I've noticed the harder I workout, the more calories my body craves when it's all said and done. I'll be honest with you, usually after doing some lifting, abs and cardo I find myself craving the biggest, juiciest, fattest burger I can get my hands on...no joke!
Sometimes, I indulge in the craving (maybe a little more than I should ;) and sometimes I don't, Instead, I opt for a more heart healthy food alternative.
I have always believed in balance in life in general and I do with my diet as well. I indulge from time to time and I eat smart consistently too. When you start to shift the scales on this and start to put good, healthy, nutrient rich stuff into your body, good stuff comes out. When you shift your focus, you also need to adjust your mindset as well.
Most people tend to just eat and not think about why they are eating. Am I truly hungry? Am I eating for comfort? Am I depressed, bored, detached from life? Am I eating because I haven't all day long and this is the first chance I've gotten to consume some calories? I don't know about you but I've done all of the above many times over.
Being mindful of WHY we are eating is just as important as WHAT we are eating. Certain foods produce certain chemicals in the brain which affects the body and learning about these are valuable tools that you can use to defend yourself from anxiety, stress, depression, overeating, fatigue and so much more. One example is chocolate and everyone knows it produces serotonin, the "feel good" chemical. Every food you eat produces some sort of response from your body, every calorie you consume fuels your body in a specific way and produces a specific outcome. Sorry ladies, sugars and processed foods give you zero nutritional value and actually do much more harm than good. The whiter the bread, grains, pastas, sugars you are consuming, the more processed they are. The processing of foods strips all it's healthy nutrients out, thus NO nutritional value is left.
Focusing on these 4 chemicals will help you to feel better overall and get you on your way to becoming and maintaining your BEST, they are all be produced by following a healthy diet:
#1 - Dopamine, #2 - Oxytocin, #3 - Serotonin, #4 - Endorphins. A diet rich in the foods listed below will produce ALL of these chemicals! Don't forget to throw in some Ginko and Ginseng as well to give your bod an extra boost ;)
Fruits - especially bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes
Veggies - especially spinach
Eating these foods and taking a mindfulness approach to eating in general, really does encompass choosing smarter eating habits in the moment and I bet you probably didn't link the two together until now, as I never did either. A big part of mindfulness is being "Aware" in the moment, that is precisely what we need to do before we begin to shove food in our mouth, especially if we are going for the foods that are NOT so heart and body healthy for us. Asking ourselves in the moment, "Why am I eating?", is it because I am truly hungry? or is it because I'm bored, feeling bad, emotional, etc? This will help you to be in the moment and change your eating habits if you are eating for the wrong reasons versus the right ones.
If you are having pasta tonight, make sure that it's whole grain or veggie made pasta and organic if you can swing a little more money (you're worth it), make sure that you include a side salad and something healthy to drink, skip the dessert this time around ;) Diet is all about balance, it is NOT about starving yourself, over indulging, eating only healthy or only unhealthy. If you deprive yourself of the good stuff we all love, you will not make it past the cravings and they will eventually consume you. Be smart, stay focused, know why you are eating, be mindful of your diet and what your shoveling into your mouth if you want to maintain a healthy, happy weight. No "Emotion or feeling" is worth self sabotaging, you can and do control your emotions just as you can and do control your cravings.
Start to do a little research to figure out what chemicals produce what effects on the body (I love google for learning purposes, it's one of the quickest and easiest ways to correlate what your feeling to what your eating and what it's going to produce in the end result.
Mindfulness extends far beyond being in the moment, it affects and influences many other aspects of our lives, including our diets. Open yourself up to a new approach of mindfulness and become your BEST self by rocking a new routine today. It's up to you to take care of YOU!