When asked for quick advice on how to start losing weight, I usually shed light on something we can all do more of: eating real food.
Real food is fresh, natural, whole, clean, and as close as possible to its original state in nature. Real food containing multiple ingredients is simple and pure, with each component serving a meaningful purpose in the recipe.
Real food is not processed, dyed, artificially sweetened, or artificially flavoured. It does not contain fillers, additives, or chemicals you cannot pronounce.
Not eating real food, or not eating enough real food, can be a weight loss block because it interrupts your digestive process.
Food that is complicated or overly processed is difficult for your body to recognize, and gets stuck in your body. It delays digestion, which retains weight.
For example, experiments and research have found that in diet soda, which contains many chemicals foreign to our body’s digestive system, Aspartame stops a key gut enzyme from performing its work in breaking down fat during digestion.
If you want to test this for yourself, try weighing yourself before bed and in the morning on a day when you have had an artificially sweetened drink like Diet Coke. Note the change in weight between night and morning.
Eat similarly the next day, but omit the diet soda or any foods containing artificial sweeteners. Weigh yourself before bed and first thing in the morning. Note the change in weight between night and morning.
Comparing day 1 to day 2, you should see a greater change after day 2 because you consumed one less thing (artificial sweetener) to free your digestive process to function as it naturally should.
Eating more real food is simply about elevating the quality of the food you consume.
Here are some easy strategies to help you incorporate more real food into your daily routine:
1) Start deconstructing the processed foods you are used to
Raise your awareness of what you eat by breaking down food into its core ingredients.
For example, if you tend to reach for that factory-made, pre-packaged granola bar, then instead of that, try reaching for a handful of nuts, some dried fruit, and a cup of yogurt mixed with oats.
Here’s one of my recent videos on making homemade cinnamon banana energy bites requiring only a handful of simple ingredients and 5 minutes of your time:
If you tend to snack on something chocolatey, try preparing your own chocolate snacks so you are more in control of what goes into the recipe. Here’s how I make my own chocolate almonds requiring 3 ingredients and 5 minutes:
2) Read ingredient labels before you buy food
Become a more conscious consumer by reading the ingredient labels of the food you purchase.
By no means is this meant to be tedious or time-consuming. All you have to do is glance at the list of ingredients and look for two exclusion criteria: if it contains ingredients you cannot pronounce OR more than 10 ingredients, then choose a healthier option. Foods with more than 10 ingredients have likely been processed or over-complicated by additive or filler ingredients.
3) Make food choices to optimize for nutrients and energy
Did you know that your brain, though only one of many organs in your body, uses up 20% of your total energy needs? When you’re well-fueled with energizing and nutrient-dense foods, you’ll have the full brainpower you need to be mentally sharp, focused, and feeling your best.
Simply improving the quality of the food you eat can go a long way to both clear a weight loss block and make you feel better overall.
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series on more ways you can clear your weight loss blocks.
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