Before we dive into my January detox, I thought it would be beneficial for you to "meet" my nutritionist - Rebecca Baer! She and I have been working together for some time now - she introduced me to so, so, so many healthy eating tips, including one of AB-solute favorites, the importance of eating GG Bran Crispbread fiber crackers. As I mentioned yesterday, with November and December out of the way, January is all about getting back on track. My goal for the first month of 2014 is to eat really clean healthy foods, lose a few pounds and be able to maintain my weight, and add tone and definition to my body. In order to get there, Rebecca is helping me with menus, recipes, nutrition counseling and advice on which types of exercise to incorporate into her regimen at specific times. And I'm going to share some of that with you!
Before we get into the meal plans and workouts, Rebecca is sharing her healthy eating secrets with you!
When working with clients, what do you take into consideration?
I take a lot of things into consideration; age, gender, lifestyle, health and medical issues, and especially goals and motivation. All of these things shape the way a diet plan gets created for that person. I factor in all the things that got a person to where they are and the struggles they’ve had. But, I also need to know what their goals are; are they realistic or high enough? Are they really motivated, or do they just want a diet plan without any work? If that is the case, then I explain why it’s more than just wanting it they need to do the dirty work, otherwise I will not take them on as a client.
How should people looking to restructure their diet begin?
Start with easy changes when looking to restructure your diet. Make a list of all the obvious foods that are hindering weight loss and remove them from your diet; chips, pizza, sugary pastries etc. Next start looking at your meals; do they seem to be made up of foods that are white, cream colored, beige, and brown? If so, start adding in colorful foods from vegetables and fruits; start cutting back on the portion sizes of all those shades of beige foods.
What are your suggestions for meal planning and grocery shopping?
The word “planning” in that question is perfect. Planning is so important for making changes to a persons diet and keeping those changes. If you aren’t prepared ahead of time to cook a healthy meal that night, chances are you will end up choosing a food that is convenient and not necessarily healthy. Give yourself “me time” so you can relax and enjoy the process of going to the grocery store and cooking later. Also, keep it simple; stick to meals that are pretty basic and fool proof. No need to stress yourself out with a complicated recipe with hard to find ingredients.
How can someone who may not have access to a nutritionist structure his or her diet?
Start with the glaring foods that you know are bad for you and toss them. Set realistic goals such as incorporating more fruits and vegetables, ordering in only once a week, walking to work a few times a week, choosing whole grains over white flour products etc.
What are dietary essentials that everyone needs to make sure they're fitting into their meal plans?
Eat more vegetables and fruit! I cannot stress it enough; we simply do not eat these as much as we should. For Breakfast-throw in a brightly colored fruit like a ruby red grapefruit, for lunch, add some crunchy red pepper to your salad or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce in your salad, Dinner-get a vegetable on your plate and make it the biggest portion out of everything (your plate should look like a peace sign-smallest portions are lean protein and starch and the biggest is veggies).
What's a sustainable plan that everyone can stay on instead of crash dieting?
You want to eat meals that combines whole grains rich in fiber, lean protein and a fruit or vegetable. Go for a hearty breakfast and lunch, and then start tapering off at snack-a small to medium snack and then a nice light dinner and low-calorie dessert such as fruit.
For everyone who wants to start the New Year off right, what's your suggestion for first steps?
- Set realistic goals
- Don’t beat yourself up for where you are at and how you got there-it’s a new year!
- Get moving-why not speed up your goals by adding some exercise to the mix?
- Toss the junk-go through your pantry and fridge; if it’s not there, it’s not a temptation that is calling your name.
- Start journaling-it really helps keep you on track when you jot down what you ate that day. Its great to see where and when you slipped up or over ate. It’s also great to see what an awesome job you did.
What are your favorite foods that everyone should eat on a regular basis?
Greek yogurt, Eggs, Cottage cheese, veggies-arugula, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and hearts of palm, fruits-strawberries, cherries, oranges, grapefruits and blueberries and blackberries.
What are some food myths / fears that everyone needs to get over?
Food myth - If it’s organic/gluten free/juiced/seeds and nuts in everything are healthy and wont make you gain weight. This can be true, but usually its not. A cookie is still a cookie regardless of whether it’s organic, or gluten free or made with chia seeds. And, worse is that we neglect the calories and fat in many of these products. Kale is super healthy, but when you add a thick coating of seasoning to it you go from virtually zero calories to something that is easily 150 calories per ounce!
Food myth - Fat free doesn’t mean calorie free. Lets be honest, there are very very few foods that are calorie free that aren’t made in a lab. The only calorie free food that is all natural is water. So, just because your froyo is fat free, doesn’t mean its not filled with calories that will be turned into fat. Generally, when you take the fat out of something you have to add back a form of carbohydrate to give it good mouth feel and texture-which are where the calories are coming from.
Food Fear - People need to get over their fear of eating plain foods. Plain doesn’t mean tasteless-it just means you haven’t doused it with condiments, seasonings, flavorings etc. to make it exciting. Let yourself get used to the taste of broccoli and chicken and spinach, and salmon and yogurt without the unnecessary additions.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.