The first thing you learn when you become a Health Coach is that everyone thinks that you eat ‘healthy’ 100% of the time. Guess what? Eating well doesn’t mean that you only eat carrot sticks and sip water all day long. It’s that over the top mind-set that makes people think it’s too hard to be healthy, so why bother trying.
The truth is that everyone can eat like a health coach. Just like you, health coaches come in all shapes and sizes and are at different points in their journey to wellness. Some coaches want to lose weight, others have discovered a more natural way of dealing with pain, discomfort, mental health concerns or various ailments, and some enjoy living a more balanced and happy life.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can never eat at your favorite fast food place, Chinese restaurant or ice cream shop. It means you have decided to discover which foods are harming your body, increasing your chance for illness and disease, and preventing you from enjoying life.
What many people, including health professionals, fail to realize is not everyone will thrive on a low-fat diet, vegetarian diet, or even diets recommended by the American Heart or Diabetes Associations. It’s important to discover what foods work best for you, your family and your lifestyle. Baring any dietary restrictions, if your plan includes an occasional ice cream cone, you should feel free to indulge and not feel guilty.
It’s time to put away the excuses. You are not too old, it’s not too hard, and your kids will not starve if you start giving them better quality food. Anyone can start eating like a health coach by making just a few simple changes.
1. Drink More Water
Did you know that most people are dehydrated? Dehydration causes a number of health problems including headaches, fatigue, digestive disorders, joint pain, and weight gain. It also helps to drink a lot of water early in the day to avoid disturbing your sleep at night.
Start replacing some of those fruity drinks, sports drinks, soda or that third cup of coffee with water. You’ll be surprised to find that your cravings for sugar and caffeine will disappear in just a few days.
2. Eat More Real Food
Many processed foods are loaded with sugar, salt and fat. These ingredients act like addictive drugs in your brain and make you crave more and more food. While that’s great news for food industries who love it when you spend a lot of money on their products, it’s not so good for your health.
Look for food that comes in or near its natural state instead of in a box. Fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, nuts and seeds are great examples of ‘real’ food. Some of these foods may be eaten raw (e.g. apples, salads, almonds), but others may require you to steam, roast, bake, stir-fry, grill or use other cooking methods.
There are a ton of easy, simple and quick recipes available in cookbooks and online, so even an inexperienced cook can prepare a delicious meal in under 30 minutes. Even better, learning to cook with your friends, spouse, or children can be a great learning and bonding experience. We all need to eat, so it makes sense to learn how to cook.
3. Eat Healthy Fats
We’ve all been brainwashed to think that fats are bad and we must eliminate all fats from our diet. However, that’s only part of the story. Trans and saturated fats increase the risk for many diseases and should be reduced or eliminated, but other fats provide health benefits.
The brain is about 60% fat. Without a daily dose of ‘good’ fats, the brain begins to starve and fails to function properly. One of the most important healthy, unsaturated fats is omega 3 fatty acids. You can get your daily supply of omega 3s in salmon, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach), and high quality fish oil supplements. Remember to feed your brain a healthy diet every day.
4. No Need To Super-Size
Meal and snack portion sizes have gotten completely out of control. Poor quality, processed foods don’t fill you up. As a result, you tend to eat more and get hungry again very quickly. The trick is to eat better quality food. It fills you up quickly, leaves you feeling satisfied longer, gives you energy, and doesn’t leave you craving sugary junk food.
Even at home, people tend to fill up their plates. Try experimenting with different portion sizes of lean protein, grains, and vegetables and see how you feel. The portion sizes may vary depending on your gender, age, and level of activity, but you’ll find the amount that works best for you.
Enjoy Your Life
Anyone can eat like a Health Coach. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be a 100% restrictive diet. It’s more about eating the foods that make you feel good, give you energy and help your body to fight illness and disease. So if you are ready to change and want to enjoy your life, start eating like a health coach. Just remember that even health coaches allow themselves to have a guilt-free break and enjoy some cookies, ice cream or an indulgent restaurant meal.