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5 to Thrive Review + Q&A 

Hello, everybody. Welcome. Today we're going to talk about our 5 to Thrive series. I had so much fun putting this together for you, and I appreciated the feedback I got as well. It seemed like it was a nice New Year's surprise, and you guys had a lot of fun with it. I think going forward, based on the feedback I got from you, I will definitely be doing more of these 5 to Thrive series, so I'll keep my ear to the ground, as I always do, and look for health trends that I think will interest you, and also that I'm hearing a lot when I'm talking directly to you, the kind of stuff are you interested in, and what's top of mind. And, I'll be putting together a series like this for you, just five easy emails with how to incorporate habits. And even if you don't want to incorporate them, just to better understand what they are and how they might be impacting your life.

5 to Thrive: Five Simple Habits to Start 2019 Right. I mean, we're already in the second week of 2019. I's crazy how time flies. I hope it's going well. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and I hope that this year is starting out to be a wonderful year. These five habits will certainly be worth revisiting if you're watching this in the future. Absolutely still on point and still worth knowing about.

5 to Thrive Quick Recap

We looked at:

  • doing a thought detox

  • how to hydrate your body

  • cortisol conscious workouts

  • white space and JOMO 

  • intermittent fasting 

Habit #1: Thought Detox/Ugly Journaling

The first 5 to Thrive habit was this idea of a thought detox. If you've been around here for any length of time, then you know I'm a huge fan of what I call ugly journaling. Where this came from was in talking with the women that I work with, there was often this feeling of wanting to take up a practice of journaling, and in fact, owning several really beautiful journals. This is not that. This isn't some sort of keepsake that you are going to refer back to, pass onto your kids, remember what was going on in your life down the road. This is more grabbing scrap pieces of paper, getting whatever isn't sitting right, whatever feels sticky, whatever feels like it isn't flowing out onto that piece of paper and out of your body, out of your head, and just processing it in that way.

That's one of the reasons I call it ugly journaling. You don't need a beautiful journal for this. You can get rid of any of those sort of ugly feelings inside. And when you are done, you are going to just tear it up. It's gone. It's done.This is the point of ugly journaling. I think this is a life-changing practice, and I personally have seen incredible results with just mindset shifts and understanding what's going on, understanding what you want, understanding what you don't want, what's working, what's not working. This can really shed a lot of light in those areas.

Question 1: "Does it matter or is it better to ugly journal in the morning? I like to do it before bed to clear the day."

Great. It doesn't matter. You can start your day with this. You can empty your head in the morning to go through your day clearheaded and focused. You can do it in the evening to clear the day and go to sleep clearheaded and focused. Doesn't matter. Do either, whichever one works for you, just make sure you're doing it.

Question 2: "I tried to ugly journaling once. I had nothing to write. Should I try again?"

Yes. Yes, you should try again, and that isn't unusual, especially when you're starting. In the beginning, it feels strange, like you're just writing on a piece of paper for five minutes. You set a timer, and you just write whatever pops into your head. Sometimes you barely even lift the pen from the page. Again, this is not something that you're referring back to. It's not something that you're going to be reading, so it doesn't matter what it looks like. But, it can feel a little strange to begin with.

You're basically developing the habit of getting in touch with that inner voice, that wisdom that is inside you that knows what to do and knows what you need to hear. And you're just creating space to let that flow onto the page. It can feel strange in the beginning. I just suggest writing that down. Write down, "I don't know what to write. This seems like a waste of time. I don't know what I'm doing. What have I been thinking about lately? What's on my mind," and just start to see what comes out. Every time you do this, does something magically appear that you're like, "Aha! now I understand it all"? Of course not. That's not the point. The point is to develop a daily practice to be in touch with that inner part of that just knows exactly what you need.

And you are going to have days where you'll be like, "Wow. Okay, I didn't make that connection, and now I see it," and other times it'll just be something that you do. You tear up, and you won't give any more thought to it. So, just start with some prompts. I don't know why I'm doing this. What do I want to write about? What would I do if I knew what to do? Stuff like that, and just see what comes out. Definitely try again.

Question 3, this is an interesting one: "I'm trying to never have negative thoughts. I want to only have positive in my life. This seems to be really negative."

Okay, I can see that point of view. It is called ugly journaling, and we have mentioned getting some sort of ugly stuff out of you. There's a couple things I want to bring up with this question. Never trying to have negative thoughts. I think this is a very societal, very North American thing to view some emotions and some thoughts as negative and some positive.

For example, say you've just suffered a great loss and you feel sad. Is that a negative emotion or is that a necessary part of processing what's happening? I think the better thing to do is to really observe how you are reacting to the emotions that you are experiencing instead of labeling them as negative or positive. Because trying to force yourself to feel positive all the time is ... I know that's what we hear, you know, you want to be positive, you want to have high vibration thoughts, and everything is about staying positive. But, the truth of the matter is that's not the whole of life's experience. Some things are going to happen that will hit our stuff in a way that makes us feel triggered by it, and that might be something that we see as negative. If you just stand back and observe it, that's really the process of this journaling. It's to be more of an observer of your thoughts and your emotions. When you say negative and positive, you're really putting a judgment on them, and that's not the point of this at all.

Still, I can appreciate your point here. And if you have tried ugly journaling ... I've experienced this with one other person that I worked with where she just felt like she was constantly writing negative stuff. Maybe that stuff needed to come out, but maybe that's something to journal about as well. Why does this feel negative? Why is this negative stuff coming up? What is it here to tell me? And then I would adopt it in that way. Hopefully that answered your question. If you want to do a bit more following up with me, just let me know.

Those were the questions for our thought detox, or our number one 5 to Thrive habit, ugly journaling. 

Habit # 2: Hydrating.

This is always a popular topic. This is always something that most people want to improve. The way that I look at it is make it as easy as possible. Half your body weight in ounces of water a day. There's your goal. Easy to do, easy to measure, and easy to see how you're feeling.

I also included in that particular email lesson a habit tracker that you could download. You can use that for any habit you're trying to build upon this year. Habit truckers are wonderful because then you just mark off the days that you do the habit, and it's really satisfying to see all those Xs, or circles, or highlights, or stickers, whatever you want to put on that habit tracker. To see them all in a row can feel really nice and motivating. Just pay attention. How much water are you drinking?

I only had one question about water. I think most of us did know that we need to drink water, and we know that it's healthy. I did have several comments just about the content about not realizing how much it did impact our body, and it really does. I got this from two different people, so I kind of merged it into one question.

Question # 4: "I was told to never drink water with food. Is this right?"

This comes up a lot. I'm not sure where you are getting your information. There's a couple of thoughts about this. In yoga would be the prana, that digestive fire, and the concept is you don't sip water as you're practicing yoga because it diminishes that fire. There is something similar in Chinese medicine in terms of not overloading your stomach with water as you are working to digest. When we start to translate that into what we know in terms of western anatomy, physiology, the fire of your belly, the fire of your digestion, is the acid in your stomach. The pH of your stomach is very low. It's very acidic. It's necessary to kill microbes that are coming into your body through food, and also to digest your food, breakdown your food, and make it usable for your body.

It has been scientifically proven that water does not change the pH of your stomach, having some water is not going to decrease the acid of your stomach. That being said, I wouldn't suggest taking all of the ounces of water you're going to drink in a day and having them with a meal. That would be probably excessive and you'd be really stuffed because you'd be full of water and food.

What has been shown to be really effective is to have a glass of water 30 minutes before you eat. This allows you to tell the difference between am I thirsty or am I hungry when you're eating, and is actually proven to help people lose weight. If you're drinking water 30 minutes before you're eating, then you're stimulating the digestive enzymes. Not a lot of people realize that in order to digest your food, those enzymes biochemically actually need water to work. So if you're taking small sips of water with your food, that's going to help the enzymes in your mouth start that digestive process. There's no problem with having a little bit of water while you're eating. Don't be guzzling tons of water. But when we look at which foods are best in our bodies, fruit, vegetables, smoothies, soups, all of these foods are very high in water, and that's because our digestive processes need water in order to function. So, I wouldn't worry if you like to have a little bit of water with your meal.

Habit #3: Cortisol conscious workouts. 

I bet not many people are giving thought to their cortisol levels. Cortisol is what we know as our stress hormone. It's kind of getting a bad rap, if I'm being honest. It does other things as well. You want your cortisol to be in balance. You don't want it too high, and you don't want it too low. If your cortisol is out of balance, you will drag your butt out of bed in the morning. You will drag your butt through the day. Then at night, you will all of a sudden be wide awake and unable to sleep. You'll be exhausted all day, and then you can't sleep at night. You may notice that your hair is thinning. You may notice that you're putting on weight, your mood is not really where you want it to be, and you just are not feeling the way that you want. This is imbalance.

When we look at workouts, if your workout is too strenuous for your body and you are not resting and relaxing enough in between, it is going to cause your cortisol to rise and stay high. Every workout causes your cortisol to have a little bit of a bump, and that's okay, perfectly normal. You want that. If you never work out, if you are a couch potato, your cortisol's going to be too low, and then you'll have no energy. So again, it's all about balance.

When we look at cortisol conscious workouts, we're talking hormones here. I am loving this trend. The trend that is carrying from 2018 into 2019 is women getting on top of their hormones, realizing that their lifestyle has everything to do with how well their hormones are functioning, and taking matters into their own hands. I love this. Get that power. Do what you need to do to make your hormones work for you. Hormones are exquisitely sensitive to the tiniest fluctuation, so you need to be very careful where you're getting your information.

It's very popular right now. There's a lot of, I'm going to use air quotes, experts out there. Just be careful. Be conscious of who you're following and be paying attention to how your body is feeling. In February, I am actually going to do a whole series. It'll either be a five-part or a six-part series on hormones, which I'm really excited to share with you.

Let's get to the questions that people asked about cortisol conscious workouts. This first one, there was ... This is a bit of a longer question, but I think that there's some real value in sharing this with you because it paints a picture that I think some of you are going to be able to relate to. 

Question #5: ”I love that you're addressing this topic. It's exactly where I'm at. Two years ago, I made some big decisions about work life and my health. I was really stressed when running my business and dealing with the challenges of three children with special needs. I've lost weight, 55 pounds, and walked daily for a year.I switched to the gym 18 months ago to push my fitness level higher, and instead I began to feel all the familiar sensations of tired and wired creeping back in. It took awhile to start turning things around. Now I feel ready to work out again, but I find walking a bit boring as my only activity. What is a good mix for those of us emerging from adrenal fatigue that will tone and boost metabolism without the cortisol bump?"

This is a fantastic question. There's a couple of things that I want to talk about here. When you are talking about toning, usually we think we have to lift gigantic weights and do all sorts of crazy stuff that is going to produce tone in our body. I am a huge fan, a number one fan of functional exercise, so doing the kinds of movements that you require in your daily life and doing them at higher rep and lower weight. What does this mean? This means instead of doing bicep curls with a 40-pound weight eight times, this is doing pushups with your own body weight, and doing more reps with lower weight.

I personally don't ever use more than two pounds when I'm working out, and I try and use my body weight as resistance. I'm a big fan of this for protecting your joints. I'm a big fan of it because it works more with your body. This is what works for me. This doesn't mean this is going to work with you. But if you are noticing that you have a cortisol bump when you go to the gym ... How would you notice you have a cortisol bump? The best way to notice this is your sleep. If you find that your sleep is interrupted, then that means your cortisol levels are staying too high from your workouts.

So, what would I like you to do instead? What's really cool is this year what's trending is shorter workouts, and I love this trend. 20 to 30 minutes max. I talk to so many women who are working out 45, 60, 90 minutes. It is way too much, way too long. 

I'm sure you guys have probably heard of the H-I-T, the HIT workouts, the high intensity training where you do bursts of activity and then you're done. Well, this year what they have is the H-I-L-I-T, so high intensity low impact training, and I really love this. This would be doing more functional exercise. This would be using your body weight, and this would be get it done quick. If you notice that your sleep is being interrupted, then you are not giving yourself enough time to recover between workouts. My suggestion is if you're starting to go back to the gym, so for this particular person, you're starting to go back to the gym, do your weight workout, go for higher reps and lower weight just to start, and give yourself a couple of days in between. Your workouts should not be longer than 20 to 30 minutes.

Hopefully that's helpful. My experience is that you re trying to do way too much at once. You go to the gym and you do everything. No, that's not what you need to do. Just go to the gym. You should be out the door in probably about 20 minutes, okay? No longer than that, and try and really function on or focus on your functional exercises.

Question #6: ”I’m training for a marathon. Is that a bad idea for my cortisol?"

And this is a great question because it may have sounded like that from what I was saying in the 5 to Thrive, and it's not necessarily a bad idea. What you need to do is pay attention to how you're feeling. How's your sleep? How are you feeling? Does everything seem to be in balance? Are you having hormonal breakouts? Are your periods really terrible? Is your skin looking dull? Is your hair falling out? Are you not sleeping? Is your energy low? How are you feeling?

This doesn't mean you can never train for a marathon. If you're noticing some of these signs that your cortisol levels are too high, just back off a little bit. Give yourself a bit more rest. That's all you need to do. Maybe instead of running one day, you're going to walk. Maybe instead of running one day, you're going to do yoga. Maybe instead of running one day, you are going to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Just give yourself a break. Pay attention to how you're feeling. There is no one-size-fits-all. If anyone tells you they have the solution, one size fits all, no, it's just not true. You need to figure out what works for you. And if your cortisol levels are too high, you're going to know it. You're not going to be sleeping well, and you're going to be feeling pretty rotten.

Habit #4: White space and JOMO.

Okay, how much do you love JOMO? I had so many people ask me what this was. You know what FOMO is, right? The fear of missing out. JOMO is the joy of missing out. Let's just give that a moment. I love that one.

They're predicting 2019 is our year to simplify. When I am working with you, your schedules ... I know I always say this, but it's too much. You have no white space in that schedule. It's when you plan your week, and this would be a great time if you don't have the Plan Well guide or you had it and you were using it and then kind of forgot about it, just do a refresh. You can go get it again. Schedule properly. Because when you look at your week, if every moment is jam packed, what are you going to do when life happens? Because it's going to happen. Stuff is going to happen. It's going to knock you off course. You need to have space in there, space to accommodate all of these things that just happen. It just pains me to see all the stuff you have planned. This year, it's about simplifying. What can you take out of there? Clear some space.

In this particular lesson, we looked at clearing space in your home. I'm a big fan of the belief “messy bed, messy head”. Clear a space in your home. We started with your bedside table. I think that's an easy, manageable place to start. It's the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. We also talked about having a gratitude practice. The research on gratitude is just ... It just grows, and grows, and grows. It is the easiest thing you can do to elevate that energy in your body. Write out what you feel grateful for and why, that's the piece that's often missing. We forget to put in why. Or having a jar of little pieces of paper where you write down exactly what you feel grateful for and why. You can refer back to it when you're having one of those bad days. And again, it'll be one of the first things you see in the morning and the last things you see at night.

Question #7: "I love the idea of gratitude, but when I try it, I get stuck. How can I get started?"

You are way overthinking this. I like to use the prompt, "I feel grateful for blank because blank." So, I feel grateful for the internet because I'm able to talk to you right now. I feel grateful for my two healthy dogs because at the vet today they had a dog that was being put down. I feel grateful for being in my cozy house because it's raining outside and I get to stay in here. That was what, five seconds? That's three gratitudes. Don't overthink it. This doesn't have to be deep. You can be grateful for your cup of coffee because it feels warm and cozy when you drink it. It's that simple. So don't overthink it. Just use that prompt and write down whatever comes to your mind.

Don't get stuck. Don't overthink it. It's simple, and the research is just crazy, you’re going to sleep with that higher level energy in your mind. I imagine you can only have good dreams if you've been grateful right before bed.

Question # 8: ”We are overwhelmed by clutter. With three kids, two dogs, and two adults, our house feels unmanageable. Where can I start ? When I tried to get my family onboard, they aren't willing. Help!.”

First of all, yes, clutter. Have you seen on Netflix there is a series by Marie Kondo called ... Oh, what's it called? I think it's just called Tidying. I could be wrong. Just look up Marie Kondo. If anyone's here watching and you know what it's called, let me know. She is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and this book is just the most lovely book that you will ever read. Oh, Megan's saying, "Yes, it's called Tidying, and it's so good." Isn't it good? So, what she does is she goes into people's homes and she helps them manage their clutter. Krista, you watched the first one? Oh, it's called Tidying Up. Thank you, Megan. I watched the first one as well.

For this question, she's got three kids. She's got two dogs, she's got two adults living in this home, and this is why I say start with your bedside table because that is your space. The dogs, the kids, and the other adult probably have nothing to do with your bedside table. Start there. It's small, it's manageable, and, as I said, it's the first thing you see in the morning, the last thing you see at night.

Now, what Marie Kondo would do for example, if you were going to do your clothes, you take all of your clothing and you put it in a pile. When you see the piles of clothes, it almost makes you feel sick. You realize the excess that we have and how we have so much stuff that we just are not using.

What she will have you do, part of her process, is to pick up each item and to figure out if it sparks joy. What does that mean? It means when you pick it up, do you love it? Does it feel good on your body? Do you want to wear it? Then it's sparking joy. You keep it. If you pick something up and you do not feel that way, maybe it's itchy, it's too tight, it's got a hole, you never wear it, then it's not sparking joy. You thank it, and you send it to someone else.

Why I find this beautiful is she just teaches a method that ... I don't want to use the word forces, but opens your eyes to respecting your staff, to treating it well, and to loving everything that you have. I just think that's so beautiful, instead of seeing all this stuff and feeling completely disconnected from it.

The excessive pile is actually, I think, the biggest impact though. When you see it all it really makes you conscious about what you're bringing into your life, and her methodology, as I said, of just really respecting your stuff. It is just a wonderful series. I love the book. I still to this day use her folding technique. 

And my advice is stay in your own lane. You cannot get rid of someone else's stuff for them. If you could, my house would not be filled with sports memorabilia. This does not bring me joy, but it's not my stuff, so I stay in my lane. I lead by example, and I take care of my own things. Where you can, take care of your own things. Start with your bedside table. Then, I would do your clothing, then books. Just go through the process. I think that once you start to get rid of some of the clutter, you will be astonished at how mentally freeing it is.

Habit #5: Intermittent fasting.

This one I was really excited to share with you guys because it is a super hot topic. And again, it has to do with hormones. And again, for anyone that's just joining now, I will be doing a hormone series in February five- or six-part series. I'm excited about this trend moving into 2019, carrying on from 2018.

Intermittent fasting, is when you are putting some space between when you're eating and when you're not eating. You want to be aiming for eating as many hours of the day as you are not eating. What would that look like? If you go to bed at 10 and you wake up at seven, you stop eating three to four hours before bed. If you stopped eating at seven, you don't eat until seven the next day, 12 hours of feasting, which is eating, and 12 hours of fasting, which is not eating. What intermittent fasting isn’t, is starving yourself. That is not the point. That is going to be a disaster for your hormones.

Women have had mixed results when it comes to intermittent fasting, and this is because they're trying to do too much or they're being instructed to do too much. Our hormones are exquisitely sensitive to any sign that we are starving. Biologically, this makes sense, doesn't it? Because we are the ones that have children. And if we're starving, we can't have children. So, you need to be very careful with this and you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

I believe the best way to do it, physiologically, is to stop eating earlier in the evening, fast overnight, and then have breakfast, because you want your cortisol levels to be highest in the morning. That's when they're supposed to be the highest, and food supports that. 

Question #9: "I can't stop snacking at night. Can I postpone breakfast instead?"

Yes, you can. Physiologically, I don't think that that is making the most sense for the reasons that we just talked about. Your cortisol should be highest in the morning, and you want your body to be emptied of food so that you are maximizing your sleep in the evening. What happens when we're eating all the way up until the time that we're going to sleep is instead of spending our time cleaning our body, replenishing our body, restoring, regenerating, doing all of that while we're sleeping, our body is too busy trying to digest our food, and that is not what you're supposed to be doing while you're sleeping. That's why you want to start moving the time that you're eating further away from your bedtime.

We're looking at the hormone insulin specifically here. If your insulin level is here, when we eat food, it goes up. Then, it's supposed to come down and have another break until we eat again. The problem is that a lot of us are pushing all of our eating into the later part of the day, and then your insulin is just not really ever getting down to that lower level. This is why you have to be really firm about fasting overnight. And I really do think the best way to do this is to move your fast or to move your eating time further and further away from your bedtime.

That being said, if that just really doesn't work for you and you would rather not have breakfast in the morning, try it. Just see how you feel. I'm going to tell you this though, as soon as you have anything other than water, you are not fasting. I don't care what you put in your coffee. I don't care if you put oil, butter, coconut oil, put whatever you want in there, but you're not fasting anymore. So, you have broken the fast as soon as you have coffee, anything but water passing your lips. Some people believe that coffee with butter is still fasting. It is not fasting. So you can try. It's just not where I would point most people in terms of direction.

I also have to address the ‘I can't stop snacking at night’. This tells me that you've tried to stop snacking at night, and somehow it is not working for you. I would say, as a rough estimate, over 50% of the women I work with complain about this. This is not just you. Snacking at night is a real issue. You are not alone. We have all struggled with it. It is just a habit, but there is a lot of mindset behind it as well.

Next week, I have a guest experts coming to chat with me and to chat with all of you, and this is her area of specialty. I'm really excited to share her expertise with you. I would suggest "I can't stop snacking at night" might be a great thing to bring back to your ugly journaling exercise. Just see what pops up.

All right, this is our last question. I merged this one together. I got it from several different people. 

Question #10: ”Can I fast if I'm pregnant, underweight, and diabetic?" 

Remember, you are not starving yourself. That is not the point. Intermittent fasting is just putting some space where you are not eating. It is looking at times when you're eating and times when you're not eating. It is not starving yourself, so don't ever think it is starving yourself. That is a terrible idea.

If you are pregnant, if you are underweight, if you are diabetic, any of these issues may indicate that ... Not issues. I'm sorry. Being pregnant is not an issue. Any of these situations, life circumstances may lead to instability in your blood sugar. If this is you, how do you know how far back you can move your meals before you go to sleep? This is easy. If you are waking up in the middle of the night because you've started intermittent fasting, that means that your blood sugar is unstable. Your cortisol is spiking. Remember, cortisol is not just the stress hormone, it is also our wake-up-in-the-morning hormone. So if your blood sugar dips too low, your body will try and balance it out. There'll be a surge of cortisol, and it'll wake you up. If this is happening to you, then try having a snack before bed. Tablespoon of almond butter, few almonds, just some great snack before bed. This will help to keep your blood sugar stable over the night. If you are waking up nauseated when you're pregnant, this could be why. Your blood sugar's too low, you may find that having a snack right before bed is a really good idea and makes you feel good. Remember, this is all about what makes you feel good.

Little kids will sometimes have this experience, especially when they're growing. They will be waking up in the night because their blood sugar is dropping. People with high metabolism, same thing. If your kids wake up in the morning and they're nauseated, I saw this a lot in practice, try a snack before bed and this can help to stabilize that blood sugar.

That wraps up the questions for 5 to Thrive. If you have any questions that did not get answered or you want to go in depth with anything, just let me know and I'm happy to do it. Just to quickly review, we went through 10 questions today that had to do with our 5 to Thrive, again they were one: thought detox, which is that ugly journaling. Two, hydrating. Remember, half your body weight in ounces of water. Plus there's the habit tracker. Make sure to grab that. Number three, cortisol conscious workouts, and this is directly related to your hormones, which we are doing a series for in February. Number four, white space and JOMO, or the joy of missing out, which I really recommend this year. And if you haven't picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or watch the series on Netflix, you're probably going to want to after you listen back to this video. And number five, intermittent fasting.

These are five simple habits. My aim was to try and make them take less than five minutes a day. Obviously that doesn't work in every instance, but I tried to make them as simple and doable as possible. All right, everyone have a great Tuesday. I will see you back next week. We have a guest expert for you. And if you have any questions, whether you're watching the replay or you are here live, just make sure to get in touch with me, and I will see you soon. Bye, everybody.







Audio


Transcript

I'm excited to be here with you guys for our final episode of our five-part Eat Right Series. If you've missed any of the previous Eat Right episodes, then you can start right from the beginning. If you're watching this in the future, you can watch all five in a row. Each of the episodes has a different component that we've built on as the five weeks have gone.

Today, we are doing the last 15 mistakes that I see all the time when people are trying to eat right. It's 15 out of 30. I was surprised by that when I finally got to the total number that it was 30 really great lessons, I think, for all of us to take on. So, I'm excited to wrap up this series, and then, we're going to take a couple of weeks off from our weekly workshops, and we'll be back in January. I'm really excited. I have some awesome guests lined up for you guys, and also some more Body Wisdom question. So as part of the Body Wisdom Series, I like to bring in guest experts.

If you haven't checked any of those out, then you can check them out on the website, just drkristinenewman.com under workshops. The guests always bring us really good information, like golden nuggets. I love all the people that we've had into the group, and we're going to be taking some questions like we did in the past with the Body Wisdom Series. So if there is something that you have a question about, if there's something that you're struggling with, if you're finding something to be a challenge, then reach out and you might get featured in the Body Wisdom Series. It's really good because you're going to get two experts who are coaching you through whatever the situation is you have going on. So if you're interested in that, just drop me a line and we'll see if you get featured.

Let's drop right into our last 15 mistakes. 

The last 15 (of 30) mistakes we makes eating right

Being Unrealistic

Number 16 is that you are being unrealistic, you're trying to change too much too fast. This will not be sustainable. If you are eating no vegetables and you try to go to all vegetables, it isn't going to work. You want to improve a little bit each week, just like little iterations every week, a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better.

When you try and do a wholesale, burn down the house, start from the ground up again, and do everything new, it's too much. Your body will revolt, your mind will revolt, and it won't work. So, don't be unrealistic. Remember, small improvements over time. And if you're tracking them, then you can see them. It can seem like from week to week not much is changing, but then when you look over the course of a month, over the course of two months, over the course of six months, you can really see that these small changes add up, and they're sustainable, so nothing too unrealistic.

Looking for a quick fix

Number 17 is a good follow-up from that. No quick fixes. Extreme diets do not work. They do not work. If they worked, then nobody would ever have an issue with weight, energy, sleep, skin because we would have the solution. They don't work. What you want to do, and this is why I did the Eat Right Series, is it's a lifelong change that you're making. So, be in it for the long haul, be patient, and know that no quick fix is ever going to work in the long term.

Ignoring the most important metric

Number 18, you have to pay attention to how you feel. When we're looking at metrics of eating right, this is the only one that truly matters. How do you feel? When you eat right, you feel good, right? If you are eating past the point of eight on the scale of our ... Remember our hunger scale from 0 to 10? We want to be eating between five to seven, maybe the occasional eight. Eight is getting pretty stuffed, though. So if you're feeling more than 80% full and you're eating processed foods, there is no way on this earth that you feel good. This is the only metric that matters. How is what you're eating making you feel? And incidentally, you're the only one that can know how it makes you feel, which makes you the expert, which is good.

Rules & restrictions

Next, we're going to look at another issue when it comes to experts, and that is too many rules and restrictions. We don't want so many rules and restrictions around what we're eating because then what happens is you break a rule and you ended up ditching your diet entirely just because you broke that one rule, or you end up overeating, or eating bad food, food that makes you not feel good, that's how we define bad food, just because you broke a rule. So instead, we went with a framework, that’s our eat food, so real food, mostly plants, not too much, right? That's pretty easy. You want to stick with the framework. If it has too many restrictions and rules, then it really blocks you from reaching that inner clarity.

All of this is about is figuring out what works for you. So, we're just guiding you towards that inner clarity that you know what makes you feel good. And if you haven't felt good in a while and you're not sure, then you're uncovering it. You're a scientist. You're just examining what makes you feel good. We want to unravel and unwrap that inner clarity, so get rid of the rules and restrictions.

Mindlessness

All right, number 20, not focusing on being mindful. That's right. If you are not mindful ... And this is going to tie into our strategy for this week. When we sit down to eat, hopefully you're sitting down. Sometimes we're shoveling food in in the car. We're on our way to a meeting. We're super busy. We're not really paying attention to what we're doing. When you start to eat your food, digestion actually starts in your mouth. You have digestive enzymes in your mouth, especially for starches. One of the best strategies that I have found to help people just slow down, also helps your digestive system digest the food that you're sending it, is to chew.

It sounds really basic, but you are technically supposed to chew. This isn't a rule because you know I don't like rules. But technically you are supposed to chew until all of the food in your mouth is in liquid form. This is the start of the digestive process. So if you are throwing down big chunks of food that are not digested or pre-started with the digestive process, it's going to take longer for your stomach, and your intestines to do their work. What can also happen is you don't get that signal that you're full because the food isn't broken down enough for your body to recognize that there are nutrients there available for it.

For this week strategy, I would highly suggest, even if you just think of it a couple of times ... You know, I know we're in December right now. If anyone is watching this in the future, right now it's like Christmas is less than a week away and it's holiday season, so thinking about what you're eating might not be top of mind for everyone, but this will still be here in the future. And certainly in January, if anyone setting New Year's resolutions, or at any point in the future, you can come back to this Eat Right Series. I would highly recommend you try this chew challenge. All you do is just chew until everything in your mouth becomes a liquid and then swallow. Just see how you feel. You're going to forget. You're not going to do it every time. You're going to think, "Oh my gosh. Am I still chewing this same mouthful of food?" But, this is really how we're designed to eat. So just remember, challenge yourself to actually chew your food.

All or nothing 

Number 21 is the all-or-nothing thinking. Who's ever done this? “I have to do it perfectly. If I don't do it perfectly, then I might as well not do it at all.” This stems from perfectionism, from being achievement oriented. After being in private practice for over 15 years, working with patients for over 20 years, and now working with women online when it comes to health, I'm going to say this is the biggest mindset that holds us back. I'm trying to think of another one really quickly as I'm speaking here just to make sure I don't mess that up, but I really think this is it, this all-or-nothing thinking.

Any goal that you're trying to reach ... Oh, Megan, you're saying that's you. Yes. I think all of us. I have not met a person who doesn't sort of get hung up in this one area, so it's a process. You're not going for perfection. And this is you if you start something and then you have one bad day, so you just stop it. Because what you're doing, and I've been there, too, is you're saying, "I have failed at this," whatever it is, "therefore I feel like a failure, therefore it's never going to work, so I might as well quit." But, that's crazy because everything has failure baked into it. I mean, if you picture a kid learning how to walk, you'd never say, "Well, he tried once. He failed, so he gave up." That just doesn't happen, right? You have to keep trying. You could be one failure away from everything that you ever wanted. It's part of the process.

Getting rid of this all-or-nothing thinking is absolutely, hands down, number one thing that you need to do to shift your mindset. I highly recommend working with someone on this because sometimes you don't realize that this is where your thinking is. So, getting a little extra help with this mindset stuff can be a game changer. And just remember, if you have one slip up on a meal, because we're talking about eating, that lasts a day, a weekend, a week, it does not matter. This is a marathon. This is the rest of your life. You have many meals in front of you. One mess-up does not mean that you have fallen off the wagon, that you have failed or that you quit. I do not give you permission to quit because you had one bad day, okay? All right. Hopefully that gets in somewhere because this is a mindset thing that I have seen, as I said, for over 20 years I've been doing this work, and I've seen this time and time again.

Results focus

Focusing on the end result and being impatient. It kind of goes hand in hand with a bunch of the things we've been talking about, but what you don't want to do is just focus on the end result. You want to focus on the process, and you want to be aware that the end result will come. Basically, we want you to feel good and to look good, but feeling good is ... Let's use a food analogy ... Feeling good is the cake, looking good is the icing. What's most important is that you are feeling good, right? You want to focus on the process and realize that it's going to take patience. It doesn't just happen overnight because you still need to investigate what does make you feel good. But if you're just focusing on the end result, you can start to feel like you're getting nowhere. 

Forgetting to celebrate your wins (Good/Better/Best)

Number 23 is you want to celebrate your short-term wins.You don't want to just focus on that end goal. You want to see where you've come from. I always say you can't leave a destination unless you know you're there, unless you've arrived. You want to see where you are and then move on from there. And the good, better, best framework, I think, would actually work really well here. So when you are setting a goal, what you can do, and I use this in my own personal life, is this concept of good, better, best.

Good would be ... Let's use it in the context of eating. Say you want to eat more greens in your diet. A good goal could be eating greens three meals this week. That's a good goal. A better goal could be eating greens six meals this week. And a best goal could be eating greens at every single meal you have. The best goal, you really want it to be like a stretch. You want it to feel just on the ... just maybe a tidge over the side of probably not going to happen because it's really pushing you out of your comfort zone and out of what you normally do.

But the reason we set this framework is because your good goal, if you reached your goal, that's great. That needs to be celebrated. So often we're going for these best goals. All the time we have this end result, and we forget to celebrate until we get there. But the point is is you're never actually going to get there because it's constantly moving and constantly changing. So if you just think, "Good, better, best. What can I do this week? Good, better, best," okay? It actually is a framework that works really, really well.

Skipping flavor

Number 24, trying to eat right and forgetting flavor in food. In the meal planning episode, which I think was number three, we talked about having killer sauces, three to four delicious sauce recipes you know you can put on top of anything and make it tasty. Spices and herb's, make the food that you're eating taste good. Do not forget about flavor.

Complicated recipes

And number 25, complicated recipes. Go back and watch the meal planning one, which was number three, for our 4 formulaic recipes, things that you can just toss together with a great sauce. Boom. You're done. Dinner is done. You want them to be fail-proof. You want them to be simple. You want them to fit in your schedule. You're not going to have, a three-course meal on a day where you have activities coming out both ends before, during, and in the evening, right? You want to make your meals fit your schedule. And don't make them so complicated, just make them delicious. That's the most important thing.

Avoiding fat 

Number 26, avoiding healthy fats. I don't know if any of you were raised in the time that I was, but fat was always enemy number one. Low fat, no fat, that's what everyone bought. Everyone thought that was best. The research has really shown that that is not true. Fat is not making you fat. Now, there are really low quality fats, but where you're running into trouble is when you're eating processed food, which has low quality fat and sugar. Put those two together and it's a hormonal disaster. It messes up your entire body.

Fats are really important because some of the vitamins that we need are called fat soluble vitamins. That means that you don't absorb the vitamins unless there is a fat there, too. So when you have, say, a salad, you want to add some avocado, some salad dressing, really easy, half lemon juice, half olive oil, a little salt and pepper, great dressing. So, you have your fat to help you absorb the nutrients from the food that you're eating. Fat also helps you to feel satisfied for longer.

There are really great fats out there, as I said, like avocado, olives, nuts, seeds. These are the kinds of fats that you want to be eating, don't fear fat. When you're making a smoothie, add in some nut butter. Just don't be afraid of adding some fat because it will make you feel full longer and it's more nutritionally dense. So just remember, fat does not make you fat. I was raised believing that that was the case. I don't know if I'm the only one.

Undereating

All right. Twenty seven, skipping meals and under eating. This I hear a lot. Lots of people think they're doing a really great job if they're skipping meals. This is a terrible idea. Again, this is going to mess with your hormone system, so this is going to deplete your energy, your brain power, your blood sugar, and your hormones are going to be a disaster. You do not want to skip meals. You don't want to get to that stage. Everyone knows it's called hangry when you're so hungry you're angry. This means you've kind of blown it. You need to be eating regularly. You need to keep your blood sugar steady. You need to keep your hormones happy.

When your blood sugar gets really low, then your body is signaled that you need to eat immediately. This is a dangerous situation, and this is hangry. Don't skip meals.

I can't even begin to tell you how many women I've worked with who are not eating enough. They're not eating enough and it seems counterintuitive, but when you start to nourish your body regularly, it gets used to that and it stops trying to hold on to all of that excess weight. When you skip meals, your body gets confused about what is happening. Just eat when you're hungry. Don't eat when you're not. If you're hungry, then eat.

Winging it

Trying to wing it or deciding what to eat in the moment. This is why meal planning is so wonderful. Remember, we talked about those higher level brain functions, you want your higher level brain, that executive function, deciding what you're going to eat. You do not want that lower level brain, the little toddler, as I call it, that's inside your head that wants what it wants now, and it wants something sweet probably. You want to be deciding with a plan. So just trying to wing it or waiting until you're already hungry is a terrible idea. Sometimes this is going to happen. Sometimes you're going to end up in this situation it’s unavoidable, and that's okay. Because remember, it's not all or nothing. You're not perfect. Nobody's perfect. It's just a process. But, having a plan will help you to avoid being in these situations.

The 2 S’s

Number 29, if you are trying to lose weight, you have got to address what I call the two S’s, and they are sleep and stress. I've worked with a lot of women who are really working hard on the diet side of things, but they do not get enough sleep and they don't have any stress management in their lives. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes us hungry. Leptin is a hormone that makes us feel full. When we are overtired and overstressed, these hormones don't function properly, alongside all of the hormones in your body. It's a very complicated topic, so you can't just narrow it down to two, but this gives you a sort of snapshot.

If you don't get enough sleep, that interferes with your body's ability to produce leptin, which will tell you that you're full, and you will produce more ghrelin if you're under stress. So, you want to avoid stress. And they go hand in hand, don't they, stress and not sleeping? Those are two things that you must address, just as important as your diet when you're thinking about the long haul and how you feel and how you look as well.

Normalized bad eating habits

Number 30, this is actually my favorite of all of the mistakes. I think that what has happened is we have really normalized eating badly. It is not weird to go out to a restaurant and have gigantic meal, feel overstuffed, still have dessert. It's more normal for someone to say, "Oh, you're not having dessert? Oh, you're so good," or, "You know, you've worked so hard. Just have a little treat. Treat yourself," and this is normalized. But, let's think about that in terms of something else, like cigarettes. You'd never say like, "Oh, you're not having an after-dinner cigarette? But you've been so good. You worked out three times this week. You should have an after-dinner cigarette." No. We have normalized bad eating.

Another one that drives me absolutely crazy is if you ever watch movies, like romantic comedies, in order to show that the girl is cool, she's a cool girl, she won't eat a salad. No. She has like a juicy burger with gross stuff dripping down her chin. Then we know she's cool. This is so bizarre to me. We have really normalized and made it our business what other people are eating, and we'll comment on it. Just pay attention to this. Watch for it in movies and TV shows, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

It isn't ‘normal’ or ‘not normal’ to have dessert. It is okay to not have birthday cake. It's also normal to have dessert and normal to have birthday cake, but a societal commentary isn’t necessary when you are choosing the food that you eat. And we don't use food as a punishment or reward, so what does having been good all week have to do with anything? It has nothing to do with anything. All you want to do is eat so that you feel good.

You don't have to overstuff yourself. You don't have to go to an all-you-can-eat place. It's just become a very strange relationship that we have with food. And as I said, the more you're aware of it, the more you'll see it, and you'll think, "Oh, yeah. That is a bit strange, right? That is an odd thing.” Saying things like, "Oh, just have another one. Oh, just have a little bit of desert." It's an odd thing to do, especially if you put it in the context of other things that aren't good for us.

So those are our 30 mistakes. I've had some really great messages from you guys, and I know that you're enjoying the series. I think, as I said, you might want to pick it up again in the new year since we are now on holidays for the next couple of weeks. We will be getting back to our Body Wisdom Series in January. I'm really excited. If you have any questions that you would like featured in our Body Wisdom Series, let me know and I will be back on January 8th, I will see you then. Have a very wonderful holiday season. If it's not a holiday season, then just have a wonderful day wherever and whenever it is. Bye.




Links



Audio


Transcript

Hello, everybody. Welcome to our fourth out of five Eat Right series. It's nice to be back. We took last week off for the Goals that Stick challenge. That was a ton of fun.  I had a great time with the women who joined that challenge, and the stuff they came up with was incredible. It was so good. I will definitely be running that challenge again. If you're watching this video in the future, underneath the video I'll add a link so that you can sign up for the challenge in the future, because it's a really good one. We look at the ways you can set goals that are really true to what is going on in your life, and what you need right now. It's really powerful stuff, but it is nice to be back to our regular programming with another episode.

For the next two episodes, episode four and episode five, I am going to talk about 30 mistakes that we make when we are trying to eat right. Today we're going to go through 15, and then I'm going to give you a killer strategy for dealing with anything social, parties, holiday season, restaurants, traveling, all of that kind of stuff, so that you know what to do in those situations. Then next week, we'll do another 15 mistakes, and give you a really top notch strategy, so hopefully you find these helpful.

I definitely found it helpful to put them together, and I was surprised when I came out with 30. I thought, "Well, there's got to be some overlap," so I started going through," and no, there were actually 30 big mistakes. Let’s jump right in. 

15 mistakes we make eating right 

Exception Meals 

Okay, number one is not having your exception meals. Some people use the word cheat, like a cheat meal, or a cheat day, and I think sometimes there's maybe a negative feeling around the word cheat, so I like to use the word exception. It just sounds like more planned. Something about cheat seems like it's a free for all, and out of control, whereas exception seems like there's some thought behind it.

One of the big mistakes I see is that people skip these exception meals. They think they're doing better by skipping it, but the truth of the matter is that you are not. You need to make sure that you are getting your exception meals in every week. You want to know that you can trust yourself around the foods you like. Otherwise you're not making any real progress. You're just staying away from what you feel like you cannot control yourself around. You want to be exposing yourself to these exception meals. They should be wonderful, joyous occasions. You should be savoring the foods that are exceptions in your diet now, and also knowing that you can trust yourself around these foods. If you stay away from them, you will never know that, so number one, not having exception meals. 

Weighing Yourself 

Number two, this one's a bit controversial, and I flip flopped on this, so bear with me. It's weighing yourself every day. I was always a big fan of not doing this. I thought that this was maybe not a healthy thing, but I have worked with a lot of women now who actually find this to be very empowering.

My point to you is, how does it feel for you? Does it feel good? Are you gathering information for yourself. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate one, two, three pounds even in a day. This doesn't mean anything so it's not something that you're going to beat yourself up over, but if you're just gathering information, and noticing, okay, when I eat this food, my weight does this, or when I feel like this, this is what's going on on the scale, I could see where it would be helpful, but only you can answer this honestly. I don't think that you need to do this. If you're not doing this, don't start, but if you are doing it, and it's working for you, then I would say keep doing it. I don't own a scale personally myself, and I can't think of the last time I weighed myself, and you have to figure out what works for you when it comes to this. As I said, it's a little bit controversial, and if it's making you feel bad, I say don't do it. If it's making you feel good, then continue to do it.

Food as punishment or reward

Okay. Number three. Using food as punishment or reward. I think this is something that gets modeled to us as kids, right? We learn ‘oh, if you're good, then you can have a treat later’ or ‘if you get an A on your exam, we'll go for ice cream’ that sort of thing. We need to heal this connection. There is no room in eating right for looking at food as either a punishment or a reward. Food is fuel. You use it to nourish your body, and support your body, and you use it to look and feel the way that you want to look and feel. You don't deserve a treat because you were good. You're not being bad when you have a treat. Some people will say, "Oh, I'm being bad. I'm gonna have a treat now." That's really not the way to look at it. You do deserve to nourish your body, and look and feel your best. That's the only thing you deserve. 

Food is not a punishment, and food is not a reward, and if you start to listen to yourself, you can hear this, or even not just yourself, but other people you'll hear: ‘Oh, I've been good all week, so….’ No. You can have a treat. You don't need to justify it. There's no justification to eating what you want to eat. No more food as a punishment or reward. We are going to break that connection for good, and be aware of little kids that are listening to you when you're saying these kinds of things. It's so easy to do. I found myself doing it. I was looking after my niece not that long ago, and I almost said, "Well, if you do this, then you can have ... " She wanted this ... I don't even know what it was. It was some cookie thing that she came with, and I stopped myself, because I thought, oh, I don't want to start modeling that, but it's so common, so just watch yourself with that language. 

Fearing ‘bad’ foods

Okay. Number four is a big one. I wonder if you have experienced this one. If you're here watching live, say hi, and tell me ... I find this with a lot of people fearing certain foods. You start to develop an almost pathological fear of certain foods, and you think that they are bad.

There is no such thing as a bad food. All foods are fine. What makes you feel bad might be bad for you, but it might not be bad for me, so there's no inherently bad foods. You only want to look at foods that make you feel bad. That's what you want to avoid, okay, so there's no bad foods to avoid. 

Eating foods you don’t like because they’re ‘healthy’

Number five kind of follows on this. Eating food you don't like because you think it's good for you. Stop that. Why are you doing that? If you do not like it, it is not good for you. If every bite you have to force it down, that's not good for you. That's not nourishing your body. That's punishing yourself. There are so many great foods out there, natural foods that are delicious. Try something new. Find what you like. If you hate salads, don't eat salads. Maybe you like sauteed greens instead. Eat that. Stop trying to pretend that it's okay, and that you sort of like it when you really don't. You don't have to eat those foods. Life is too short to eat food you don't like.

Avoiding ‘carbs’

Number six, avoiding carbs, and I use quotes. “Carbs.” What you mean is you want to avoid refined processed sugar and foods. Vegetables are carbs. You are not avoiding vegetables, right? You want to avoid things like danishes, donuts, cakes, cookies, ice cream, things that are full of sugar, and refined. Just watch your language on this. A lot of people say, "I'm giving up carbs." No, you're not giving up carbs, and you shouldn't give up carbs. Nobody should give up carbs. What you're doing is you're trying to cut out refined, processed, sugary foods. End of story. That's the stuff that is not good for you. It's not good for me. It's not good for anybody. Does that mean you can never eat it? Of course not. We talked about exception meals, and we talked about no food is inherently bad, right? It's just how it makes you feel, so when you pay attention to how that food actually makes you feel, then you're probably going to want to eat less of it.

Not reading labels 

Number seven. Not reading labels. This is a big one lots of stuff will say on the package, "All natural, gluten-free," all sorts of interesting things that really don't speak to the quality of the food. You need to know how to read a label. It's basically, when you flip it over, if it's got tons of stuff that you have never seen, couldn't buy in a store yourself, have no idea what it is, then it's probably pretty processed. That's safe to say, right? Four grams of sugar is a teaspoon, so when you do the math, if it has 16 grams of sugar, that's four teaspoons of sugar in that product. You'll have to think carefully before you decide you want to eat it, so just be aware of labels. This is one of the easiest things to start doing, even if you don't want to change anything right now. You guys, I get it. It's December. We're talking about eating right. These videos will last long past December, though, and hopefully help you into the future, but even if you just flip over the back of something, just look at the label. See how those ingredients made you feel, and go from there.

That's really one way to put the power back in your hands, is to understand what you're putting into your body. 

Eating only ‘safe’ foods

All right. Number eight, eating only safe foods, and again, I say safe in quotes. I have seen this time and time again, where people come to me, and they have sort of a handful of foods that they consider are good for them, and safe to eat. What happens with this is you get really stuck in ruts, and you're stuck in a foot rut, and you're eating the same thing over and over again, that's when you start to get bored and feel deprived. There's tons of interesting food out there. I love trying new things, and just last week in my veggie delivery box, they sent a persimmon. I'd never had a persimmon before, and it was actually pretty tasty, so there's so many things to try out there. Don't get consumed with thinking that only some foods are safe for you, because it's not true. You can expand what you're eating, and then when you do, you are far less likely to quit because it's boring, and you're eating the same things over and over again, and you're feeling deprived.

Thinking you can exercise away a bad diet

All right. Number nine. This one I hear a lot, too. Thinking you can exercise away a bad diet, so I hear from people all the time, I can't lose weight because I have an injury, and I can't work out. This isn't true. It may be true that you can't work out the way that you want because of your injury. That absolutely could be true, but that's not why you can't lose weight. Weight is 80 to 90, if not more, percent what you are eating. Does this mean exercise doesn't matter? Of course not. It is great for you. It is great for your mental state. It is great for your digestion, your sleep. It is great for your mood. It is so important for every system in your body. I'm not saying don't exercise. What I'm saying, though, is you cannot eat really poor food and expect that your working out is going to make up for it, because it isn't. Okay, so remember, diet is 80 to 90% of what you see when you look in the mirror.

One caveat to that is if you are having an exception meal, if you know that you're going to be eating a lot of sugar, is it supporting your body to throw on your running shoes, and go out for a brisk walk, to try and use up some of that sugar? Yes, but you're not trying to out-exercise every meal that you're eating. This would be an occasional thing, so you can support your body with exercise. You can burn through some excess fuel if you've eaten too much sugar, and that can be a healthy, supportive way of treating your body, but you are not going to be able to go to the gym, and spend hours, and hours, and hours there to make up for eating poorly. 

Drinking sugar

Number 10, so drinking your calories as sugar. This is the worst. If you want to change one little thing, it's getting rid of the mocha-chinos, frappuccinos, lattes with whipping cream, pop, mixes for alcoholic drinks, the hard lemonades, juice, anything that is really high in sugar. This is a terrible way to be putting sugar and processed stuff in your body, because your body can really not defend against it.

All the fiber is gone. It's just sugar going straight to your bloodstream. This is probably one of the number one things that I would suggest changing. This is just paying attention to what you're drinking. Really you want to be drinking water, tea, coffee if it works for your system. Even bubbly water. Bubbly water can be really helpful when you're trying to stop drinking pop. Does this mean you can never have juice, or pop? No, of course not. That's not what it means, but if you look at your week, and you are consuming a a lot of these sugary drinks, then it's time to start to seeing what other drinks you might enjoy that aren't so sugary. 

Forgetting fiber

Oh, my gosh. Number 11 is one of my favorites. Okay, so you guys are out in the world. You know people out in the world. How many of you have met someone who has kwashiorkor. Have you ever heard of that? I don't know anybody.

Have you ever met someone or heard of constipation? Yes. Right? Okay, so kwashiorkor is a protein deficiency. You do not have a protein deficiency. You do not have kwashiorkor. You don't know anyone that has it. You don't need to worry about your protein as much as you are but as I said, have you heard of constipation? I think you probably know someone that's had constipation. Maybe you live with someone. Maybe you are that someone. Guess what? Fiber is key. Forget about protein, and think about how much fiber you're getting. This is going to be a game changer when it comes to eating right. If anyone meets someone who does have a protein deficiency, and proves me wrong, then you absolutely let me know, but it is probably more likely you've heard of constipation and not kwashiorkor. 

Focusing on calories instead of nutrients

Number 12. Thinking a calorie is just a calorie. Who was that guy who did that Subway diet guy, who lost all that weight eating those Subway sandwiches? I think that this is where we started to think a calorie is just a calorie. Here's the thing. If I gave you a small bag of potato chips, and that's all you ate, once a day, for 30 days, you would lose weight. You would absolutely lose weight, but would you be eating right? No. A calorie is not a calorie. Instead of worrying about calories, I think it makes more sense to focus on nutrients. How nutritious is what you are eating? You could have a bag of M & Ms, or you could have an apple with almond butter. That's what I would focus on instead of calories. Forget about calories. What you want to eat is highly nutritious, super nutrient-dense food that is going to support your body, and make you look and feel the way that you want to feel.

Portion size 

Number 13. Portion size. You know what? Who cares? Who cares what the portion size is? Who cares if the plate is gigantic? Who cares if the plate is small? What you need to know is how does it feel in your body? When we talk about eating, you're going to eat between five and eight, on a scale, so on a scale of one to 10, 10 being so full you actually feel physically sick, one being you're passing out you're so hungry, you're going to aim for starting to eat around a five, five or six, and stopping around a seven or eight. What does this look like? You feel 70 to 80% full, that's when you stop eating. You're not getting to that point of being overly full. Does it matter what size your plate was? That doesn't matter in the least, so forget about that. Will you sometimes leave food on your plate, if you're paying attention to your body and you feel full? You will. That's okay. Will you sometimes go get more food? You will, and that's also okay, all right? Don't worry about portion size. It doesn't matter.

You're eating to what feels good in your body. 

Veggies and protein for every meal 

Number 14, I see this one a lot. Lots of women try to just eat protein and vegetables, and that's it, and think that this is really healthy. Our bodies need complex carbohydrates, so what'll happen is if you just eat protein and vegetables, you might start to lose weight to begin with, but eventually your body's going to start to crave some carbohydrates. What do I mean by complex carbohydrates? I mean things like beans, quinoa, sweet potato, fruit, what we call wet carbohydrates instead of dry carbohydrates. Wet carbohydrates are the things we just talked about, things like beans. Dry carbohydrates would be things like chips, crackers, cereal, and can you ever imagine being, sitting on the couch watching TV, and you can't stop thinking about the extra lentils that are in your fridge, like oh, I've got to go eat those lentils. No, nobody craves wet carbohydrates, right?

It's always the dry carbs we crave ‘oh, I've got those chips in the cupboard. Maybe I'll just have a few’, okay, so when you're thinking about complex carbohydrates that are really healthy to add to your diet, you want to focus on the wet carbohydrates. Especially for women, when it comes to cutting out and going too low with carbohydrates, this is really going to mess with your hormonal system, so you need to be very careful and make sure that you are getting some complex carbohydrates into every meal. You cannot just eat protein and vegetables. That is going to get boring, and it's also not going to satisfy you. This is not ... Carbs do not ... We talked about carbs earlier, but they do not make you gain weight. What makes you gain weight is when you starve yourself, and then you binging afterwards, and this is what happens when you try to go too low with your carbohydrates. Make sure that you are not just trying to eat vegetables and protein.

Deprivation & sacrifice 

Number 15, so this is our last one for today. You are not going to focus on sacrifice and deprivation. What do I mean by this? You need to learn to trust yourself, and trust your instincts, and trust your data about what feels good in your body. This way you don't need to worry about any situation or any food that's put in front of you. You don't have, I think Natasha called them red light foods. You don't have to worry, because you know that you'll be able to control yourself around that food, because you have been eating it all along with your exception meal, or you just know how to feel when you're full enough that you're going to stop. Instead of focusing on sacrifice and deprivation, it makes far more sense to focus on crowding out bad foods, so instead of worrying about all the things you're not going to be able to eat, start adding in better stuff. If your plate is half full with greens, quarter full with another great vegetable, who cares what the other quarter of your plate is almost, right?

You're crowding it out, and then you're still able to eat the foods that you really do enjoy, and you don't feel as deprived, and you're getting a nice variety as well. 

If This Then That Strategy

Okay, so those were our 15 mistakes. Next week we're going to go through the last 15 mistakes, and wrap up the whole series, but before we go today, I have a strategy for you that I think is a killer strategy when it comes to planning, because we're in party season right now, to plan it, to plan for parties when you have to eat out, workplace events, traveling, all of that kind of stuff. This is the if this, then that strategy. I don't know if any of you have heard of this, but it would be along the lines of, if there are treats at work, then I'll have one. What you're doing is, you're actually pre-planning how the event is going to go for you, and this really can be helpful to get you in the head space of being in control of what you are going to be eating, and really sticking with that eating right.

If I am invited to go for dinner out, then I will look at the menu before I go, and choose what I'm going to eat before I'm there, and I'm starving, and surrounded by everybody else. If I'm traveling, then I will pack snacks that will nourish and support my body on my trip, and I want to include another thought here, and that is, if I overeat, then I'll pay attention to how I feel, and I won't beat myself up, because that's really important. We are in the season where it's not uncommon to be invited to a lot of social events, and sometimes we're going to overdo it, but the only thing you need to gather from that is not that there's something wrong with you, not that you made a mistake. If you follow eat right, the whole formula, everything we've been talking about, then you know you can make a mistake every once in a while, and it's fine. You're just going to go back to eating right the next day. There's no worries about that and you're not going to beat yourself up about it.

If you overeat, just pay attention. How did that make me feel? How does my body feel, right? That's all you have to do. You're an impartial scientist. There is no judgment there. You're just observing. What happened? How do I feel about it? What can I do differently the next time? I think this strategy is very, very helpful, and it helps you to pre-plan. I think you can also use it to be easy on yourself as well. If I slip up, then I'll just get back to it tomorrow. No big deal, right? Okay, so hopefully that was helpful. We went through 15 big mistakes that people are making. Next week we'll go through the last 15, and I'll share another strategy with you. If you have any questions, if you have any comments that you'd like to share, and you're watching the replay, then share. I love to hear your comments, and I will be back here next week with the last in our eat right series. All right, I hope you guys are having a great Tuesday. I will see you in a week from now. Bye, everyone.







Audio


Transcript

This week we're talking about meal planning, and it is going to be a really strategic episode for our Eat Right series.

It is also one of those things … Let me put it this way, you love the idea of meal planning on one hand, but the actual execution of it is probably less exciting. Everyone that I've worked with, whether it's in a group, whether it's one-on-one, everyone eventually brings up meal planning.

I completely understand why, because this idea that having a plan in place that helps you stick to what your goals are is really enticing, but the actual doing of the plan isn't as fun in real life for a number of reasons, and we're going to talk about those today.

It also feels really overwhelming. You picture the end result when you have all of these recipes, and all this organization, and you've done all this work, but when you actually sit down to do it, all you can picture is the work that is ahead of you.

What we’re going to talk about today

Today we are going to hopefully make that easier for you, we are going to talk about the number one step that everyone always leaves out that is going to make a huge difference. The three-step system, which will help you to stay in-line with what you want to do. We're going to talk about 15 tips for strategizing, how to make this work better.

We're going to look at the 11 mistakes people make, and then we're going to look at four no-recipe meal formulas that you can use and throw in with your meal plan, just to make meals easier on the fly. Lastly, we are going to look at the Eat Right meal planner that I made for you and we're going to talk about how you can utilize that to help you on your way.

Maximizing your brain function around food

Again, when we're talking about meal planning, obviously, we all know healthy food is going to make us feel healthy. We're going to be a healthy weight, our skin's going to look good, we're going to sleep well, our moods will be good. Everything's great when we are nourishing our body the way that it needs to be nourished. Our hormones feel balanced, everything is good.

If we look at the brain as two different floors in a condo. The top part of your brain is like the penthouse, and the bottom part of your brain is like the basement, it's not even on the first level, it's in the basement.

When you're making a plan you're really using this top part of your brain, that's the executive-level functioning. This is staying conscious with what you want to achieve, what your goals are, this is higher-level thinking. This is what develops as we become adults, and then that base below-ground level, basement part of our brain, is kind of like that angry toddler.

The angry toddler that wants what it wants now, doesn't have any impulse control, and it will throw a huge fit if it doesn't get what it wants. What a meal plan does is it allows us to be planning with that penthouse, the executive function of our brain so that we can stay on track, instead of listening to this angry toddler that's down below.

This is the real basis behind planning. You make a plan, you set it and forget it, and you know that it's in line with your values and where you want to end up. 

The ONE thing everyone forgets to do

The number one step that people leave out, that I think is critical to you making this a success and sticking with it, is knowing why. Why are you creating this meal plan?

It might be different reasons for different people, right? Some people get into food ruts, and maybe you want to have more variety in what you're eating. That could be your why. Some people want to save money, some people want to eat more greens, some people want to lose weight, some people want more energy. It matters only to you what your reason why is.

I've worked with lots of people who have purchased a 27-day meal plan, or a two-week meal plan, or they participated in some sort of course or program that gives you a pre-made meal plan, which is fantastic. Don't get me wrong, this is all good stuff. It's good information for you, because it allows you to see the recipes that work for you. But it’s not YOUR plan.

Remember, this is all about you. What we need to do is put the power in your hands so that you know how to make a plan that suits your life, your body, your needs, and your goals. When you're just following someone else's plan, this is the step that's missing. This is the number one thing I want you to start with is why?

Really think about this? What's your point? Do you want to not waste as much food? There's all sorts of different reasons for having a meal plan. In fact, you can have a different reason every week. Stress reduction is a good reason for making a meal plan, too. I just want you to picture that penthouse brain versus that toddler brain when you sit down to actually do your planning.Number one, you're going to have your why. 

The 3-step system

The three-step system, this is going to be no surprise to any of you. First, you have to select your recipes, second, you have to shop for your recipes, and, third, you have to prep the food for the following week. No surprises there, but when we think about strategy this is what I want you to think about.

Let's start with the first one where you're selecting your recipes. This is technically what should be the most fun, but there's a few key steps that people tend to miss. Before you ever sit down with your recipe books, with your magazines, with your computer open, the very first thing you need to do after you figured out your why, what is your goal this week, is you need to actually look and see what you already have.

What do I mean by that? I mean, is there a head of cauliflower in your fridge that you want to use up? You're going to want to look for recipes that use that up. You're just going to take a quick look. This will take you under a minute, and you're going to see what you already have, and what you need to use up. Keep that in mind as you choose your recipes.

Second, you need to have your calendar in front of you. I know how busy you guys are. Sometimes when I see your schedules I just am blown away by how much you're packing into a week. You need to know, is Tuesday night the night that you go to Yoga, and you don't want to have a big meal? Is Thursday night the night that all the kids have sports, and you need to be in and out of the house in 30 minutes?

You need to look and actually see how many meals do you need to plan for that week, and what are your limitations? Do you only have 30 minutes one night? Do you have an evening where you're not going to be as hungry, because you've had a large lunch? This is what you need to sit down with before you pick any recipes, so that you know that what you're planning is actually going to fit your life.

You now have your why, you have what you already need to use in your kitchen, and now you have your schedule in front of you. You know your limitations, and you also know how many meals you're planning for. Then the next part is the fun part. I highly recommend sitting down with a glass of wine, piece of dark chocolate, hot cup of tea, whatever it is that you like, put on some good music.

I worked with someone who would just put trashy TV on in the background, and that was a real treat for her. Make it fun. If you can stack this habit, and what that means is you are taking this new habit of meal planning, and you're stacking it to something that you already like. You already like sitting down with your glass of wine, or your hot cup of tea, you already like watching your trashy TV. Just tie it to that event, and it's going to make it easier for you to want to follow through.

You're sitting down, you're all set up, and, as I said, this is the fun part. You get to look through your recipes, you get to look on your computer, and your books, and your magazines, wherever it is that you like to get recipes, and you get to choose what is your food going to look like for next week?

Now, when you're done with that, as you're choosing the recipes, you're going to be writing down all the ingredients you need. When you're done you're going to take that ingredient list, and you're just going to quickly check what you have in the kitchen. Honestly, guys, I can do this in probably under 10 minutes, truth be told. I could probably do it in under five minutes if I was being really rushed for time.

You don't want to skip any of those components. Now, when you're looking at this, we call it a three-step process, and I really recommend separating it into three separate steps. First, you're going to be selecting the recipes, second, you're going to be shopping.

Now, people out there, I know you love grocery shopping, I don't understand it. There's virtually no task I like less than grocery shopping. To me it’s the worst. If you are like me, this is what I do. I actually take that list, I've seen what I have, and now I know exactly what I need. I've ruled out everything that already exists in my kitchen, now what do I need to buy.

In that same space of time I order my groceries online, and there is a couple ways you can do this. I have an organic veggie box that comes to my door, and I also will do the click and collect at my local grocery store. What's really nice is there's already a list populated for you, you can subtract and add what you normally buy. We tend to be creatures of habit, and I will click and collect. I'll get all the things into my basket, and then in my household my husband picks them up.

I just get him to pick a time that he wants to go pick them up, and he picks up the groceries. Sometimes people think that this is going to be very expensive, but the truth is it honestly saves you money, because you're not wandering around in the grocery store seeing stuff that your little toddler brain is thinking, "Oh, that looks good. Oh, I haven't tried that. Oh, maybe I could add that to my meal plan."

Instead, you're just sitting down with a list, you get everything that's on your list and nothing more, and I think the click and collect costs three dollars, so I know I save more than three dollars in what I would purchase if I went to the grocery store.

Now, if you're a person that loves grocery shopping, by all means, go to the grocery store. Absolutely, if it's something that you love. If you're like me and you hate it, but you can't do the click and collect, or the delivery for some reason, then this is how I do it. I take all the ingredients that I need to get, and I put them into sections so I'm not running back and forth across the grocery store trying to find stuff.

I want to get in and out as fast as humanly possible. I just organize all the things I need to pick up into categories, and this makes it super fast. I also treat myself on the way out from grocery shopping. I always stop and get a coffee at a coffee shop, because it's a treat for me, because I really don't enjoy grocery shopping.

Okay, so now you have your plan, you've done your shopping. The third step is to do the prep. This is a really, really important step. This is where you're going to wash everything, you're going to chop what you can, you're going to cook up some food that you can that's going to make your life easier for the week. The goal of the prep stage is so that on those week nights you are literally just throwing stuff together. You're not having to wash everything and cut it all up, it's just ready to go, boom, boom, boom. You can make your meal.

Again, these are done on three separate occasions, and I've seen it work really well two different ways. The first way that a lot of people like to do, based on the work week, is Friday evening sit down and do the meal planning. Just do your quick meal plan, and then it's done. Saturday go grocery shopping or do your click and collect if that's what you choose to do. Then on Sunday do the prep.

I have also seen it work really well for people who are working during the week to do their meal plan on Thursday night, pick up the groceries on their way home from work on Friday, and this leaves them Saturday and Sunday, they have an option as to when to do prep. Doesn't really matter, it just has to be what works for you.

15 of the best tips & strategies

Okay, now that you have your plan, let's talk about some tips and strategies. For anyone that's watching, if you have any tips or strategies that you want to add to the mix, then I know that people will be so grateful to hear then, because, again, meal planning is one of those things that we know will make our life easier, but it also seems like a huge task that isn't very fun.

Today we're going to try and strategize how to make it more fun, and the pieces that might've been missing that made it harder for you to begin with. Feel free to add your comments in if you have some really great advice for us.

All right. 15 tips and strategies. Are you guys ready? First is plan B. You have got to have a plan B in your back pocket. This is for the evening when you don't feel like cooking, you get stuck at work, you are late getting home, everything just falls apart, this is your plan B. This is your I-can-throw-it-together recipe that is just a backup. It could be breakfast for dinner, that's a really popular one - making pancakes for everyone, that wasn't originally in your meal plan, but it is going to be your plan B for this week. You might not have to use it, but you want to have it, and you want to have the ingredients available.

Number two, this is such an important point. The whole basis of the Eat Right Foundation is you're going to eat food, whole food, not too much, mostly plants. That's it. That's what we decided on in week one. Now on week three I'm here to tell you when you make a meal plan, you have got to choose food you like. You need to look forward to these recipes.

If you hate zucchini noodles, don't eat them. Don't put them in your meal plans. Stop trying to make yourself like foods you don't like. Give it up. You don't like eggplant. Don't put it in your recipes. These recipes need to be something that you look forward to. You want to eat them. This is the number one problem I see for people, is they're eating foods that they "think" should be healthy for them, but they don't like them.

No wonder you're failing at meal planning, because you're not looking forward to a meal you don't like. Number one, choose foods you like. There are so many healthy foods, healthy options that are out there that are definitely options that you are going to like. I promise. Just expand your reach, and eat food that you really, really like.

Okay, number three, you're going to improve in iterations. What does this mean? This means if right now you're eating every meal out, you're a fast food junkie, next week you're not going to be eating greens at every meal. You're just going to do a little bit better than you did this week. That's it. Every week we just aim to do a little bit better, a little bit better. Over time this really adds up, and it's sustainable. When we try and do this wholesale, virtuous change in what we're eating, and it doesn't taste good, and we don't enjoy it, it's not going to happen. Just little iterations and little improvements as you go.

Number four, look for the bumps ahead. Look for those things in your calendar that you know are going to be a little bit bumpy and plan for them, which we already talked about. Number five, an accountability partner is really good. If you have a friend that also wants to be meal planning, check in with each other. "How is it going? How are you sticking to it? Are you having fun?" Make it as fun as you can. An accountability partner always makes everything more fun for sure.

You are going to, number six, you're going to cheat, okay? 100% compliance is not what we're looking for. Aim for pretty good, 80-90%, that's awesome. You rocked it, you nailed it. When you do cheat and don't eat the food on your meal plan, who cares? No guilt over that, people. You’re are human and life happens. A lot of times when I talk to people, one meal off the meal plan and they just give up the whole thing.

That tends to happen, of course, when you're trying to make it too different from how you already eat, and you're also trying to eat foods that you really don't like. Not doing that will help, but just because you mess up one night, doesn't matter, you're supposed to. That is part of the plan, so make it part of your plan.

Really good tip number seven, double one dinner, and take half of it and throw it in the freezer. I always do this. Any recipe I can double, I double. The reason why is it is not double the work. Because you already have all the stuff out, you're already going to have to wash the dishes, double the recipe, take half of it, throw it in your freezer. That way in a couple weeks when you need to do some shopping at home before you make your list you'll be able to see, "Oh, hey, I still have that soup from three weeks ago." Or, if anything comes up and you need to pull something out of the freezer, it's there, it's ready to go.

Number eight, plan to have nights off. It can be part of your meal plan to plan to order out. There's no reason why it can't, so plan some nights off where you are not making dinners. That's okay, this isn't all about home cooked, from scratch, every single meal. This meal plan is supposed to support you, your goals, and your life.

Number nine, if you have picky eaters at home, this has worked really well for a number of women that I've worked with, that is letting each picky eater choose one meal for the week. This, also, I think helps with ownership, so it helps those picky eaters just feel like they're part of the process and feel more involved. Letting them choose what they would like to have as a meal that week.

Number 10, you never want a meal plan for less than two meals, or more than five meals. Less than two meals is kind of a waste of your time. If you need two or less meals in a week, if you're looking at your schedule, and you’re saying "I'm only going to need two meals," look through your freezer, look at what you already have. You can put together some meals with what you already have.

It's not worth your time to sit down to order, to pick up the groceries, to prep for less than two meals. Anything more than five meals gets to be very overwhelming, and it's very hard to prep for meals that are more than four or five days out of the gate. No less than two, and no more than five when you're planning.

Do not hold onto your plan too tightly. Don't be rigid with it. You're not married to this plan. It can change, and you don't want to feel very rigid with what you're eating. That can also take a lot of the fun out of it. Number 12, you need to have emergency meals. This I why doubling some of those recipes is a really great idea, but, you know what is also a great idea? Frozen pizza, frozen lasagna, having a breakfast-for-dinner night, having a restaurant that you order from. Have emergency meals available, because it's going to come up and you're going to need them.

Number 13, this is a tip that I always do, and this is when I'm serving my dinner from the night before. I have a glass container out, and I always fill it with my lunch for the next day. I don't know about you guys, but the thought of actually cooking a separate lunch, just seems like such a waste of time in the middle of my day. Now, you may not feel the same way, and that's why we each have a meal plan that's different, but what I like to do is while I'm serving my dinner, I package up my lunch for the next day and it is done at the same time. As I'm putting dishes away, I'm putting my lunch away.

Okay. Also, another pro tip, work around common ingredients. If you know you're buying a fresh herb for something, if you're putting cilantro into something, then pick a few meals that have that herb. That way you're using it all up, and usually some common ingredients makes it faster to grocery shop, and to prep.

Lastly, I love this idea of having a meal template or theme nights. You could do it for example, Tuesday nights are taco nights, or every Friday you have pizza. You can put different toppings into your tacos and on top of your pizza, but you have a theme night. This allows you to take one out of the equation and make life easy. Usually those are crowd pleasers, too.

The 11 big mistakes we make meal planning

Here are the 11 mistakes that people make: the first is being too ambitious. You guys, five-course gourmet meals every night, home cooked, from scratch, no. Throw that out the window. Honestly, if you use no-fail recipes for the majority, and maybe, if you have a bit of time, a bit of extra time, maybe try one new recipe a week, but even that would be ambitious. Maybe one every few weeks.

Not giving yourself enough time to plan. Remember, this is a three-part process. You're not going to do this all in one sitting. It's going to be way too much. You are going to get sick of the plan before you even start the plan, so give yourself the time.

Picking the wrong recipes: this is a big one. If you're picking recipes that are too hard, that nobody likes, that you don't like, then this is not going to work. This is one thing that came up again and again when I was talking to people. "It's boring, it's complicated," but it doesn't have to be.

Don't pick the wrong recipes. If you pick one that's a stinker, we've all been there, right? We look at a recipe, we think it looks really good, and it really, really stinks. As in, the dog won't even eat it, it stinks. Toss it out, you've got your emergency backup, and don't make that recipe again, obviously. Just have fun with it as much as you can.

Number four mistake is not stocking your pantry. You want to have ingredients and items for those times when you don't have the energy or the will to make your meal that you had planned. A big mistake: not shopping in your kitchen first. See what you already have, see what needs to be used up. Don't skip this step.

Another big mistake is not saving the recipes that you liked. We're going to talk about this in a minute, how to put together kind of a portfolio of recipes, so that you have your go-to, no-fails, all in one place. This makes your meal planning super quick. 

Skipping the prep work, a lot of people do this. They'll do the meal plan, they'll go get the groceries, and then they'll let that food die in the fridge.The meal prep really is a key component, because it makes it so easy to throw together. If everything's already chopped, and you just have to throw it together, it makes it a lot easier to follow through. Definitely set aside time for prepping. When I prep I also put on a favorite podcast or a TV episode. Just something light that you can half pay attention to. The thought of meal prepping is always so much worse than actually doing it. Once you get started you get into it, and it makes your life so much easier down the road.

We talked about cooking new recipes every night is a terrible idea, so you're not going to try cooking new recipes every night. You are going to always have a backup plan. Number 10, do not be so hard on yourselves. I talk to so many of you, and if you fall off the plan for a meal you're done with the plan. But it doesn't need to be that way. When you're working the plan to fit your life, and to fit your needs, and you really understand why you're doing it, what your reason is behind it, then you can go easy of yourself. You're just a human being, you are doing the best you can, so don't be so hard on yourself if it doesn't work every single time perfectly. Again, we're aiming for that pretty good 80-90%.

Number 11, we all know this, don't plan and don't shop when you're hungry, because, remember we talked about that executive-level brain function versus that toddler brain function, and we want to work in those higher-consciousness realms when we're planning what we're going to eat. Otherwise, there's no point, you might as well just fly by the seat of your pants. Don't go when you're hungry, and that will help to avoid those impulse buys.

4 no-recipe meal formulas

All right four-meal formulas. This means you wouldn't have to have a recipe. I highly recommend you come up with some for yourselves, because it's so much easier when you know you can just chuck it all in. You just throw everything together. Basically, you pick a starch, you pick your vegetables, and you pick your protein. That's all you have to pick, and then you throw them together.

Here's four different ways you can do that: one, is a Buddha Bowl. This is when ... typically when you have rice or quinoa, and then you have greens and some beans, that kind of thing. Another one is a one-pan bake, so you take all of the vegetables, the starch would be something like a sweet potato, or a potato, parsnips, turnips, whatever you like. Your protein you could do like a marinated tofu, whatever you want it to be, and you throw it all on one roasting tray, and you throw it in the oven, 350 to 400 degrees for a certain length of time, pull it out, it's ready to go. There's no recipe there.

Stir-fry, that's a great one. You have all your vegetables prepped, you just throw them in, and you make sure you have a base. The fourth one is a burrito bowl. This is always a crowd pleaser, so, rice and beans, or quinoa, beans, salsa, guacamole, some vegetables on top. The key to these, and this is where the prep work comes in, and this is where you're going to want to be looking in your recipe books, is to find sauces that make these delicious.

I have a stir-fry sauce that is ... literally, I think the name of it is The Best Stir-Fry Sauce Ever. On a burrito bowl, use salsa, guacamole. One-pan bake I make a miso gravy that is just delicious on top. The real key to these is the sauces. I highly encourage you to make your own sauces. It sounds like it's a lot of work, but the difference in taste is unbelievable when you're using fresh garlic, fresh ginger. Usually there's only four or five ingredients, and the sauce will last quite a long time.

When you're buying store-bought it's very hard to find stuff that doesn't have sugar added, doesn't have preservatives, and just crap in there that you don't want. The sauces are key when you're doing these throw-it-all-together no-recipe recipes. I really encourage you to have these in your back pocket, because they're going to make planning so much easier when you can just pull some of these out.

The Eat Right Meal Planner

I put together an Eat Right meal planner for you. You can just click the link above and you'll instantly get it. There's a few, there's a meal planning, and a grocery list, and all the stuff that you think that you'd want in here.

The reason that I want to bring this up right now is this:  your best no-fail meals. I highly recommend, this is what I do, is every season ... Right now we're in a colder season, the snow is starting to fall, the things that are in season are like root vegetables, that kind of thing. I'm going to eat differently in the winter, the spring, summer, and the fall, but I have my no-fail recipes for each season.

I like to have 10 no-fail recipes for each season. How I came to have this list is, when I was meal planning I would choose my favorites and I would add them to this list. Then I would make sure I had a photocopy of the recipe so I just have it all together. There's always 10 no-fail recipes in one place. This will speed up your meal planning enormously. If you know you're having a crazy, hectic week, pick all of your recipes from here. You know they work, you know how to make them, they are no-fail.

If you have a bit more time one week then add a new recipe in and try it, but this is key. I think of it ... I don't know if you guys have heard of a capsule wardrobe, where you change your wardrobe out every season, and you just have a few quality pieces. I think of this as your capsule menu. This is a few quality recipes that you're going to go to time and time again and pull out.

You can constantly be adding, subtracting, and changing these recipes, but I highly recommend every week you're pulling from this list. I have even sometimes used those 10 on repeat for weeks at a time. They're my favorite recipes, I know they always work, I know they're nourishing, I know they're balanced, and I know I like them, so, I'll just repeat them.

That's basically what we're going to talk about today when it comes to meal planning. We looked at that number one step that you do not want to skip. We looked at the three-step system, we looked at 15 tips and strategies to make meal planning better for you, we looked at the 11 big mistakes that people tend to make, we looked at having those no-recipe meal formulas, as I call them, and we also looked at the Eat Right meal planner that has that capsule menu on it.

If, as I said, you have anything you want to add to this, I'm sure everyone would be welcome what you have to add, because we're all in the same boat. We all want to eat well, and we don't want it to be completely unfun. Now, next week, what are we ... Oh, next week is actually the goal-setting challenge.

I hope you guys have signed up for that. I'm just putting the finishing touches on a few pieces of it. You guys, it's really good, I'm really excited. I'm going to be doing it with you. I like to set my goals in quarters, so, for January, February, March, that's what we're going to work on next week. It's a totally different way to plan your goals than you've ever seen before.

If you're watching this in the future I plan to redo the challenge every quarter, so that we can start fresh every quarter with three new goals. I think it's a really great way of doing it, so I hope you've signed up. You can click in the links above or go to drkristinenewman.com/goals and get added to the next challenge.

I hope to see you in the challenge. Then we're coming back the next week with the fourth of our five-part series, and we'll be looking at mistakes. The mistakes we make when we're trying to eat right.

I hope you are having an awesome Tuesday. I hope this has made meal planning more interesting for you. It's a tricky topic, but it's definitely worth doing.

All right. I will see you later in the goals challenge, I hope.