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These 2 Types of Food Either Make You Do BETTER or Worse

November 19, 2014

We all have them: foods that get us totally off track. They send us down a spiral of poor eating choices as we chase cravings, have poor energy and of course, guilt.

Some of you are very clear on which foods do this i.e. sugar or gluten for many of you, and some of you have no clue and this is one more way you can beat yourself up. Some of it is chemistry as your hormones get whacked from certain foods – and yet a lot of it is emotional as well.

Either way, it’s info you need to have to bridge the gap between knowing BETTER and being able to continue to do BETTER. Spend some time getting to know you, what foods sabotage your efforts, and on the flip side, what foods make it easier for you to keep making good choices and sustain your efforts, here’s how:

Sustain Foods

Sustain foods help you do BETTER.  They support your goals, your energy, your better body, your better health. Sustain foods hold us up – they make eating healthy/lean/clean, whatever you call it, easier.

They aren’t always the thing you’re jonseing for, but you can count on them to make you feel good and support what you’re trying to do.

For example, if you’ve got a hankering for pizza, a big salad with some protein with some juicy fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and sprinkle of oregano and garlic will sustain you more than pizza – and nip that craving for Italian goodness.

See the difference? The mozzarella and tomato salad has way more fiber as well as some protein vs. the higher fat, higher carb, low fiber pizza. So you’ll feel more satisfied, less full and less cravy afterwards.

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So what are some Sustain Foods?

  • Veggies are among the best Sustain Foods because their belly filling fiber satisfies and satiates you – this alone can buy  you a minute to make a better choice.  They can also keep your digestion smooth sailing leaving you less bloated, feeling slimmer – and this all leads to feeling better, when you feel better you crave more feeling better. Sometimes when we eat pizza, we crave more pizza, capisci?
  • Protein is another Sustain Food because it gives you fuel without the blood sugar ups and downs that come from too many starchy carbs.
  • Healthy fat can be another Sustain Food because it slows digestion in general leaving us feeling fuller longer.
  • The right carbs eaten at your unique carb tolerance – and right times of day –  can also be Sustain Foods for you.

The other day on my Facebook page I asked what unique habits people had cultivated that sustained them, made it easier to be BETTER and here’s just a few gems from that discussion:

  • Going for a fat based snack if they are hungry vs. carbs or sugar. Habits ranged from snacking on nuts to cheese to literally, a tbsp of grass fed butter right off the stick. One of my absolute fav healthy fat snacks are these coconut butter packs. I never leave home without them!
  • Having a protein+veggie snack mid afternoon to avoid coming home ravenous – and helpless to make a good decision for dinner.
  • And something that has worked well for many – including me – is swapping out eggs for breakfast with some other protein.

My personal fav is 1lb each of ground bison and ground turkey sauteed up with onion, bell peppers, celery and seasoned with salt, pepper and sage. Now on to the stuff that has the opposite effect…..

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Sabotage Foods

Sabotage Foods are much more individual.

Sugar in all its forms sabotages most of us across the board leading to a blood sugar rollercoaster and more sugar cravings. Beyond that it can be starchy foods in general, especially when over eaten.

self-sabotage

As an example, I love sweet potatoes but I find it hard to eat only my 4 bites (that’s my unique carb tolerance – more on UCT here.).  More than a few bites of sweet potato puts my carb cravings on full tilt even at a small amount.

Pumpkin is lower starch/sugar carb and works better for me – although I prefer the sweet potato (I mean they are beyond delicious no?). It’s a bummer, but that’s the truth for me.  Does this mean I never eat sweet potato? No, it’s just that I know this food can cause more cravings for me so I have to be more mindful when I eat it.

For many of you gluten is a major sabotage food – whether you know it or not. A gluten reaction can range from bloating to depression. However for many of you, it’s not as much the immediate reaction that’s the problem, but after having it cravings for it are on high – even 3-4 days after eating it.

Again to use myself as an example, I feel very little immediate repercussions from eating wheat…but the next day, oh man.  I’m in a total funk, feeling bummed out and sad and tired. I crave carbs to boost my mood and my energy, but nothing shakes those blues so I keep reaching for the carby treat to feel better.

It takes me about 3 days to shake this and I am hardly able to effortlessly eat the lean diet that works for me during that time. (More on the complexities of gluten reactions beyond Celiac here.)

Sabotage foods can also be “healthy” foods that cause us to overeat. Nuts or nut butter are among these. Some people can easily eat 1 tbsp of almond butter as a quick snack or as a healthy fat addition to a meal; other people start with 1 tbsp and find themselves staring at an empty jar by the end of the day.

My sweet potato example works here as well – who would classify sweet potato as an unhealthy food? No one! But it can sabotage my efforts – we’re all unique.

Because Sabotage Foods are so individual, you really have to tune into your cravings and take the time to be a bit of a detective.

Writing it down really helps with the investigative work.

Spend some time looking at some of your favorites – sadly, we often crave a few things that don’t work so well for our fat loss goals.  It doesn’t make these foods bad – just foods that may not get you the quickest results.

Some Sabotage Foods though (gluten and dairy are big culprits) not only cause cravings but inflammation as well. So while you’re looking into cravings and willpower after certain foods look as well to digestive changes, aches, worse sleep, breakouts, etc.

If you’re having any of these types of reactions, those are most certainly Sabotage Foods for you as inflammation puts the breaks on fat loss – not to mention creating a host of other messes.

Not sure how you’re reacting to various foods? Try a 30-45 day elimination of the food in question.

The Whole30 is a great option, check it out. Chances are you’ll notice at least some improvement in symptoms or mood and you’ll have a more clear picture of how you are reacting to those foods when you reintroduce them. It’s all about continuing to do BETTER.

We’ve all done something like the Whole30 or any other “diet” and discovered a few things that worked for us but weren’t able to keep doing those things. Find a few Sustain Foods or Sustain Habits that you can live with for the long haul. And then be aware of your Sabotage Foods and avoid them when willpower is low or when you’re not making progress.

This model of looking at foods as those that are helpful to you or not will not only keep your hormones and metabolism happier, but it reminds you that some foods throw you off and make it all see so much harder. When it’s harder you’ll feel weaker, you’ll feel you can’t do it and all of that adds up to giving up. The goal is always to make it easier, more effortless to do BETTER today, that’s how you’ll do BETTER tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…..

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