Why is it that North Americans are growing in physical size at a rapid rate - despite the fact that we have such advanced technology and access to fresh, organic, nutritious food?
Well, part of it is because out here in the Western hemisphere, in North America, we always want things bigger, better, and faster. Especially our meals.
And unfortunately for your waistline, this shows up.
This seemingly doesn't show in European countries, however. Ever notice how they all seem to stay slim, despite eating what North Americans would consider "unhealthy" or "fattening" foods - like breads, pasta, and wine.
Europeans stay that way for a variety of reasons, not just because of their food choices. They also tend to be more active. For example, I have a client who lived in Paris for a number of years, and he's told stories in the past about living on the fifth floor of his apartment, without an elevator. And he didn't own a vehicle.
Think of that the next time you carry your groceries in from the car.
Anyways, here at home we tend to go for convenience, and lots of it. Because of this, our eating habits and food choices are not, well, ideal.
Today, I want to help you analyze the typical North American style of eating, and give you solid strategies to build healthier, more body composition-friendly meals.
First, take a couple minutes and think of some of the meals you've eaten in recent hours. What are some of the common trends?
For breakfast, what's that typically look like?
How about lunch?
And dinner, what does that look like, most often?
How much time and consideration did you set aside for your choices, and preparation of those meals?
Let's take a look at a typical day of eating for most North Americans:
Breakfast (if you even eat it) - cereal, bagel/toast, orange juice
Lunch - sandwich, juice or soda, chips/cookie
Dinner - some kind of meat with a small serving of vegetable and potato or pasta
Snacks? Those are probably mostly made up of crackers, fruit, granola bars, cookies, and candy.
So, how much nutrition do you ACTUALLY get from these meals? What is good, and what can be improved upon?
Here's what's missing:
Does that sound like a day in the life of you?
It's OK. It's common. That's why I'm here. To help shed some light and offer you some easy, concrete solutions to turn your typical, nutrient-poor meals into nutrition powerhouses.
Let's take a look-see at what you can change.
Step one: find your protein.
Make this your number one priority for each meal. Why? For starters, it can help you feel fuller with less food (which is ideal for weight loss); But it can also improve your metabolism, energy levels, and body composition.
Protein is a foundation for sooo many metabolic processes in the body, it's crucial for optimal health and looking better in your clothes.
step two: eat your damn veggies!
Believe it or not, I hate veggies. I know, I am personal trainer and coach people to exercise and eat right. But it's true - I can't stand most vegetables.
But I eat 'em anyways. 'Cause they're good for me. So suck it up.
Eating your veggies is going to help you get your intake of micronutrients (think vitamins and minerals), improve the acid/alkaline balance in your body, and keep you satisfied throughout the day - which will help autoregulate your overall food intake.
So, first go for protein, then look for veggies.
step three: did you just workout?
No? Then I'd ditch the starchy carbs like potatoes, pasta, rice, or breads if you haven't just finished a workout recently. The high-starch foods are best eaten within a couple hours after exercise, because it's the easiest way for your body to utilize those carbs, when your muscles are more readily wanting the glucose coming from those foods.
Just to clarify, I am not saying these foods are bad for you, and need to be avoided. It's important to understand that for better body composition, the timing of these foods plays a big part in your results.
step four: gotta get your fat
Of course, get your dose of fats. You probably know (or you need to know) that fats are key to a healthy hormonal profile, better functioning metabolism, and reduced inflammation - so be sure to keep a good intake of fats with your meals.
OK, now you know what constitutes a solid, nutrient-dense meal. I'll leave you with the fifth and final step, which is a HUGELY important strategy that will keep your overall calories in check, and ultimately lead you to a slimmer waist:
Step 5: eat slowly - and stop when you're almost full.
Eating slowly will allow you to recognize when you've had enough. It will give your brain a chance to tell you that you're satisfied, and can put your fork down.
This could save you literally HUNDREDS of calories a week, and WITHOUT feeling deprived. Uh, that's kinda important.
And, stopping just before you're full means you don't have to feel bloated, uncomfortable, and wishing you wore your stretchy pants to dinner.
Note: You don't all have to gather 'round smiling at each other while chopping veggies.
I hope that gives you some practical strategies to start eating healthier meals, immediately.
And, if you're still wanting more, perhaps wondering what kinds of foods are best, how much of each to eat, and what some great guidelines are to control your food intake and burn calories with the best type of exercise, you can get all that free info by checking out Weight Loss Lessons. It's a "mini-course" packed with a ton of info on how to easily change the way your body looks and feels.
Get free access to the videos, food guides, and workouts by clicking HERE.