1. Eating healthy isn't 100% science. Keep things simple by following basic principles and using common sense
I don't count calories, macros or use any sort of fancy complicated formula or equation when preparing my food.
I did a great job if: I ate real whole foods (especially plants), ate when I was hungry, stopped long before I got stuffed and fit in an hour of movement.
Nutritional Science is the backbone of proper eating recommendations. You however don't need to actually know or implement all of that fancy-pants science into your dietary protocols.
The healthiest and leanest people I know don’t overthink nutrition science each day. But you know the people who do? Yo-yo dieters. These are the kinds of people who need an app for every single food they consume and freak out at any deviation.
Take home: Unless you're an elite athlete or a physique competitor, you don't need to worry about the science. Being healthy and lean for life is EASY without a 4 year degree in Nutrition. Principles over plans.
2. Healthy eating isn’t black & white. It’s doing your best with what you have.
You can have the world's greatest meal plan and guess what? You just ran out of Kale and the store is closed! But..but..my plan calls for kale. NOW WHAT!!!!!????
Great scrap the whole thing, I'm going to eat that pie I bought?
Instead if you run out of kale, do you have ANY other vegetables in your fridge? Spinach? Romaine lettuce? Even frozen vegetables would suffice.
Being able to make swaps and not just follow a black and white approach to your meal planning is vital to long term success.
Take home: Even the best laid out plans can go awry and to make the best of any situation. Often we scrap our plans because we have unrealistic expectations for how we should be eating.
3. Healthy eating isn't calorie counting. It’s paying attention to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues.
This is a tough one for people to understand. They think if only I could eat "x" calories each day, I'd be so friggin hot and ripped.
Except trying to tabulate your calorie intake and expenditure is a losing proposition. There are so many factors that can change nutrient density of vegetables and your proteins like: Variables during growth, your cook preparation style, and even varietal of vegetable.
For some, if they are unable to count calories they don't quite know what to do with themselves. But if you were to look around the world, there are many people who are in great shape because they are more in tune with their body's hunger cues.
Take home: Learning to pay attention and knowing when you're 80-90% (I'm comfortable) versus being stuffed (think after a buffet) is vital to not needing an app for that.
4. Healthy eating isn't always AMAZING. It's good but not that good either
Okay let's be honest steamed vegetables and baked fish isn't nearly as good as a hamburger or pizza.
You can however retrain your tastebuds to enjoy different types of foods, healthier foods. It takes time but it can be done. It's why we eat something from our childhood that we recall as AMAZING, and now it's only okay.
Take home: Food should always taste good, but not so good that it blasts you out in outer space every time. Again this goes back to expectations about how food is going to taste. If you've only been eating big sugary and salty foods, of course the broccoli is going to taste awful.
5. Healthy eating isn’t easy. But if you get organized with your daily routine it enables living healthily, and you'll find it gets easier and easier
Piggybacking off the last point, yes it's tough to eat 2 cups of roasted cauliflower instead of that basket of fries.
Remember the hardest part is starting. Decide to have oatmeal instead of cereal. Choose roasted chicken over fried tenders. Great job! Now there will be a bevy of friends, family, co-workers, Dr. Phil, TV, and magazines telling you otherwise. Stay the course! Have a support system that will back you when things get hard and remind you of the goals you need to achieve.
Take home: Luckily the more often you choose being healthy over a late night taco truck run, the easier it will get. I promise you it will.
Bonus: Healthy eating isn’t restriction. It's about striking a balance seamlessly into your life so you can make better healthy choices without feeling "deprived"
If I said to a client, starting tomorrow they could no longer have any dessert, I might end up in the poor house. Can't get between a person and their dessert!
But what might also happen is said client going home and inhaling all the ice cream, cake and cookies they can get their hands on.
There's no such thing as "clean" or "good" foods and bad foods. There's simply food.
I recommend to all my clients, indulge a bit everyday.
Take home: We don't set restrictions. But we do practice good portion control. Have a few cookies, just don't eat the whole bag!