We live in a culture that is obsessed with counting calories, and reading food labels. In my practice, I focus on the joy of eating REAL whole fresh foods and not at all on calorie counting. The goal is long term health and with a diet that is jam packed with fresh produce, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, not only are you engaging in preventative health care but weight loss will follow, energy levels will improve and a general sense of wellbeing takes over.
Many of you might ask though if I’m not counting calories – how can I lose weight? My focus is on long term health, replacing processed foods with whole foods, moderation, exercise and reducing stress levels. In fact, it’s about simple eating and going back to basics. Numerous epidemiological studies provide evidence that diets rich in fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic disease. Fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help prevent the body from oxidative damage and by building habits that include a diet mainly made up of whole foods you are playing an active role in your health which includes your naturally ideal weight.
Here are my top tips on losing weight, eating whole foods and ignoring calories.
- Reduce all processed foods in your diet – if it comes out of a packet – don’t buy it. It might be difficult to stop all packaged goods – start by counting how many you are using per week and halve that. I had one patient who was using processed foods for all three meals per day – we started off by changing one meal per day into a NO PACKETS meal. Over time because she enjoyed that meal so much, it has naturally progressed to almost no processed foods – you have to start somewhere!
- Switch all fizzy, sugary drinks to water or sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime.
- Every meal you eat should have lots of fresh vegetables – especially leafy greens. Chopped rocket can be used at every meal – thrown over an egg white omelette, in your salad or fresh over a curry at night. Add leafy greens to EVERY meal
- Eat in moderation. – Eat until you are 80% full – for most of us that actually sometimes feels hungry. If you do it often enough you will get used to it.
- Portion control – use a smaller dinner plate, protein should be palm sized, your green, leafy veggies can be limitless
- Food must be fresh and whole – nothing added or taken away!
- Exercise more
- Drink more water – aim for 2L per day
Ideal snacks that don’t come out of a packet…
- Apples/berries with a small handful of walnuts/almonds
- Home-made trail mix (walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sunflower and sesame seeds)
- Celery with almond butter
- Veggie sticks with home-made humus
- Chicken strips with cucumber and carrots
- Plain Greek probiotic yoghurt, with blueberries, chia seeds, walnuts & LSA
Remember: keep it simple, most of your shopping should be fresh produce, when in doubt – add leafy greens.
Keep a food diary and count how many packets you are opening each day.
As the famous Chinese proverb states: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Make one change today and begin your journey!
by Sharon Aaron
A reminder that you can email your questions to our Nutritionist Sharon; by emailing us at email@example.com
- Higdon J & Drake V, 2013, An Evidence-based Approach to Phytochemicals and Other Dietary Factors, 2nd Edition Thieme, Germany.
- Lock K et al, The global burden of disease attributable to low consumption of fruit and vegetables: implications for the global strategy on diet. Bull World Health Organ 2005: 83(2) 100-108
- Whitney E et al, 2011, Understanding Nutrition, Australian and New Zealand edition, Cengage learning, Melbourne, Australia