Good Afternoon Food Athletes!
How are you feeling today friends? Like down deep down in the pit of your stomach? Everything churning the way it should be, or do you wake up every day with that not so settled feeling. No, this is not the beginning monologue of an infomercial. The gut topic is an ongoing investigation. If your sole focus is dieting (hate that word) for a flat stomach, how you look on the outside, surprise!!!! The real work starts from the inside. It begins internally with an awakening of your habits. Recognize where you may be lacking, what you could improve and what is working for you. It's typical for a new client to come to me with a desire to modify food behaviors because they experience an achy tummy, usually due to unhealthy nutrition. But it's also possible to experience irritability from an imbalance of whole healthy foods. Too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Changing too many behaviors all at once can be shocking to your body so I advise taking baby steps. "Don't bite off more than you can chew" so-to-speak. There are so many factors that could be the culprit to an angry stomach. Although physically painful, it's also a total bummer emotionally, I'm sure we have all experienced being in a bad mood because of a belly ache.
I was a bit anxious as a kid, (please hold your comments) and sadly a kid doesn't really learn how to stress manage so I was at the mercy of my food being the dictator of my tum. It's a whole new world today and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see child practicing meditation, which would be incredible. So much of how our food reacts in our body has to do with our emotions, that's what I was talking about earlier when I say the work begins within. Although it's important to understand your history with food, try not to get obsessed or hung up on your past eating behavior in such a way that it impacts your wanted improvements negativity. As with life, it's easy to wish we did it differently in situations that bring us discomfort but looking for the lesson will keep us moving forward. Eating is a very sensitive conversation and it may give you a stomach ache just to talk about your food diary, so find silver linings even if it has to do with broccoli. One thing I hear from clients who are starting from ground level, like beginner 101 how to eat, is that they can't digest certain foods, and they have read something about avoiding this or that because it makes them puffy. My first suggestion, stop looking for reasons to eliminate food from your diet because you want a flat stomach. It's a myth that if you eat carbs you are going to get a large belly. If you are going to read on the web, read evidence based articles, follow a Nutritionist or RD or Doctor who has credentials. Here's what you want to avoid, a title of a blog that starts, "new discovery in fat loss", it's probably not going to be your safe solution to weight maintenance. The thing is that the human body is not a new discovery and if you learn more about our body and how we are designed to function than you can move on to attending to your own individual needs, with the guidance of a professional. So that's my little lecture for today. Moving on and back to the gut. Our intestines are beasts inside this body of ours. Just to give you a fun visual, I'm a little over 5 foot tall and when you uncoil a large intestine it's about as tall as me, and the small is 20 ft. What?!?! How on Earth are these things hanging out in this little human? Baffling and amazing. Once again the human body never fails to peak my interest. Well, without getting any more graphic, that was probably a lot for a Monday, these internal machines have the very important jobs of helping to absorb and store nutrients along with managing our digestion. So let's not make these innards angry and simply give them what they want. Here I go again, EAT A VARIETY OF WHOLE FRESH FOODS. If you are getting tired of hearing me say that go order a Happy-Meal, stop reading my blog and call it a day.
Or, try these tips:
No. 1 get regular
Be rigorous with your commitment to your lifestyle. Here's a smart start point, follow the 80-20 rule. This means the majority of your foods are fresh and whole. Are you vowing to begin a new way of eating? This begins with consistent behavior, if your old way was sporadic, skipping meals and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality, then start scheduling in your meals. Part of being "regular" is teaching your body basic good habits, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and lots of water.
No. 2 food-aid
Incorporate foods that aid in digestion and enzyme breakdown. Some of my faves I've listed below. Fruits and veggies contain fiber, great fillers and helps to keep it all moving and absorbing in your system. Probiotics are super gut soothers and intestine balancers. Fresh herbs not only add flavor to meals but some are medicinal.
Apple cider vinegar
Fresh Herbs/ Mint, Dandelion (greens) Tea
Hydrate! Lots of water.
No. 3 de-stress
Eliminate stress, yep, this is a tricky one. Once you get on a negative wheel that's turning and turning it begins a circle of doom, very unsupportive for the tummy. Avoid stress, may be a more realistic way to go, since unexpected situations can pop up. Try some slow deep breathing exercises and meditation to calm your insides. You do have the power to control how you react by becoming a master manager of your emotions.
No. 4 Mindful eating
Don't inhale your food. My dad is the slowest eater on the planet. Way before he got older and it became more difficult to eat hard foods (the denture thing) we would have this 2-hour marathon breakfast. Now every Sunday it's still "quality time" cause it takes forever to get through a pancake. I did not pick up this habit, and I've literally had to stop and put my fork across the room to just slow myself down, I just love food so I get carried away sometimes.
Take small bites. Chew your food. Don't over eat. I was taught to finish my plate or I wouldn't get dessert. This is a challenging one for parents because you are working hard to get the kiddos to eat and finish the food, but there is a fine line dealing with portion sizes these days and also the obesity epidemic. OMG, I have so much to talk about, sorry, getting back on track. My point, leave your stomach only partially full, 10% left over. So how do you know when you're done? It takes bout 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach that you are full so get tuned into your feelings. Don't just follow your gut on this one.
So Athletes, starting from Halloween and through the New Year, nutrition and fitness are in full swing. Goal setting and resolutions are put into action. There's scrambling and tripping over everything to get to the juice cleanse shop, everyone's mind is racing and trying to figure out a plan of attack to make it through just one more holiday party. No one wants to deal with the feeling of dread and regret the next morning because they over ate and drank. Maybe something sounds true and familiar and you're ready to make the next move. Whatever choices you make I wish the only belly ache you are having this holiday season is from a life full of fun and laughter.
PS, A majority of food strategies touch upon feelings, and being able to identify them. The process of eating isn't just an action of a spoon to mouth and moving the shoulder joint and jaw. If you are interested in fine tuning your eating behaviors, and BTW having fun too, click here to work with me.
Happy Monday Food Athletes!
Be Happy, Be Healthy, Love Your Body,
xx Jessi (your Food Athlete) xx