1. Don't count calories, make calories count! Between basic body functions, your activity level, and the quality of your nutritional plan, your caloric intake will fluctuate. Listen to your body and your hunger levels and feed it accordingly. Just make sure those calories are coming from whole foods loaded with nutritional value!
2. Watch your stress levels and keep them under control. High stress levels increase cortisol in the body. Cortisol stores glucose as fat which becomes deposited throughout the body. It also increases your appetite and your cravings for high sugar and fatty foods, those known to create a comforting effect on the body.
3. Eat your fruits and majority of grains during the 1st 3-4 meals of the day. This way, the sugars and the carbs have time to digest and be burned off. Finish off your evening meals with a higher ratio of vegetables and proteins. This is not, however, saying to avoid vegetables throughout the day! Nothing is better that a huge salad at lunchtime and/or some fresh spinach thrown into my morning smoothie.
4. Love your fruits and veggies!!! Try to eat fresh, unprocessed fruits and veggies as much as possible. Raw foods create raw, bountiful energy. Anytime you can eat raw (except for meat, of course) is a bonus!
5. Try to limit “cheat meals” to 1-2 times per week. Take that cheat meal and have whatever you want. Deprivation is just setting yourself up for failure in the long run!
6. Aim for 8- 8oz glasses or more of water per day. Water is essential to flush the body. To properly flush the body of toxins, it is said to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
7. Limit processed grains/white flour/sugar and gluten-free foods. Stick to gluten-free oatmeal, sprouted grains, pseudo grains (i.e., quinoa and buckwheat), and low sugar foods (not including fruits).
8. Incorporate a bit of healthy fats into most meals of the day. Fat is essential for the body to function correctly and it also helps to sustain your hunger throughout the day! Incorporate nuts and seeds (unsalted), avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed or oil, and fish oil.
9. Select quality protein choices. Choose a variety of vegetarian protein such as beans, hemp, flax, quinoa, and protein bars/ shakes made of plant-based proteins. Even though meat is harder for the body to digest, it can be beneficial as well. If you choose to make meat a part of your diet, select organic, free-range, grass-fed beef, eggs, and poultry. Try to keep them lean cuts and avoid deli meats at all costs. They are processed, filled with nitrates, and loaded with sodium!
10. High sodium= high water retention= bloated feeling and look. Keep your sodium moderate, but do not limit all together. When choosing salts, make sure they are sea salts. Look for Celtic or Himalayan salts.
11. Eat baked, grilled, and poached cooked foods. Avoid fried and sautéed since this means that they are loaded in fat.
12. Avoid eating a heavy meal too late at night. A heavy meal interferes with your body's normal sleeping patterns, decreasing a quality night's sleep and increasing the likeliness that your "fuel" will be stored at fat. The body uses your sleeping time as a means to fast and cleanse the body!
13. I love the this saying that I once heard in regards to your meal portions: In the morning, eat like a king. In the afternoon, eat like a queen. In the evening, eat like a pauper. Simply put, try to not eat as much at night. When you do split your meals up, try and have a bit of protein/carbs/ and fat in each meal.