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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.