Eat Happy. Be Healthy.

I’ve had a complicated relationship with food my whole life. I’ve been overweight (as a kid and later in life) and have also been a waif-ish size 4. It’s been up and down for me and food and I never felt I could just eat without some type of calorie consequence.

Sound familiar?

It wasn’t until my health was in jeopardy that food and I developed a whole new relationship, and a much healthier one.

Today, I’m at a weight that I’m very happy about, but better yet, my body is healthy because I’m feeding it the nutrients I want. Truth is, I eat more than I did when I was trying to lose weight. I can because I’m eating good nutritious stuff – not things with a bunch of preservatives and empty calories. Also, I haven’t touched a diet soda in years.

You can get exactly where I am – but in a way that fits what you love and that makes you happy.

There is no magic diet, it just begins with developing better habits and putting your health ahead of old, bad eating habits.

Eat Happy and Healthy

Good Stuff to Live By

Change How You Think of Food

How is it possible to get fit and lose weight without dieting? You have to change how you think about food. Stop thinking of it in terms of calories and start thinking of it in terms of nutrients.

I was forced to do that because of health issues. They started off with potassium and magnesium deficiencies, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Like many people that have struggled with a complicated relationship with food, I felt I was perpetually on a diet my whole life. But I don’t anymore, and it feels great.

When poor eating started to catch up with me, I completely changed how I saw food. I started reading all the nutrient labels and stopped eating food with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce or that didn’t give my body the fuel it needed.

I said goodbye, to diet soda and pre-packaged meals with tons of preservatives. And Hello to salmon, chicken, broccoli, potatoes, and other REAL food.

The impact? I got a lot healthier and lost 25+ pounds in the course of a year (that I haven’t gained back because it wasn’t a quick fix) and my self-esteem went from invisible to awesome! 

How can you follow a similar path and stop dieting and start living and eating happy?

Start with three simple tips:

Eat healthier by counting nutrients first.

Tip 1: Count nutrients first, calories second.

Use an app or piece of paper to write down what you eat daily and the nutrients it contains.  Get an average from the last week.

Compare this with the daily recommended intake of nutrients for your height and weight. (You can use this DRI calculator.

Make adjustments to what you’re eating to add the most needed nutrients into your diet first.

What happens? Your body begins getting fed what it needs, meaning you feel more full when eating and have more energy.

Tip 2: Do the "One Snack Swap"

Swap out one unhealthy snack that you eat regularly for a healthy one instead. This may seem like just a small change, but it’s one that can make a big difference over weeks and months.

Here are a few ideas for things you can swap to replace candy, chips, calorie loaded drinks, etc.:

  • Raisins
  • Orange Juice (non-sweetened)
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Almonds or other nuts
  • Low-fat yogurt

What happens? You are “hacking” your habit in a way that’s easy to integrate into your life. After a few weeks (4-6), you’ll find you start craving the healthy snack instead of the unhealthy one it replaced.

Tip 3: Eat Like a Hobbit (Smaller meals, healthy snacks)

Stop skipping meals and start eating small snacks throughout the day. This reduces hunger, gives you a chance to get more nutrients, and increases your metabolism.

Yes, I know. It sounds counter-intuitive, right? But skipping meals isn’t helping you – it didn’t help me. You’ll be less likely to binge if you’re eating small snacks between your meals and your body won’t go into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism. 

For example: I eat a snack of a handful of blueberries and part of a Larabar between breakfast and lunch. Then a yogurt with some raisins between lunch and dinner.

What happens? Your metabolism adjusts and doesn’t need to account for long periods of no food. You feel healthier because you’re giving your body “fuel” in the form of nutrients regularly throughout the day. This also enhances mood and energy.

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