Smart Weight Loss: Calories matter.
Here’s what will help you to manage yours. From biohacking to behavioral psychology.
My name is Angela. I’m a nutrition/health/weight loss coach recently turned food educator and entrepreneur.
Most of my adult life (I’m 33 years old) I spent either losing weight or helping others to lose weight. The lack of eating culture and food education, our poorly designed food environment created this present state, where most of us have/had some issues with food and eating, resulting in health and weight problems.
We are arguing about calories, carbs and fats, and the best human diet, leaving out this elephant in the room — no matter what conclusion is the “ultimate truth” until we rebuild our food environment and start prioritizing our own health and sanity instead of corporate profits — nothing will change and the rates of obesity will continue climbing up.
In this post I’ll share with you how you can too, just like I and many of my clients did, having struggled with food for years and decades, how you can too optimize and design your food environment and lifestyle behaviors to never have weight issues again. Effortlessly.
If you aren’t sleeping well — you aren’t gonna be well.
When we don’t get enough sleep we are, scientifically proven, hungrier, angrier, more insulin resistant, storing more body fat, having more inflammation and less willpower — quite a punch to our weight loss efforts. Don’t you think so?
What do I do to have weight and health supporting sleep every night?
1. Regularity: I sleep on the same schedule, weekend or not.
2. Room: dark (pitch dark, blackout curtains or a good mask at least), cool (18–20C) and quiet (I use earplugs also just incase).
3. Caffeine — 9–12 hours before bed time, switch to decaf/no caffeine foods and drinks after. Alcohol — I don’t drink and all the studies show that alcohol helps to fall unconscious but makes our sleep quality worse. If you must consume alcohol — lunch is the best time.
4. Food? 3 hours before bed or earlier. Water, teas etc.? Don’t drink too much before bed to avoid bathroom trips in the middle of the night. I stop liquids an hour before bed.
Here is my video on the best sleep routine for health and weight loss.
FASTING AND SNACKING
I recommend to have a 14-hour window and a 3-meal routine for most people, especially at the beginning. Once you get comfortable with that, comfortable and CONSISTENT, where it feels like your second nature — then you can try to fast more, have fewer meals if you’d like.
From clients’ experience — don’t jump from binging and anything goes to OMAD (one meal a day) and 23-hour fasting window. It’ll backfire as a never-ending vicious circle and yo-yo weight loss. It’s when slow is fast. Staying consistent with 3 meals a day might be slower than one meal a day but it’s definitely faster than jumping back and forth between all-out cheat day (weekend, week and the whole month) and complete fasting or/and a zero-carb keto.
Constant eating (that what snacking is) is never a great idea for long-term metabolic health and weight management.
This rule is the best one we have to manage without too much complexity:
a) Nutrition adequacy of our diet — that translates in our high energy and low hunger levels, our good state of health, which affects our weight loss journey;
b) Macro nutrient ratio of our diet suited for human biology and metabolic health;
c) Satiety and hunger levels.
It’s very simple.
- Maximize veggies.
- Don’t skip protein.
- Manage carbohydrates.
Take any of your meals. ½ of our plate (or more) is covered in veggies, green and colorful, fresh and cooked, non-starchy. ¼ of our plate is nutritious protein (with fat, don’t skip it — it’s essential): shellfish like oysters and mussels, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, mackerel and herring, organ meats like chicken livers, poultry, red meat, eggs. ¼ of our plate is the rest — beans and pulses, whole grains, sweet potato and other tubers, maybe ½ avocado, or a handful of nuts or seeds, or olives, or 30g of dark chocolate, a table spoons of olive, avocado or coconut oil. (Fancy some fruit? I highly recommend to eat fruit 20–30 minutes before any meals.)
Here is a video about how I follow this simple plate rule while traveling.
FOOD VARIETY FOR NUTRIENT ADEQUACY
In all food groups mentioned above strive for maximum variety — different veggies, protein sources, pulses, tubers, nuts, shellfish etc.
With different foods we get different nutrients — fatty and amino acids, fibers, anti-oxidants and other phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, trace and essential nutrients, stuff we haven’t discovered yet. The more variety — the better our chances are to meet nutrient requirements — the more energy and health we’ll build, the less hunger and cravings we’ll have. Most of our hunger and cravings often come from nutrient inadequacy created by very poorly designed and monotonous diet.
Follow me on Instagram @1000yearyoung, watch my stories to see how I follow this and other rules, what I eat daily, what micro and macro nutrients I’m getting on a regular basis, how I fast and when I eat.
COOK MEALS — EAT MINDFULLY
I don’t know what it is about cooking but only when I cook and have my meals in a peaceful environment, unrushed and uninterrupted by screens, emails, browsing Instagram, watching a Netflix documentary only then I feel nourished and satisfied with my meals. And if I have some snack, a meal replacement shake or a bar, some nutritionally-dumb meal cooked elsewhere — the calories might be the same but I get hungry much faster, much more often and I never feel satiated or satisfied fully. I don’t have any science on that — but it seems that it works for all of us, human-beings.
Not shakes, bars, shots, powders, extracts, fat bombs, keto cookies, smoothies, soylent-like meal replacements.
Our body has all kinds of sensors, many of which we probably haven’t discovered yet, to “know” what kind of foods we get — the volume, nutrient density, energy, macros, the amount of water and fiber, and not just separate parts but also “the package”, whether that was an apple or apple juice. Anytime we modify foods — foods change, how our body and brain interact with them changes.
An apple is never the same as powdered apple extract. Sugar beet is not the same as sugar. Whole grains are not the same as whole grain flour. Whole nuts and seeds are not the same as nut butters. (For example, did you know that even simple act of roasting almonds will add about 15–20 absorbable calories per ounce/30g?)
Olives aren’t the same as olive oil. Avocados aren’t the same as avocado oil. Coconuts aren’t the same as coconut oil.
Many of my clients start losing those last 5 kgs after switching to a 100% whole foods “diet”.
Some of my rules, that made weight maintenance easy and effortless:
- Don’t bring tempting foods (like sweets or cashews for me) into the house.
- Don’t read, watch, look at, think, talk and fantasize about foods you don’t want to be eating anymore.
- Don’t go to trigger places — bakery or candy isles at your local supermarket, candy and ice-cream shops, fast-food places, donut shops, cheesecake factory, your favorite pasta/pizza place, cheese counter — whatever those place are for you, avoid them at all costs during this vulnerable period of rebuilding your relationship with food.
- Don’t go out with trigger people — you know, the ones that make you wanna eat donuts every time you see them. Make some fitness friends or turn your donut friends into fitness friends by asking them out on a stroll in a park with no coffee/donut shops a mile nowhere near.
- Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets, vacations, office cafeteria — other options might be more costly but your better health and fitness are worth it. It’s still a struggle for me to say no to tempting foods in all-you-can-eat places!
- No big bags of anything! Single servings for trigger items like nuts. If you buy a big bag of anything — divide it into small zip-lock bags. Having troubles managing portions of food? Get containers and eat out of them. Get measuring spoons and cups — otherwise our brain will ALWAYS make us eat more, not less. (1tbsp of oil is 120 cal, 2 tbsp are 240 cal — how certain are you, that you can eye-ball the difference?)
The more fiber you manage to eat from whole foods (vs some fiber supplement or fiber-enriched protein bars or keto coffees) — the better your gut health will be, the more satiated and less hungry you’ll feel.
I average 30g a day. I built up to that. And it never felt easier to maintain ideal weight feeling completely satisfied with my meals. I just never crave anything anymore. Wouldn’t you want that? Don’t you think it would help you to lose weight and keep it?
Just like with sleep — our body and brain, our digestive system get conditioned and primed by timing of eating.
If we only eat at certain hours at certain environments — soon it’ll feel unnatural to eat outside those hours and places.
For me it feels really awkward to eat outside of 12–6PM eating window and outside of my kitchen. It feels extremely unnatural to start my day with anything but fruit, veggies, protein rich foods. It feels odd to snack or put any sort of sweetener in my coffee or tea. It feels weird to eat a meal without loads of veggies.
I’ve practiced this regularity for so long that anything different feels like a very weird thing to do! Humans are very habitual creatures! Let’s use it for good!
Stay active. Walk. Lift something heavy (body weight will do). Stay flexible. Don’t overdo it.
You know what helped me a lot to finally get into my ideal body shape and fitness levels? Doing less and working out on purpose.
I stopped lifting like I was getting ready for some bodybuilding competition. I started doing more mobility, flexibility and recovery work. I started walking more enjoying the outside.
And you know what happened? I stopped feeling extremely hungry and I didn’t need that much food to manage my physical stress anymore (the body always overcompensates to be safe), and eating and exercise became much more relaxed and joyful. That was also a huge factor on my journey — allowing myself to do less. (I work out every day for an hour but I don’t push myself that much every day, I add more yoga, dancing, martial arts to my lifting, I do HIIT workouts 1–2 times per week tops. I walk for about 2 hours a day)
You might say at this point — “But this is all irrelevant! Calories still matter more!” They might indeed. Ask yourself though, “How well have you been managing yours? Why is that?”
Look at these practices and see where you might be doing it differently and ask yourself, “Is this way I’ve been doing it working for me? What if I do it this other way instead?”
I shared with you here something that I’ve accumulated in the last 2 decades of my practice. Try it out — it’s good stuff.
One day our food environment and system will be designed in a way that helps us to maintain great eating habits, great health, weight and fitness. Till that day comes — here is something you can do.
Have questions? Need more details? Not sure how you can apply it in your situation — let me know and I’ll help. And follow me on IG @1000yearyoung to see my daily practice.
*I’ll coach you through these changes when needed. Angela@CreateYourself.Today
Tune in FOOD SCHOOL Smarter Stronger Leaner podcast — on a mission to inspire a world where food makes us better!
🙂THANK YOU FOR READING!
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