Over the weekend, I attended parts of the Boston MANIA event in Danvers, MA. MANIA is a big fitness convention allowing fitness professionals to get together, learn from the “experts” and gain some continuing education credits. This was my 3rd MANIA event, and while I think it can be beneficial, I think it will be my last time attending. I’ve noticed that not much changes in terms of presentations/sessions from year to year and I didn’t feel like I gained much in the way of new fitness tips/exercises that I can use in my classes.
However, on Saturday afternoon I opted to switch from a battle ropes class (because it was seemingly the same as it was a few years ago when I took it) to a session called “What Do I Eat”, which was lead by Bruce and Mindy Mylrea. Mindy is the creator of Tabata Bootcamp and she and her husband have transformed their diet over the past 5 years to being a primarily whole food plant based diet. While this isn’t necessarily the diet/lifestyle for me, I always enjoy learning more about this way of life from people who have spent years researching, experimenting and living a certain lifestyle.
There were many parts of the presentation that I really enjoyed, but I think what I liked the most was their approach to working with and helping clients who want to lose weight. Rather than telling them they can’t have something (because deprivation always has the opposite effect!), they tell them that they can, but they show them how to re-prioritize what they’re eating. It was a super simple concept, which is exactly why I wanted to share it with you; as my girls Lauren and Athena always say: healthy doesn’t have to be hard. If you start with a few manageable changes that you feel like you could sustain for the long-haul, you’ll find that the whole process of change will be easier than if you start out by removing all the “bad” stuff.
Here’s what they shared with us:
The idea being, start with your veggies, fruits, grains, etc. because the stomach response to stretch first and then calories so filling it up with food that takes up a lot of space without a lot of calories first will help eliminate filling up with all the high calorie foods that don’t take up a lot of space (ie: it takes eating more of that food to stretch the stomach and tell you you’re full). After that, you eat your fillers, which is probably my favorite part of the meal- I LOVE sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc. Lastly, you eat what you really want- whether that be steak, pizza, pasta, etc. By filling up on the whole, natural foods first by the time you get to your bowl of pasta, you’ll likely be too full to eat the whole dish, which is key if you’re trying to lose weight.
While listening to them speak on this, I couldn’t help but think back to pizza lunches at work. Rather than filling my plate with multiple pieces of pizza- which I know will weight me down for the rest of the afternoon- I take one plate and fill it up with salad- lots of salad! Then, I take a slice of pizza on another plate. I eat my salad- maybe even have seconds of it!- first and then make my way to the pizza. By this time, my stomach has been filling up with lots of veggies (stretch factor!) so I’m less likely to eat multiple pieces of pizza, but i still feel satisfied because I ate pizza which was what I really wanted. Win-win situation if you ask me.
I know this may seem like a no-brainer to a lot of you, but if you struggle with weight loss and dieting, maybe this will help you re-think what you’re doing and try a new approach if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working. Also, Lauren and Athena are great resources for this topic, too, because they believe in a similar approach to weight loss.
Questions for you: Are you someone who jumps from diet to diet or do you prefer to make lifestyle changes? Do you work better going “cold turkey” and eliminating stuff entirely or do you prefer an approach like the one above where you keep in your “guilty pleasures” (not my favorite term) but just changing your portion sizes and increasing veggies?