May 04, 2010

Living The Skinny Life: Eating Your Way Skinny Part 2-The Garden of Eating

Congratulations for making it this far in The Skinny Life! Last week we started with cutting out 1 bad food choice a day—this week we are going to talk about what I like to call The Garden of Eating. The Garden of Eating are the foods that you CAN eat, and boy is that list long!

That must be confusing, being on a “diet” where you can eat so much. Yet, The Skinny Life, as I’ve mentioned time and time again, is about fitting your jeans by fitting your healthy into your lifestyle! We have a lot to go over today, so let’s get started!

Change your 5-A-Day to a 9-A-Day. Fruits and vegetables are those incredible “original ingredients” that we talked about in our What Not to Eat blog, last week. Most fast foods and processed foods are made from stripped down versions of a fruit or vegetable—meaning that they have no nutritional value! Eating raw and whole fruits and vegetables is imperative to your health—they are low calorie, rich tasting, and fiber-filled to keep you from getting hungry between meal times. Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support healthy skin, proportional waists, and invigorating energy levels through-out your day. What does that mean for a Skinny Life Eater? It means that we need to change our 5-A-Day to 9-A-Day when it comes to our portions of fruits and vegetables. And I’m going to make this fun and easy for you! Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Let veggies be the biggest serving on your plate – and add a side salad with low-fat dressing or olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Replace half of the rice in a meal with chopped bell peppers, onions, spinach, and tomatoes—the flavor will be incredible, and you won’t even miss the rice!
  • Put a shmear of peanut butter on your whole-grain toast and put chopped nectarines, bananas, and strawberries on top.
  • This week, I’ll share many more easy ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet!

    Protein at EVERY meal is a MUST! Protein helps build the muscles in our body. And ladies, I’m not talking about bulky, heavy, muscles either! I’m talking about long, lean, and flexible muscles. Multiple studies show that eating adequate amounts of protein with each meal will keep you leaner and healthier. What makes protein so special? The amino acids found in protein do a combination of things, that nothing else you can eat are able to do. Protein builds muscle, raises our resting metabolism up to 30%, and keeps our glycemic levels stable (which means you eat less, yet feel full longer!).

    BUT tread carefully when selecting your protein—select the low-fat and lean cut versions of your favorites. Although there are good fats that your body needs, protein typically packs the bad fats that we talked about last week. So what are some good choices? Turkey, Chicken Breast, Salmon, and lean Beef cuts as well as low-fat dairy, fat free cottage cheese, and low-fat yogurt. For the non-meat eater, you want to consume beans, legumes, and soy.

    Making your day wholesome with Whole Wheats. As we went over last week, The Whites (white bread, pasta, and rice), don’t benefit our health in any way! Whole Wheats and Grains, however, are VERY good for us. Consuming the Good Wheats and Grains will help fuel your brain, keep you full longer, and energize you for strenuous activity. On the other side of the fence, you also don’t want to eat to many Whole Wheats or Grains either—it can increase the size of your stomach, and pack on the pounds. Aim for 2-3 servings every day of whole wheat bread, couscous, brown long-grain rice, or whole-wheat tortillas (just to name a few options).

    A great body needs the Good Fats. That’s right—there are good fats that your body needs in order to live The Skinny Life! In fact, the Good Fats actually help your body burn more fat. The Good Fats also lower your bad cholesterol, heighten your good cholesterol, and keep your heart healthy. What are these? Mono and Poly unsaturated fats, are the good fats we want to cook with and consume. These include the fats found in fish, canola oil, olive oil, and avocados, walnuts, and almonds. Sprinkle your salad with a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar; marinade your meats with canola oil and ground nuts; put avocados on your favorite sandwiches!

    The Skinny Life Eating Strategy. This week, we are going to take an even bigger step in our Skinny Life. Did you know that grazers, or people who eat steadily through out the day, actually maintain a stable and healthy weight? Even better, is that those who eat 6-8 mini-meals throughout the day actually lose unwanted fat! So this week, I’m going to challenge you to change your eating schedule to 6-8 mini-meals. Aim for roughly 200-300 calories (if you count them), or an apple and a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter, at each meal. When you consistently eat every 2-4 hours, your body’s metabolism actually rises! This is because your body is busy using energy to digest foods that are nutritious for you, and it keeps your glycemic levels stable.

    Continue to journal your meal choices, and the triggers for your eating. By now you should see a change in pattern—you’ll recognize your body’s true hunger, instead of the emotional, stress, or convenience of eating. You’ll also begin to taste the richness of foods again, feel more energized, and start to see your scale tip by a few lbs.

    And don’t forget—your progress isn’t just getting you healthy, it may be the key to winning an incredible prize. Celebrate your body, your newfound eating freedom, and your conscious living!

    Success and Happiness,

    Crystal

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