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Those Big Family/Holiday/Weekend Meals: A Two-pronged Approach for to Staying on Track

Feb 18, 2020

You know this story because it happens to all of us.

You have a great week. You make it to the gym for multiple legendary workouts. Eating is clean. Work is going well. You look and feel great! 

Then the weekend rolls arounds. So you allow yourself to splurge on the dessert Friday Night. No big deal. Saturday you have guests. A glass of wine turns into four. Lunch lasts for hours and there is always something good being served which needs to be tasted.

Next day the week begins and suddenly you are not so bursting with energy. Your belly is sticking out a little more than it should. You drag yourself to work and then to the gym but it just doesn’t flow. You are less focused. Weights feel heavy and you have to take extra breaks to finish the workout.

All of this is not fatal and of course you will recover as the week goes by. But why do we sabotage all of the hard work and effort that we make? And is it really enjoyable to feel like a slob? 

The first step is to get rid of the belief that there is actually any fun in pigging out. It must be clear to you beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is a fool’s pleasure. As long as you harbor the belief in some part of your brain that this gluttony is actually making you feel good, then the behavior will persist. If addictive behavior truly makes us happy then the happiest people in the world would be alcoholics and other addicted people. They are not! (Trust me, I was an alcoholic from age 15 to 36, which is most of my life)

Get rid of the “gloom and doom” mentality which surrounds doing something good for yourself. Just by reading this email, you have already made the decision and taken the first step towards a better life! Enjoy and savor every step of your journey (including the bumps in the road)!

All that is nice in theory, but what practical advice to I give for dealing with those big social meals effectively? There are two approaches which can be used together for greatest effectiveness.

Approach Number One: The Plate Method

I cannot overstate the beauty and satiating power of a balanced plate full of whole natural foods.

Essentially you divide your plate into 4 quarters as follows: 

One quarter complex carbohydrate such as whole grains or tubers.

One quarter lean protein such as beans/legumes/animal based protein.

One half fruits and vegetables. 

Make sure you really load up on those vegetables! For me, it is key to finish each meal with a piece of fresh fruit if I want long term satiety but you gotta find the balance that works for you.

Here is a fantastic video from one of my favorite Nutrition Experts describing the plate method.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8GhWgy5g_8 (This particular video offers a plant based approach but the same method applies if you are using animal protein. Simply swap in fish, cow, bird or any other animal you are eating)

If after all that you are still in the mood for some junk, then by all means have some and then move on! At no point in time should you restrict yourself from anything, simply pay attention to your body’s natural signals of hunger and satisfaction. As long as the majority of your food is from whole, unrefined sources such as fruits, veges, nuts and seeds, you will naturally gravitate to a healthy weight.

Which brings me to my second point:

Approach Number Two: Mindfulness

Suffice it to say that the most powerful tool you have is your own consciousness, you just have to believe in your own abilities (which is hard when you’ve had lots of setbacks).

If you are a human, then you already possess the unbelievable power of the mind’s attention, but it helps to cultivate a mindfulness practice. I recommend Jon Kabat Zinn’s book “Wherever You Go, There You Are” or just google “Mindfulness” for starters.

Listen to your body’s natural hunger signals. God, in Her wisdom, has gifted you with hunger to tell you when you should eat, and a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and health when you give your body the energy it needs. 

Eat consciously. Chew your food slowly, paying close attention to the flavors and sensations which your food provides. It is even recommended to chew each morsel 30 times! If you have never done this before, expect a truly mind-altering experience!

In Summary: Have no fear! You don’t have to sacrifice anything to enjoy food and friends. In fact, you will enjoy vastly improved experiences when you nourish your body and mind with healthy food and a positive outlook.

To learn more, book a free meeting with me in person at https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=13876588

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