Sunday, January 9, 2011



By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

1. Stop dieting and start eating. Diets don’t work and you know it. It’s time to start eating healthy for life. No more deprivation. No more starvation. If you don’t get this basic truth right you will always fail because you will never learn how to maintain a proper way of eating.

2. Start eating REAL food. Stop eating CRAP (conventional, refined, additives, preservatives), junk and other denatured foods as well as sugar. If you haven’t done this yet now is the time to switch to natural foods the way Nature intended them to be: fresh, organic, unprocessed and whole. Your taste buds will thank you. You will be more satisfied therefore less inclined to cheat. Your waistline will thank you – your body will not have to struggle processing and detoxifying all the chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and other foreign substances instead of actually digesting and absorbing the food. You will absorb nutrients better: the better nourished your body is the easier time it has burning body fat. Your body cannot tell you what it’s missing in terms of specific nutrients but it will communicate this by asking you to eat more. Food cravings are most often caused by nutrient deficiencies or extreme blood sugar fluctuations.

3. Eat regular healthy meals and snacks every 3-4 hours. The worst thing you can do is skip meals. After 3 or so hours your body will read lack of food as an anticipation of starvation and start storing fat. There are a lucky few who can eat 2 meals a day and be slim but most people cannot. Eating regular small meals will keep your blood sugar even which is one of the most important factors in preventing you from overeating. It will curb your sugar cravings (or any cravings for that matter) and give you more will power to choose healthy foods instead and not overeat. It will keep your metabolic rate up making sure your body is burning calories instead of storing them.

4. Eat BALANCED meals. Don’t follow other people’s diets. What’s balanced for someone else may not work for you. No meal is healthy if it contains just protein or carbs (just fat would be rather difficult). Too much protein or too many carbs in a meal can cause a variety of reactions: too fast a drop in blood sugar leading to hunger and cravings, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, etc. Ideally, try to find out what your metabolic type is ( and experiment a little to figure out what ratios make you feel and function at your best. It may take some time but if you’re still confused about balanced meals it will be very helpful. In any case, your meal should always have all 3 components: a good source of protein, good whole carbohydrates and some healthy fats.

5. Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits and decrease the intake of starches which are very calorie dense (unless you’re an endurance athlete). You can also substitute starchy vegetables and legumes for grains if you feel better with a little more carbohydrates.

6. Eliminate all sodas, carbonated drinks, highly sweetened sports drinks and fruit juices. They are not only an extremely high and concentrated calorie source (except for carbonated water, of course) and do not offer much in the way of nutrition (except for pure fruit juice) but most of them are highly acidic. The more acidic your body is the harder time it will have shedding weight -it will be hard at work doing everything it can to alkalinize you, including drawing minerals like calcium from your bones, and not having much energy left to burn body fat. Calcium deficiency not only predisposes you to osteoporosis but in itself makes weight loss harder.
7. Drink at least half of your body weight in oz. of good quality pure water with a ph of at least 7.0. It will speed up your metabolism. It will make you fuller and therefore less prone to overeating. It will curb hunger as many times thirst is interpreted by the body as just that: hunger. It will hydrate you so you can feel more energetic and ready to exercise. It will give you more endurance to get through your workouts. It will help your body to detoxify making fat burning easier.

8. Eat smaller meals. Try to decrease your portion sizes just a little bit. If volume is important to you and makes you feel less deprived fill your plate up with veggies instead. You can eat a lot with fairly small amount of calories as vegetables are mostly water. This way you will also get important enzymes that your body needs for many reactions.

9. Make food a mindful occasion. Don’t inhale it! Slow down. Put your fork down in between bites. Relish it. Relax and enjoy every bite. Focus! (This really means: no phone calls, blackberries, TV, reading, computer, etc. Sharing food with friends is fine as long as you’re not fighting!) If you don’t have 30 minutes to eat slowly and digest your food not only will your digestion suffer but your body will scream for more food sooner than it really needs it.

10. Listen to your body. Get in touch with your emotions. Find the real reasons why you’re eating: are you hungry, thirsty, bored, tired, sad or depressed? If you can’t distinguish between emotional and physical hunger you will never be successful. Find ways to fill your soul with something meaningful, something that makes you happy. Don’t use food as a pacifier. As they say: “5 seconds on your lips, 5 years on your hips”. Ask for help and support if you have to.

11. What’s your real motivation for weight loss? If you don’t have enough internal motivation to lose weight and stay slim for your health’s sake but are doing it for someone else or for a future event your motivation will not last and within a short time you will be back to where you started.

12. Get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep at night. Lack of sleep affects many hormones in your body, among them the satiety hormone leptin and the hunger hormone ghrelin. The levels of leptin decrease not letting your brain inform you that you’re full while the levels of ghrelin increase telling you to keep eating.

*Please, see my next post about top ways to get fit, slim, lean AND healthy at the same time.

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