do not have to eat within minutes of rising out of bed. However, it is advisable to eat a small amount of healthy food options before going to work or school within 1-2 hours of rising. Examples of healthy breakfast options include:
• Protein shake
• Cottage cheese, fruit and nuts
• Yogurt, fruit and nuts
• Egg white omelet
• Poached egg with whole grain toast
• All-bran cereal with milk
Step 2. Eat until you are sufficiently sufficed, not stuffed
Most of us gobble down our meals within 5-10 minutes. In addition to not digesting and chewing our food properly, this fast pace of eating does not give the body the time to register a "full sensation." In fact, it takes approximately 20 minutes for the stretch receptor to reach the brain and register a signal that you are satiated. Try to slow down your meal by chewing your food well, using your utensils, talking to your family. By making mealtime last a minimum of 20 minutes, you will feel fuller, and therefore consume less calories.
Step 3. Do not count calories for life
When first beginning to lose weight, most people follow a program or a plan to take the pounds off. While there are many good programs on the market, I have seen too many people fall off their program, only to gain the weight back. This is why 90 to 95 per cent of all dieters eventually gain the weight back. Don't misunderstand -- there are many wonderful weight loss books, programs, etc., on the market that can help with the initial weight that needs to be lost. However, in addition to this, it is also critical to become a student of nutrition. This is essential when you fall off your program (which you will at one point or another), because you will have the basic fundamental nutritional skills to climb back onto the heath wagon without feelings of deprivation. As one of the most powerful tools we have for health and disease prevention, learning the basics of nutrition is one of the most valuable assets you can offer yourself and your family. Keep in mind that any diet that overly restricts the intake of calories, carbohydrates or fats is not a sustainable diet.
Step 4. Do not eat past 7p.m.
When implementing behavioural changes, those related to food are often the hardest to make. That being said, it is often difficult for people to change their habit of late-night eating. Unfortunately, the pattern of skipping breakfast, eating a fast food lunch and a late night dinner of pasta, bread and other starches is a one-way ticket to weight gain and fatigue. Instead of falling into this vicious cycle, try to eat dinner no later than 7p.m. In addition, dinner is the perfect meal to maximize protein and vegetables and put less emphasis on grains. If you do eat a grain, try to select whole grain breads, pastas or brown rice. If the urge to munch does creep up later in the evening, satiate the feeling by munching on "free foods" such as cucumbers, celery or broccoli florets. In addition, drinking herbal tea or water helps to fill you up and cut down on sugar cravings.
Wishing you a healthy and happy road filled with delicious and healthy food options. Bon appetite!
Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of the best selling book The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005). For more information, visit www.drjoey.com