This is part two in a series on weight loss in Houma (Hint: it isn't all about the scale!).
In the last post, we talked about how diets fail and seeking sustainable changes through functional strength training (a body that functions beautifully gives us the bodies that we find appealing). Another element of weight loss is obviously about what we eat, but before we get in to specifics, setting some basic standards can give us the right mindset to achieving meaningful, long term changes.
First off, instead of being so focused on the scale, which is merely one of a thousand health markers (and not even the most important one), we need to ask ourselves 2 questions: "Do I look like I want to look?" and "Do I feel like I want to feel?" If the answers are "no," than we need to be responsible and make some changes, starting with what our plate looks like at mealtime (and in between meals, but more on that later). There has long been a general guideline of having your plate 3/4 full of colorful vegetables, and 1/4 full of protein. The only item to add here is that all of this needs to be cooked in HEALTHY fats: coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter for the dairy intolerant), grass-fed cow butter, etc., but NOT vegetable oils. While we love to be "special" and come up with complicated reasons about why we are different, our meals never need to be more complicated than that. This guideline is also easily adjustable, with more or less protein for a larger or smaller individual, and any good personal trainer or nutritionist can help us with the details of activity level, job type, etc..
Now, one common question that we get at CrossFit Houma is about fruit. Fruit is best as a dessert for those trying to lose weight, particularly after working out. Other than that, especially for those working out, limiting fruit to 1-2 servings a day is generally fine. Dried fruit is mroe problematic as it usually has added sugar, and obviously sugar consumption, as well as high carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta, is best kept to a minimum. "To a minimum," though, is a phrase worth looking at.
Setting a goal of perfection, i.e., "never" eating cake at a wedding or crawfish pie at a festival, is unrealistic, and therefore unsustainable (other than those who have serious allergies to certain foods: this does tell me that permanently avoiding foods can be done, though.). Instead, keep going back to the two questions, and if a food makes you feel uncomfortable, then we need to limit it or pass it up that day.
Overall, percentages are important, so if we love Moon Pies (nutrient poor and high carb), but we don't like how we look, than we need to look at eating less of them, and instead eating more vegetables (nutrient-rich and low-carb). Also, while we might love the well, well-cooked-down okra in gumbo, it doesn't constitute the bulk of the gumbo, and we need to add some lightly cooked vegetables to the meal. Also, dishes like etouffee and jambalaya are often comprised mostly of rice (again, high carb but nutrient poor), so those portions will need to be smaller (and not eaten everday) than that of the vegetables and healthy meats on the plate. Once we get to a body size that we are comfortable with, those percentages may change, but wanting to also feel good (not stuffed, bloated, immobile, etc.) after eating can help us not to backslide, therefore promoting sustainable change and overall health.
Next time: What about breakfast!? It may or may not be the most important meal of the day, but does it need to be as big as we have been led to believe?
Next post: Weight Loss in Houma, part 3: What about breakfast?