Losing weight and maintaining your weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. It may not be EASY, but that’s a story for another day. The formula is SIMPLE and there is one dietary change you can make TODAY to start your weight loss journey.
Eat real food.
What is real food? It is whole, pure, unprocessed foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meats, milk, dairy and whole grains. Foods in their natural form.
A handful of pecans is “real food,” while Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts is not. An apple is real food; Mott’s strawberry-flavored applesauce cups is not. A juicy piece of chicken is real food; sorry to say McDonald’s chicken McNuggets are not. A hunk of cheddar made with real milk is real food; processed American cheese slices are not.
What real food can do for you…
- Real food is delicious. Think of a crisp apple, fragrant blackberries, a juicy mouth-watering peach.
- Real food gives your body the nutrients it needs for good health and weight loss.
- Real food takes away the cravings for sugar and other junk.
- Real food is satisfying. Ever wonder why you can eat donuts for breakfast and 30 minutes later you’re starving? Your body got a sugar fix but nothing else. When your body is properly nourished by eating real food, then your hunger and fullness cues work.
- Real food will prevent over-eating. Many people, including me, struggle with night-time snacking. Processed foods just create a craving for more of the same, so my handful of tortilla chips only make me want a bowl of ice cream, potato chips and cookies.
- Real food will give you energy, and and a feeling of wellness.
- Real food will prevent some diseases (think lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol just for starters).
- Real food will help you lose weight.
Focusing on real food is what we call “clean eating.”
If your diet is mostly real foods like veggies, fruit, fish, meat, whole grains, and you are SMART about your eating (see the tips below) then likely you won’t have to count calories, stress over portion sizes, or go extreme measures to lose weight and keep it off.
Printable list of real foods, organized by nutritional value.
Michi’s ladder is list of real foods organized in tiers according to their nutritional value. It’s rather unusual name is based on the Japanese term “michi,” which represents “the way.” It’s a clean eating cheat sheet and a way to achieve better health and wellness.
The higher up on the list you eat, the better off you’ll be.
Download your printable copy here: Michi’s Ladder
Foods that are a good source of protein are marked with a (P), carbohydrates are (C) and healthy fats are (F). You’ll notice that tiers 4 and 5 don’t contain this information—that’s because these foods aren’t healthy, so you shouldn’t look to them for nutrition. They’re “treats.” Finally, food with an asterisk (*) before it, are nutrient-rich superfoods.
Once you’ve made the simple change to a real foods lifestyle, try these tips for best results.
Tips for healthy eating:
- Pay attention to your body’s hunger signals. Eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
- Drink water throughout the day. No reason to chug gallons, but stay properly hydrated. Eight glasses a day is a good rule of thumb.
- No grazing. Don’t eat between planned meals and snack times. A handful here, a taste there, and cleaning off your kids’ plates will only lead to trouble.
- Have a strategy to deal with treats and special occasions. Life happens. No one expects you to exist on carrot sticks and chicken breast. But a birthday dinner doesn’t mean full on pig-out mode. Have a few bites of treats and get back to your plan. See the 3 Bite Rule.
Eating for good health, weight loss and maintenance doesn’t need to be complicated. Eating whole, real foods is the one simple change you can make TODAY to begin your weight loss journey. Wishing you good health!