- Have you started noticing a few pounds slowly creeping onto your body recently?
- Are you recovering from surgery and lack the ability to exercise?
- Are you overwhelmed with school, caring for a young child, meal prepping, and balancing a job?
If so, let’s hone in on those few extra pounds by ignoring your intentional exercise (or perhaps lack thereof) and talk about two things in particular:
Nutrition and mindfulness.
When asked about your diet, do you say without hesitation;
“Oh, I’m a healthy eater! Yes, absolutely”?
For one of my clinic patients- we’ll call her Jill*- this was how our conversation over nutrition began. After giving permission to discuss her weight and the nutritional aspect of her lifestyle, we went into the nitty gritty details of her nutritional habits.
I had Jill break down her daily food diary for me:
- Breakfast: none- skipped on most days
- Lunch: pastrami sandwich on ciabatta bread, black coffee, water
- Snack: veggie sticks
- Dinner: usually nothing if lunch was big. No dessert, no alcohol
Big picture, it didn’t appear like Jill was necessarily over-consuming on food, but we definitely had room to explore cleaning out her diet. In doing so, we brought out some interesting thoughts she held around food…
I started with her veggie sticks.
Whenever possible, I always advocate eating whole foods with my patients. In brainstorming clean & minimally processed substitutions for the veggies sticks, it only made sense to consider raw vegetables as a healthier alternative.
Simple enough, right?
Raw veggies aren’t necessarily easy snacks. Baby carrots, sure. Cherry tomatoes, okay- a bit easier.
But what about bell peppers, celery, broccoli…etc? That takes more intentional cleaning, cutting, packaging, and refrigerating! And who has TIME for that when you’re cramming for exams in grad school, balancing a job, taking care of a 7 year old (who doesn’t like the same foods you do), oh… and trying to take care of YOURSELF after a major surgery that has you on activity restrictions for 6 weeks….?
Not so easy.
So we brainstormed ways to overcome meal prepping around raw vegetables.
One easy way that came to mind for Jill, was simply buying them pre-cut at the grocery store. I went on to suggest her dividing the pre-cut containers of raw vegetables immediately into snack and sandwich ziplock bags before putting them into her home refrigerator so they’d be even easier to grab-n-go.
Jill then jumped in and suggested bringing a small cooler with her to work that she could set down next to her desk to keep her wholesome snacks cold and refrigerated.
Now we were talking!
Raw vegetables successfully swapped for veggie sticks!
From there, Jill continued to take the lead with other improvements she wanted to make. But, I’m always a bit hesitant here.
I like to take things nice and slow; bite size changes, for long-term results.
However, Jill was excited and motivated, and wanted to reduce her intake of processed carbs.
She suggested removing the bread from her sandwich altogether- trying a lettuce wrap instead, or only having 1 piece of the bread for an open-faced sandwich.
I gave her permission to take the pressure off of “doing-all-the-things” by:
- Having her focus first on creating a successful habit around eating raw vegetables > veggie sticks…before…
- Building in the next task of reducing her intake of processed carbs for an additional 2-3 weeks
We were off to a great start, but….
…I didn’t think we were quite deep enough in our earlier conversation about raw vegetables.
I felt like we only briefly scratched the surface on food prep.
Was there a reason Jill was reaching for the sandwich over the salad for lunch? I wondered.
I asked Jill; “If I walked into your house with a beautiful bowl of Cobb salad, would you turn it down?”
Jill’s eyes lit up.
Absolutely not! I love salad!
It wasn’t that Jill didn’t like eating salads for lunch (over sandwiches), it was that it required a lot of preparation and time.
Jill’s a busy mom juggling all-of-the-things! I could totally empathize with where she was coming from.
I offered a new shift in mindset with Jill knowing that one of the biggest barriers to her attempts at choosing wholesome foods had a lot to do with the time it would take to meal prep.
I told her to attach meal prepping to something fun.
- Did she have a juicy Netflix series she couldn’t wait to watch?
- Did she have a best friend she could spend 30 minutes calling and gossiping with?
I invited her to pick one of these things (ie: turn on the TV or put the phone on speak) while cutting up her vegetables.
When it comes to preparing salad, I love having a TV show on in the background. I start by gathering a large popcorn bowl that I fill with lettuce. As I chop up vegetables and nibble on carrots, I slowly build my salad with fresh raw vegetables, avocado, hard boiled eggs, and crushed nuts.
After 5-10 minutes, I have a monstrous bowl of salad (with all of the fixings) prepped and ready to go for the week that didn’t even feel painful to do because I was delightfully distracted by my TV.
You can even take this one step further by divying up your large bowl of salad into individual tupperware containers for easy grab-n-go salads to take with you to work, school, or on the run!
When it comes to a healthy “diet,” there’s always room for improvement:
- How can you swap a snack or processed food ingredient for a wholesome alternative?
- What mental roadblocks are in your way, preventing you from eating healthier versions of food?
If one of those roadblocks is meal planning and prepping your food, then you absolutely need to grab my FREE Meal Planner Template. It’s a no brainer.
If you’re a “mom-on-the-go” and need help finding quick and easy meals you can make at the counter, then you definitely don’t want to make these 8 simple (and cold!) meal recipes!