My Top 10 Jewels (not Rules) for Healthy Eating

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 69 comments

Since launching my website, the number one question I receive is about FOOD. Women want to know what I eat and what they should eat in their quest for a healthy, fit, and toned body. We females care deeply about food. We spend a great deal of time buying it, preparing it, talking about it, growing it, socializing around it, reading about it, gazing lovingly at it, denying ourselves of it, and, alas, indulging in it. Oh, how we enjoy the sensuous qualities and comfort of food!

But we also get mad at it because it can make our stomach, head, or heart feel bad, and we sometimes hate ourselves for eating it. So we say “tomorrow will be a new day”…this will be our LAST bad day of eating (after just a couple more bites), and we’ll start a new diet tomorrow! And so we continue to ride the roller coaster of emotional eating. Up and down, around and ‘round it goes…but that can stop, girls! If you’d like to get off the out-of-control ride and onto some level ground, you’re in the right place. And I’m glad you’re here.

There is much more to say than can be contained in one blog post, but at least we’ll get the ball rolling with “My Top 10 Jewels (not Rules) for Healthy Eating.” They are jewels because I wholeheartedly believe there is a crown which awaits those of us who love God and persevere the tests and trials of this life (see James 1:12). Until we receive this crown of beauty, splendor, and glory, may we live our lives in such a way that we sparkle for the One who made us.  Taking care of the body God gave us by feeding it wholesome spiritual and physical food is a way we honor Him (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). 

I will continue to build on these 10 jewels—please stay tuned for future additions to my website—but for now I believe they will guide us on our individual path toward healthy eating and building a stronger, leaner, more fit and toned YOU!

 

1.)  Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, if you weigh 128 pounds, drink 64 ounces of water—or 8 cups—every day. The classic test to know we’re drinking enough water? Our urine will be clear, not yellow. Let THAT be your new goal! 🙂 Someday I’d like to write a whole post on the benefits of water, but for now, drink up! (I keep a big jug by my side all day from which I continually sip.)

 

2.)  Eat breakfast! Preferably a healthy breakfast with protein and complex carbohydrates, but probably anything is better than nothing. Breakfast literally “breaks” the “fast” our bodies have undergone all night sleeping and gets our metabolism going. Every morning I create my own concoction including oats, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, and cinnamon. This plus my post-workout protein shake (and sometimes some berries or banana) provides me a yummy, satisfying, and healthy meal to fuel my body for the day.

 

3.)  Eat five or six small “meals” a day—every two to three hours. I am not endorsing “grazing” all day on a bag of chips. These “meals” should ideally be comprised of protein and complex carbs. I realize this may be a new concept for many of you, but it is a much healthier way of eating because, among other benefits, it keeps your metabolism going, not slowing, all day.

 

4.)  Know your weaknesses and be prepared ahead of time to satisfy your cravings in healthy ways. For example, if you know that every afternoon you want chocolate, have a chocolate protein bar on hand (I like Zone Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter bars) and enjoy it as you would a Butterfinger or Reese’s. Instead of feeling bad that you’ve eaten empty calories and will experience a sugar high then low, you can feel GOOD that you’ve fueled your muscles with protein!

 

5.)  Read labels! Yes, your grocery shopping will take longer, but make it a habit to check labels—focusing on grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat—before tossing items into your cart. I also typically look at fiber, sodium, serving size, and ingredients. Even if you don’t know what everything means right now or ideal numbers to shoot for, get in the habit of finding the label and getting acquainted with it. I’ll teach you more as we go…

 

6.)  If you’re trying to lose weight, write down EVERYTHING you eat and be accountable to showing this food log to a trusted friend or personal trainer every couple of days. Statistics show that people who write down EVERY BITE of food they eat have far greater success losing weight than those who don’t. I have lived these words and know them to be true.

 

7.)  If you need to, redefine the word “diet.” It is not something we go on for six weeks only to return to our “normal” way of eating. Rather, our diet is very simply the foods we eat. For example, my diet consists of quite a bit of protein, healthy complex carbs, and healthy fats. My diet does not contain much white flour, white sugar, or unhealthy fats. Of course there are exceptions, but most of the time my diet is comprised of healthy foods which fuel my muscles, regulate my blood sugar, and give me energy. (And I honestly love eating them!)

 

8.)  Set yourself up for success, not failure. If you know you adore Golden Oreos or barbecue potato chips, don’t buy them! Simply don’t have unhealthy foods in your pantry or refrigerator or freezer. Instead, have on hand those healthy foods you WANT to eat…which YOU find personally satisfying.

 

9.)  Remember variety is the spice of life! Once you learn more about healthy options of proteins, carbs, and fats (information I plan to give you), start experimenting with foods you like and make your own creations. For example, plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is an AWESOME form of protein, and I have learned to add it as sour cream to a number of different foods increasing the healthfulness of the meal.

 

10.)  Keep a “present focus” on today. As with many aspects of life, do not dwell on past regrets or future worries. I know this can be difficult and require mental discipline, but it is also very freeing. ENJOY learning about and eating healthy foods, one meal at a time…before you know it you may be dazzling others with the jewels of a healthy eating lifestyle. 🙂

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