The Food Facet- An excerpt from the All Inclusive Diet
We all know we have to eat in order to survive but what to eat and how much to eat is questionable. Listen to learn more about nutrition.
We all know we have to eat in order to survive but what to eat and how much to eat is questionable. Listen to learn more about nutrition.
Today’s topic is what sustains us but sometimes pains us.
In my world, it’s by far the most debated topic, and as a result, in many of your world’s, I’m sure it’s a confusing topic too.
It’s the first of what I call the five facets of lifestyle for a reason; arguably it will make or break you.
Either food will be the primary source of your physical power, or it will be the primary cause of your broken health.
I discuss the food facet in detail within my book the all inclusive diet. I show you how food doesn’t have to be so complicated with methods like “math first science second” and how it can be more easily organized and prepared with the “5 p’s of food logistics”
In this episode, I’m going to share an excerpt from the All Inclusive Diet called the Food Facet.
I took an unconventional approach when writing this book, including the most basic and successful principles that I had learned from years as a competitive bodybuilder then as a personal trainer and sports nutritionist.
But what made it different was that I included how our emotionality supersedes all conventional wisdom when it comes to managing our food, lifestyle, health, and weight.
I think we all know what to eat and what not to eat and how much to eat. What fogs our innate logic is the fact that our emotions will play a role in what we eat, what we don’t eat, and how much we eat.
If you haven’t picked up my book yet, I still have some free copies that I’m giving away while supplies last. I bought the book for you all you have to do is pay $4.97 for shipping and handling, and I will have it delivered to you within 7-10 days.
Go to www.krisjsimpson.com/books to pick up your free copy.
I have found through coaching thousands of and through my own experiences that food doesn’t need to be your foe; it can be your friend.
It doesn’t need to be overcomplicated, but instead, it can be quite simple. It can be something that you consume for purpose and pleasure.
You can consider treating food just like you treat any other relationship- with focus, attention, and love.
Inspire to aspire,
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“We live with an over exaggerated abundance of food yet we act like food is in a state of scarcity.”
Why do we make food so complicated?
I would bet that you already know enough about nutrition, but what you’re lacking is awareness of what, how and why you’re eating. As a result, you probably do not have a suitable plan that will be a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
What you will find in this chapter is everything you will need to adapt a new way of eating that will keep the weight off with no hidden agendas. Now let’s begin!
When I first started coaching Josephine, she came to me and was frustrated about why she hadn’t lost weight. She had started making some really important shifts in her eating and was stumped on why she hadn’t lost any weight in the last few weeks. She was ready for the first exercise, which would allow her to become more aware of her food, manage, and balance it.
I asked Josephine to take a picture of her daily meals, snacks, and beverages on her smart-phone. At the end of the day, she would email me all of the pictures of her meals. I asked her to do this for one week and then we would meet again to discuss further. Although Josephine was convinced that she was eating less of the wrong foods and more of the right foods, when she started pausing before eating to take a quick picture, she became more conscious of her food and made several shifts in the one week that she was doing this exercise. When she returned to see me after one week, she was down 2 pounds. She had not lost weight in the previous three weeks so she was quite amazed by this-but I wasn’t. The results are always the same; the weight magically comes off. Although Josephine believed there was something magical about it, I did not.
Most of us eat habitually. We are very much automated when we eat. Many of us are stuck in eating patterns that we’ve had for so many years that we’re not even aware we have them. You might rush through preparing your food and eating it. You might not even have time to prepare it yourself and have to rely on take-out or highly processed foods. You might eat certain foods or just too much food because you’re emotionally out of balance. While working with hundreds of health participants, I have found that they need some level of awareness before eating. Arguably, having awareness before you begin to eat would be the most important factor, and that is why Josephine had so much success with the pictorial exercise I gave her.
When I asked Josephine to take a picture of the food before she ate it, this allowed her to better prepare her meals because she knew she would have to take a picture of it and send it to me. In fact, she even went out grocery shopping to buy more suitable foods before she started this exercise! Why this simple exercise worked is because it interrupted her automated eating pattern. By asking her to stop for literally three seconds and take a photo of the food, she was about to eat it changed the way she had been doing things.
Mindful eating only requires you to develop practices that slow you down before you eat, while you eat and after you eat so you have enough time to change your choices and rewrite your automated food programming. That is what happened during the pictorial food exercise I asked Josephine to complete. She had to take a picture before she ate her food, which resulted in different food choices. She ended up breaking through the weight loss plateau she was struggling with.
It also made Josephine aware of her late night snacking habit she had been stuck in for years whereby she would graze on snack food throughout the evening. Instead of taking a serving of crackers, for example, she would take a handful, but return a short time afterward for another handful and this cycle would repeat itself a few times over the course of each night.
Taking a photo of her snack before she ate it allowed her to pull out one serving and put it in a smaller bowl instead of continuously going back for a second, third and even a fourth helping. Josephine told me that the fact she had to send me the pictures also motivated her to choose healthier evening snacks because she didn’t want to look bad in my eyes by choosing extremely unhealthy food.
The simple solution would be to eat more of the right foods. However, another problem presents itself.
Are you totally aware of the food you eat? Are you aware of the following?
You need to ask yourself where your food is coming from. What are their practices for growing or farming food in that country? If you question their food handling protocols and practices, where can you find an alternative source of that food? As Oprah Winfrey said “Eating more consciously now feels like a way of being. I think about how my food got to my plate.”
If the food you’re eating is packaged or preserved, then I would ask you to consider how it is being processed. What additional ingredients are being added? What ingredients are being removed?
What time of day are you eating your food? Do you eat regularly throughout the day or inconsistently? Do you eat breakfast?
How do you combine your food groups? Are you getting enough of each food group or are you deficient in some food groups and over consuming others?
Are you eating because you are physically hungry, and your body requires nourishment and fuel or are you eating out of boredom, sadness, anxiousness, loneliness or maybe because you are frustrated or angry?
Just how much food are you eating? I think you might be surprised if you were to find out.
JUST THE FACTS:
Sited in the NWCR study “more recently, we have examined other aspects of their diet. Of particular interest is the fact that 78% of registry members report eating breakfast every day of the week. Only 4% report never eating breakfast. The typical breakfast is cereal and fruit.” (Wing, R. Rena and Suzanne Phelan, Long-term weight loss maintenance 1’2’3’4, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 223S)
If there were only one tool or practice that I could recommend to you for keeping the weight off it would be food journaling. I have seen it make the biggest impact when it comes to keeping the weight off, yet to my surprise, so very few people practice it.
Food journaling is a practice that promotes awareness and accountability. Please note that I am not referring to “calorie counting” although that is one form of this practice. Journaling is an age-old process of self-discovery and the best tool that I know of to become aware of the what, where, when, how and why of anything we do in life.
To not be aware of what, where, when, how and why we’re eating puts us in a very volatile situation where we are making decisions based on guesswork at best, or we’re not thinking about it at all and running on old non-serving habits.
I have found that numerous individuals are initially resistant to investigating the facts and figures of their eating habits as they are constantly searching for the shortcut or the secret that they will discover in the next diet. This will leave them chasing the latest and greatest trends that are in an endless supply.
When you begin to food journal, you will see the truth appearing right in front of your eyes, and it brings a heightened sense of awareness. You might find that you have been eating mindlessly and without much thought and at times even when you aren’t hungry. This is easy to fall into because we live fast-paced lifestyles along with an over-abundance of convenient food.
Food journaling slows you down just enough so you can reflect on what it is you are about to eat. This alone is sometimes all that is required to make the necessary changes to your diet and break the patterns that have kept you weighed down.
Journaling how you feel before and after you eat just as important as documenting the type of food that you will be eating. You will see the connection to what degree your mood affects what and the amount of food you consume. This will give you the awareness to view yourself subjectively and be better able not to allow your feelings to dictate the food you consume.
Asking yourself where you feel your stress levels are before a meal is a practice I strongly advocate. Assign yourself a number on a scale of 1-10 of how stressed you feel and write it down beside your meal. This is also a good practice to adopt after you have finished eating as well. You can document how you are feeling physically. Are you bloated, experiencing gas or do you feel light and energized after your meal? This will give you the awareness as to what combination of foods work best for you and your digestive system. I promise you that this practice of food journaling will get you out of the dark and shed light on your issue with food, and by implementing this practice, you will already be halfway there keeping the weight off.
I coached a client named Genevieve who was attached to the idea that the science of the food, or the type and quality of her food, was what would keep the weight off for her. She never gave any thought to the quantity of food. She never was able to keep the weight off, though, but there was always another food trend or diet for her to believe in and the cycle of taking it off and putting it back on again. I got right to the point and asked her what the magic number was. She looked back at me very puzzled. I told her that we all have a rough estimate of how many calories we can consume per day if we want to keep the weight off.
Genevieve immediately associated what I had said with calorie counting and told me she was dead against it. I asked Genevieve why she felt that way, and she told me that when she had tried it in the past it always made her feel restricted, and it was time-consuming. I asked her to consider that she may be unaware of how many calories she is consuming. She responded, “Well not all calories are created equally.” I told her I could agree with that, but if we had some awareness of the facts and figures behind her food that we would be able to manage it, and she would be able to keep the weight off. I explained this concept to Genevieve by telling her the following story:
A woman by the name of Lyn was overweight for a long time and could not seem to lose weight. She believed she was being conscious of her eating and had even started to work out two days per week to help lose weight. Lyn’s weight was a big burden as it weighed her down and exhausted her. Lyn wasn’t getting fulfillment out of her life because she was constantly worrying about her weight and trying to find a viable solution to losing the weight. She finally succumbed to asking for help from a professional – a Weight-loss and Wellness Coach. During their first meeting, she informed the Coach about her problem and what she had done without any positive results to rectify it. After she expanded on her story for 45 minutes, to her surprise, the Coach only had one question. “Can you provide me copies of your food and exercise logs?” The facts and figures are what the coach required more than the perception of what Lyn thought her lifestyle looked like.
After informing Genevieve of this story, she realized that there might be something in her blind spot that she needed to investigate. I set her up with one of many food logging/activity tracking apps that are available online, and she agreed to log her food. The app automatically counted the calories so she would always be aware if she were overeating within an estimated range.
What happened when Genevieve started food logging is two-pronged. First, she discovered what the magic number was and immediately knew she had been overeating based on her current activity level. And second, she became aware of the foods she was eating that contained the most calories, and she instinctively shifted toward foods that were lower in calories. What was really interesting about this exercise is that Genevieve began selecting lower calorie options, which by default were typically the healthier food choices like fruits and vegetables; in fact, her vegetable intake had tripled!
Now there has been and probably will always be opposing forces in the professional weight loss community between dietitians, fitness trainers, medical doctors and weight-loss coaches who come from different schools of thought regarding the quantity of food or the quality of food. There are some that believe that the quantity of the food we consume is not as relevant as the quality and type of foods that we eat, and there are others that believe that weight-loss is simply a mathematical and quantitative equation of moving more and eating less.
I think the truth lies somewhere between those two points of view and that’s where the investigation should begin.
JUST THE FACTS:
In the NWCR study, it stated, “Dietary intake is typically underestimated by 20–30%. Thus, registry members are probably eating closer to 1800 kcal/d. However, even with this adjustment, it is apparent that registry members maintain their weight loss by continuing to eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet.” (Wing, R. Rena and Suzanne Phelan, Long-term weight loss maintenance 1’2’3’4, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 223S).