How My Diet Has Changed in 5 Years

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woman grocery shopping

new foodsThe dietary advice I give my clients has changed over the years so I started to think about how MY diet has changed. In the past 5 years, my diet has evolved. Somehow limiting calories and fat have become less important to me and I’ve focused more on foods that taste good, satiate me and are less processed. As a result, I’ve had fewer cravings. I’ve done a 360 when it comes to fat. This former somewhat fat phob has realized she loves fat!  I’ve also made changes in my sleep and exercise habits. It’s actually kind of embarrassing to write down what I USED to eat, but here goes …

Fat phob no more
I’ll admit that I used to be bit of a fat phob. Not sure why as I never really had a weight problem and have always been quite active. Maybe I was brainwashed from the 1980’s? In any case, I was a butter spray, light salad dressing kind of girl. But that has changed … dramatically!

Here are 10 major changes in my diet (and lifestyle)paul-newmans-dressing1
1. I use a lot more oil – mainly olive oil.  In the past, one bottle could last me almost a year. Now I love the flavor of olive oil and go through a bottle every other month or so. Depending on what I’m cooking, I also might use sesame or coconut oil.

2. I no longer use commercial salad dressings. I used to be obsessed with Paul Newman’s Light dressing. At any given time, I would have 10 bottles in my refrigerator. Now it’s olive oil and lemon or vinegar (balsamic or fig vinegar) on salads. Sorry Paul!

3. Bye bye butter sprays. I used to be the queen of butter sprays and would go through about 2 bottles a week. This is embarrassing for a butter spraynutritionist as I know it is loaded with chemicals. Now it’s olive oil all the way. I sound like a spokesperson for the Olive Oil Board! I tasted butter spray recently and found the taste rather repulsive.

4. I rarely eat pasta. It used to be my go-to quick dinner at least twice a week. And I would even eat larger portions the night before a long bike ride in an attempt to carb load (I was looking for any edge I could get!) But I realized that eating pasta caused me to crave it more and I had trouble sticking to normal sized portions. I also felt sluggish after eating it. So I pretty much stopped buying it. I don’t even miss it and my bike rides didn’t suffer either (I’m still slow with or without pasta … just ask my bf). But I don’t consider it “off limits” and might have it once a month or so in a restaurant. I just realized it wasn’t the best choice for me to eat at home.

5. I have given up artificial sweeteners. This is HUGE for me (embarrassing!) In addition to the fact that it’s artificial and isn’t the healthiest choice around, I began to realize that it perpetuated sugar cravings for me. Now, I try not to use any sugar at all, but if I do, it’s real sugar.  More on this at a later blog post. I have also stopped keeping sugar of any kind in my apartment.

6. I’m no longer just an “egg white girl”. Now I enjoy the yolks and find them much more satisfying. When making eggs as a meal, which I often do, I typically eat 2 whole eggs and 4 whites as I like VOLUME. I think eating 6 whole eggs would be a bit extreme. I’ll also add a ton of veggies made with nonstick spray and olive oil. *As most of us know, the majority of the nutrients are found in the yolks.

7. I eat at least 3 avocados a week. Years ago, it never would have occurred to me to have a whole avocado with lemon, olive oil and salt foravocado part of my dinner. Now I crave it all the time! And of course avocados are packed with nutrients.

8. This really isn’t a change, but I have become even more obsessed with Greek yogurt. I have 2 a day  – sometimes three! My favorite brands are Fage 2% plain and Chobani 2% flavored (lime, coconut).

9. I rarely eat ice cream. I used to buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s about twice a month (and likely ate the whole container in one sitting). I can honestly say I haven’t done this in at least 2 years. I think the added fat in my diet has cut my craving for ice cream. In my opinion, the 2% flavored Greek yogurt is almost as good as ice cream.

10. I’ve been eating more “good for the gut” foods. I’ve become fascinated with research on the huge role that gut bacteria play in health – everything from immunity to weight managment to heart disease and diabetes. So I’ve increased my intake of probiotic-rich fermented foods such as keffir and kimchi. Kimchi is fermented spicy cabbage. May not sound appealing, but it is actually very tasty … and spicy. Years ago I never would have touched these foods!  And from another health standpoint, I think we will see more and more research done on how processed foods loaded with chemicals have negative effects on our good gut bacteria. More on gut health at a later post.

11. I am drinking less alcohol. I used to socialize around alcohol 3+ nights a week (anywhere from usually 2-3 glasses of wine/night out and IMG_1675maybe more on a Saturday night). Aside from working more and not having as much time to go out, I’ve realized that alcohol affects my body differently than it did years ago. Now more than 2 glasses of wine (and sometimes even one!)interferes with sleep, causes a headache as well as the urge for more junky food the next day. Not worth it! I’m probably consuming 3-4 glasses of wine a week now. Pic is of me and friends at Smith and Wollensky’s with massive drinks(a few years ago!)

12. I exercise less. Years ago, I would exercise at least 12 hours a week. I was an exercise instructor by night, nutritionist by day. I remember teaching over 10 classes a week in addition to my own weight training workouts. Then years later I did triathlons and often worked out twice a day. Ouch! Now I’m lucky if I get to work out 3-4 times a week. But my workouts are more intense. I do intervals with weights and intense cardio and one long bike ride (~ 60 miles) a week. I have fewer injuries, enjoy it more and am just as fit. More is not better in this case!

13. I have become the queen of sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep issues for years (and continue to struggle), but am now taking it much more seriously. Not only does inadequate sleep make it difficult to think clearly, but it can really affect your overall health in so many ways (weight, heart health, diabetes risk). So I try to make sleep a priority and will give up going out with friends if need be to TRY to get more sleep. It’s a continual battle to stay off the computer late at night … but I am really working on it!  

Bottom line
I’ve made some major changes to my diet in the past few years – mainly fewer processed foods and more fat. These changes just happened naturally. I didn’t really set out to eat more fat but rather found that my body started craving it. By making these changes, I feel better, have fewer cravings and am less focused on the calorie and fat content of foods. I’ve always eaten enough protein, fruit and vegetables, so no changes in that area.
I would encourage everyone to pay attention to how various foods make your body feel!

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