How to eat for health and lose weight (without going anywhere near a diet!)

I am one of those people that other people like to hate. On the surface it looks like I eat whatever I want, and I never put on weight. This is true and false at the same time. I do eat whatever I want; that said, I do have very good eating habits which means that I don’t crave junk food. Junk food upsets me on so many levels, but the main one is that I am using my life force to ingest something into my body that is just going to take up space and not help the cause of keeping me in tip top shape. Is it me or does everyone see how inefficient this is? If I have to expend the energy to eat it, then the only business it has in my body is to contribute to my wellbeing. I am, what I will call, a conscious eater. I am aware of what I eat and I watch the way my body responds to food.

You are what you eat

Knowing what to eat is half the battle. A lot of people really want to eat better, but they don’t even know where to start. With a lifetime time of bad eating habits behind them, they crave junk food and guess what, eating junk food makes you crave more junk forward. Without the skills to eat well (and eating well is a skill), good intentions fall by the wayside. Believe it or not, we teach our children how to swim because it is a life skill, but we don’t teach them how to eat well, which is something they need every day of their life!

To my mind, it is really easy to eat well. Eating well means eating nutrient dense foods that fill you up, tastes and looks good. If you want more on this, check out my book: Octopus on a Treadmill; Women, Health, Success, Happiness.

There is no point in forcing yourself to eat something that tastes like straw, but because you think it is good for you, you persist with it. While that may be all well and good in the short term, you will not be able to sustain that chewing straw look on your face in the long run. You need to find out what you like, and which is good for you, and eat that. You also need to try new things to expand your eating choices.

As you understand more about food, you will be surprised at the things you start trying and liking. You become open and more adventurous in your tastes and begin to include all sorts of weird and wonderful new things into your diet. My rule of thumb is; try everything at least once. That is how I found myself eating raw horse meat in Japan, but that is a story for another blog!

Your body is your work horse

Your body is a tool, you need it to navigate life and your daily battles so you owe it to yourself to look after it so that it can serve you well. What you put in it is what manifests as good health. You cannot expect to keep eating processed food, that has had all the goodness sucked out of it, and expect to have a vibrant body full of energy and ready to serve you day in day out.

How to eat well

  • Make the effort to eat well at least once a day. By eat well, I mean a proper unrushed sit-down meal.
  • The very simple rule is that half your plate should be vegetables. If you stick to this rule alone, you will be surprised what a difference it will make. It doesn’t matter how you do it, boil, steam, bake whatever, just get it on your plate and make sure it takes up half the plate. This allows you to get away with a multitude of sins with other half of the plate.
  • Make the vegetables as colourful as possible, that is, the more variety the better, and it is also more pleasing to eye; and believe it or not we do eat first with our eyes.
  • Whichever way you are cooking your veggies, 10 minutes is enough for any vegetable. If you are having a salad even better, just make it as colourful as you can. I throw in all sorts of weird and wonderful things into my salad.
  • If you can go organic with your produce, please do, for starters it tastes better and you will be cutting out all sorts of toxicity.
  • Cut out processed foods wherever possible. They have lots of added sugar, which is the villain when it comes to weight gain.
  • If you are looking for weight loss, then you might want to go easy on the starchy vegetables; but if you are going for the variety and colour, then you will have other veggies, so you will not be overdoing it on any particular one.
  • Sometimes we are all in a rush and can’t have half a plate of vegetables and just have to grab and go. If that is the case, maybe have fruit for your starter. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just ‘course correct’ at the next meal. So long as you are not grabbing and going all the time, and take time to eat properly at least once a day, you are on course to eating well.
  • If you eat animal protein, make sure it is free range and organic wherever possible. I know this is the more expensive option, but remember it is cheaper to prevent disease then heal it. I also said wherever possible, so don’t beat yourself up if you are not organic or free range yet. The awareness is enough to start moving you in that direction. Once you know better, you will do better.

Convenience

I know there are those of you that think that you haven’t got time to eat well. My question to you is: “Have you got time to be sick?” Once you understand what you are doing, eating well is really quite easy. Most foods that I make normally take me 30 minutes to cook from start to table. A typical one will be grilled fish and vegetables.

I decide whatever mixture of vegetables I am going to have; say leek, courgettes and carrots, and I will stir-fry them in olive oil with some seasoning and garlic. This takes next to no time. Check my Instagram for my infused oil here, two tablespoons full is all I need.

I will then grill my fish – Let’s say salmon fillets seasoned with a bit of salt; 10 minutes on each side and, hey presto, dinner is served.

If you are pushed for time and have to grab processed food like chicken goujons, burgers or something like that (because you can’t spare 20 minutes to grill fish, by the way it will take 15 mins to cook the goujons/burgers or whatever processed stuff you have, oh the fallacy of it all), you can still get the other half right with the vegetables.

Conclusion

There really is no excuse not to eat well. Sitting down to eat something lovely, preferably with people you love, is one of life’s great pleasures. So why not, improve your health as you improve your relationships with those you eat with.

To the people that think I can eat what I want, damn right I can; but I am a conscious eater and take care of the tool which is my body which in turn allows me to enjoy life.

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