Better Choices

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Very often I hear people talk about “stress” eating. You are doing so well on your healthy eating plan and then BAM, life throws you a stressful curve ball.

I will admit that with all my weight struggles in the past, I have never been one to “stress eat.” But some  of my friends have often turned to food for comfort during tough times, so I’ve seen this first hand. I totally get it. In the midst of the difficulties that sometimes come with life, it feels nice in the moment to “numb” yourself with sugar, alcohol, or whatever your drug of choice is.

I just recently had a situation that almost threw  my daughter and I into some “stress eating.”

My aunt recently had some very serious and extensive  surgery. What we thought was going to be a  two- hour procedure turned into a four-hour one,  with my daughter and I waiting in the waiting room during the operation.

Now four hours may not sound like a lot, but when your loved one is under a knife, under anesthesia and also happens to be  in her late sixties, four hours now feels like four years.

When she finally came out of surgery,she looked absolutely awful. She was drowsy, bloody and could not walk because she was still groggy. The doctor assured us she was okay (and she was, thank goodness) but that it may be a rough night for all of us.

Because neither my daughter nor I had expected to be at the doctor’s office for so long, we did not have anything ready or prepared for dinner. Good thing I always have a bag of raw nuts in my purse because that’s what we snacked on while we waited. Honestly, I couldn’t even think about eating. My stomach was in such knots, food just wasn’t a priority at the moment.

Once we got home and got my aunt settled in bed, I could immediately feel that my blood sugar was starting to drop. More importantly, my daughter who have not been friendly with food perviously  was also feeling shaky and needed to eat something as soon as possible.

In her stressful state she said to me, “Mum let’s just eat those loaves  dad got yesterday and call it a day. We don’t ever eat anything bad and I can’t even think about cooking right now.”

She was right on both counts, we don’t ever eat anything “bad” and neither of us was in any state to start pulling together a gourmet meal. But I asked myself, “If breads were not an option, what could I do in this situation?”

I have to admit, I was keeping it together a little bit better than my daughter in that moment, so my head was a little clearer, but the thought of agreeing to processed white bread and watching my  girl eat it was NOT an option. I quickly looked in the fridge and saw that we had eggs (organic, of course) and some fresh veggies. I hard boiled a bunch of eggs, cut up 4 large tomatoes and peeled a cucumber and some carrots. I said to her “Princess”! it’s not quite gourmet, but it will do right now!”

After we had our tasty dinner of two hard boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes and a healthy serving of cucumbers and carrots, she thanked me for not letting her eat something that was really only going to make her stress worse.

So what happened here? Well something very, very important, and if we all did this then “stress eating” and “falling off the wagon” would truly not happen.

Eating crappy, garbage foods that would ultimately do me and my daughter  more harm than good was NOT an option.

Did you hear me? NOT an option! (I wonder how many times I can write that phrase in one article).You truly must OWN it.

For example, if you asked a hard core vegetarian to a steak restaurant they would say, “I don’t eat meat”…not an option. If you asked a non-smoker to come out for a smoke with you, they would say, “No thanks. I don’t smoke”…not an option.And if you offered someone a drink, not knowing she was pregnant, she’d say:”No thanks, I can’t”…and you’d understand that for her, it’s NOT an option.

Many people who know me would never in their wildest dreams ask me to hit the fast food/pastries with them. They just know that no matter the situation, no matter how busy we are, and no matter how hungry I am, it will never, ever, ever be an option.

What Are The Foods That You Need To Make NOT An Option?

Is it processed white bread? Is it fast food? Is it artificial sweeteners? Is it “soft drink”?  There are plenty of foods that could never, ever be eaten again for the rest of your life and you would be perfectly fine. Actually, you would be more than fine, you would be great!

There Are Some Foods That ARE Still Options For Me.

For example…

•If I go to a party and there is a dessert I want to try, I go for it. I don’t normally eat the whole thing, but I don’t deprive myself. I have it and then move on with my healthy life. No big deal.

•If I want a glass of wine with dinner, I will have it. This doesn’t happen very often because I’m not really much of a drinker, but if someone says, “You have to try this wine. It’s really great,” I try it. No big deal.

Many of my clients ,ask for healthy fat options and am glad to share these healthy  “fatty”  options as explained by  Mike Geary, a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist and  author of best-sellers: The Fat Burning Kitchen & The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Ageing. It’s really amazing….. Read on

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Healthy Fat Options 

  • Coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut oil: Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets.  In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as bodyfat compared to other types of fats.

Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fiber flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!).  Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free!

  •  Whole Eggs, including the yolk (not just egg whites): Most people know that eggs are one of the highest quality sources of protein.  However, most people don’t know that the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg… that’s where almost all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutein) are found in eggs. In fact, the egg yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids.  Also, the protein of whole eggs is more bio-available than egg whites alone due to a more balanced amino acid profile that the yolks help to build.

Just make sure to choose free-range organic eggs instead of normal shop eggs. The  nutrient content of the eggs and the balance between healthy omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (in excess) is controlled by the diet of the hens.

Chickens that are allowed to roam free outside and eat a more natural diet will give you healthier, more nutrient-rich eggs with a healthier fat balance compared with your typical shop eggs (that came from chickens fed nothing but soy and corn and crowded inside “egg factories” all day long).

  • Grass-fed beef or  (NOT the typical grain-fed shop beef!): I know most people think that red meat is unhealthy for you, but that’s because they do not understand how the health of the animal affects how healthy the meat is for consumption.  Keep this in mind — “an unhealthy animal provides unhealthy meat, but a healthy animal provides healthy meat”.

Typical beef  that you see at the  shop is raised on grains, mainly corn (and to some extent, soybeans). Soy and corn are NOT the natural diet of cattle, and therefore changes the chemical balance of fats and other nutrients in the beef or  Grain-fed beef is typically WAY too high in omega-6 fats and WAY too low in omega-3 fats.  In addition, the practice of feeding cattle corn and soy as the main portion of their diet upsets their digestive system and makes them sick… and it also increases the amount of dangerous e-coli in the meat.  This is not the case with grass-fed meat.

On the other hand, grass-fed beef from cattle  that were raised on the type of natural foods that they were meant to eat in nature (grass and other forage), have much higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats and lower levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats (that most people already eat way too much of) compared to grain fed beef.

Grass fed meats also typically contain up to 3three times the Vitamin E as in grain-fed meats. In addition, grass-fed meat from healthy cattle  also contain a special healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in MUCH higher levels than grain-fed meat.  CLA has been proven in scientific studies in recent years to help in burning fat and building lean muscle (which can help you lose weight!).  These benefits are on top of the fact that grass-fed meats are some of the highest quality proteins that you can possibly eat and this also aids in burning fat and building lean muscle.

Grass-fed meats are easy to to find in Nigeria, but just ask your butcher or find a specialty grocery shop and they usually have cuts available.

  • Avocados: Avocado is a seasonal fruit in Nigeria.

Even though avocados are typically thought of as a “fatty food”, they are chock full of healthy fats!  Not only is this fruit (yes, surprisingly, avocados are actually a fruit) super-high in monounsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants.

Try sliced avocados on sandwiches on salads or with fish, or as a delicious side to just about any meal.

The quality dose of healthy fats, fibre  and micronutrients that you get from avocados helps your body to maintain proper levels of hormones that help with fat loss and muscle building.  Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.  Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that fat burning!  I personally eat anywhere from a half to a full avocado DAILY and it only helps to keep me lean.

  •  Nuts:  Walnuts, Cashew nuts,Peanuts Brazil Nuts,  etc

Yes, this is yet another “fatty food” that can actually help you burn belly fat!  Although nuts are generally between 75-90% fat in terms of a ratio of fat calories to total calories, this is another type of food that is all healthy fats, along with high levels of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Nuts are also a good source of fiber and protein, which of course, you know helps to control blood sugar and can aid in fat loss.

Nuts also help to maintain good levels of fat burning hormones in your body (adequate healthy fat intake is vitally important to hormone balance) as well as helping to control appetite and cravings so that you essentially eat less calories overall, even though you’re consuming a high-fat food.  My favourite healthy nuts are walnuts and almonds,  and by eating them in variety, you help to broaden the types of vitamins and minerals and also the balance of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats you obtain.

Try to find raw nuts instead of roasted nuts if you can, as it helps to maintain the quality and nutritional content of the healthy fats that you will eat.Also, try to broaden your horizons beyond the typical peanut butter that most people eat, and try almond butter, cashew butter,  butter to add variety to your diet.

One of the little “tricks” that I’ve used with clients when trying to cut down body fat is to have them eat a handful of nuts such as almonds or walnut about 20 minutes before lunch and dinner.  This ends up being a perfect time to control your appetite before lunch or dinner and helps you to eat less overall calories on that meal.

Decide today which foods for you are NOT an option and then make a firm decision that your life will be so much better without them. Come inside Body Confidence Diet and Share them with us – we’ll be there to support you every step of the way! In health and happiness

Quick Exercise For The Week! 

Quadriceps: Offset Dumbbell Lunge

Your benefit: Hold a weight on just one side of your body.  This increases the demand placed on your core to keep your body stable. The plus: Your hips and abs will have to work harder and you’ll improve your balance. And the best part – you’ll burn tons of calories.

How to perform it: Hold a dumbbell/weight in your right hand next to your shoulder with your arm bent. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee nearly touches the floor.

Push yourself back to the starting position. Try and do at least 10 reps. Then repeat with your left leg.

These workout routines are a great way to really challenge your body and throw some variety into your workouts.  So there are three body parts to get you started.  Next week we will focus on hamstrings, calves and chest.  You’re gonna love these workout routines so stay in touch.

Note that if you can’t  afford dumbbells for now, you can improvise by sand filling  different sizes of empty bottles ( empty Eva plastic water bottles), fill them with dry beach sands, and use them as weights.  Body Confidence™ will help you reach your desired goal in health, fitness and wellness.