Tip #3 & Tip # 4 Its not rocket science cover image

Get Off the Hamster Wheel Tip #3 and #4

Yeah, the title is different, it was just too long to type out and this one is catchier, no?

So, how did the week go?  If you haven’t read last week, go read the last two weeks first, then come back here.

Tip #1: Stop Being In A Hurry, Drink Water
Tip #2: Turn Off the TV, Put the Book Down

Were you more successful than not? Did you fail more than succeed?

Was it difficult or was it easier than you thought to eat without distraction?

What were your experiences with it?

I confess the past few weeks have been better than the last week. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the school year and there’s so much to do I feel rushed and don’t want to slow down to eat. Maybe it’s because I’m avoiding something, I don’t know, but eating undistracted this week was tough for me and I confess I didn’t do it as often as the past couple weeks.


This week’s tip builds on the other two, you are adding one new habit at a time. If you are not ready to proceed down the path of adding a new habit that’s fine, remember, THERE IS NO HURRY. Do this when you’re ready and feel like you have the other two really down to a habit.  In fact, maybe that’s my problem, I haven’t made the other two habit yet.

Today you’re getting two tips in one because they compliment each other.  I found that when I focused my mind on these two thoughts, it was easier to do together.

Tip #3

Focus on eating more whole foods.


Sounds simplistic doesn’t it? But really, when you start replacing processed things with whole foods, when you start thinking “have I had fruit today? Have I had vegetables today? Do I have some meat I could eat instead?”  You start changing the way you think about structuring your meal. You look around your cupboard, fridge or freezer and start looking for things without labels to make your meals.


I have some people who will disagree with me about this, but the simple truth is this: all diets do one thing, they trick you into eating fewer calories than you need. This is how you lose fat. Period.

I don’t care what supplements you take, who’s promoting it or how many times you eat in a day, whatever diet you choose, they all trick you into eating fewer calories. Eating whole foods does the same thing.  A granola bar is typically 140-210 calories with a lot of sugar, additives, preservatives and almost no nutritional value.

1 gram of fiber doesn’t cut it.  An apple, has (depending on size) about 90 calories, fiber, nutrients, vitamins and oh yeah, water. 🙂  It will make you more full than that granola bar.

A friend I was telling this too didn’t understand what whole foods really were. She said she understood and then said “what about breaded chicken tenders? Raisins? etc.”

assorted food source of protein

Remember, I’m not telling you what to eat, I’m telling you to FOCUS on whole foods.
A whole food is a food that doesn’t come with extra ingredients.  Chicken, apples, pineapple, lettuce, broccoli, oil, nuts, etc. all contain one ingredient.

A raisin is technically a whole food but because it’s dried it’s lost the water content and therefore won’t make you as full, it’s also laden with more sugar.  It comes in a box.  Eat it if you want, but to make things simple, think about things this way:

Fruits, vegetables and meats should come from the outside edges of the store, not the inner shelves. If it is shelf stable, or if it’s got more than a couple ingredients it’s not a whole food.  Cheese? Milk and salt = whole food.  Breaded chicken tenders? wheat flour, chicken, added vitamins, soy, salt, things I can’t pronounce = not a whole food. Bread? again, look at the ingredients, while not “bad”, technically not a whole food. The point here is that you’re not eliminating things that aren’t whole foods, but you ARE basing your meals AROUND them.

Speaking of fruits and vegetables, tip #4 helps you achieve tip #3:

Tip #4

Eat a piece of fruit every day and have vegetables with every meal

vegetable section in a supermarket

This is something we know we should be doing. It isn’t rocket science, but because it isn’t hard, we don’t do it either, just like drinking more water.  I was reading Dr. Mike Roussell’s Book The 6 Pillars of Nutrition and while I don’t agree with some of it (mostly the eating multiple times a day, which Martin Berkhan, among others, has disproven – and on  a personal note while I don’t necessarily do Intermittent Fasting, I do tend to eat my first meal sometime between 10 AM-1PM, which helps immensely with my schedule being what it is, to focus on eating my foods later in the day when I can enjoy them. I also have to take medicine first thing in the morning and cant’ have anything in my stomach for an hour afterwards, so this works REALLY well for me.  I also believe that sticking to eating multiple meals in one day can lead to obsessive behavior and rigid thinking, which can also lead to more bad habits including compensatory behavior and eating disorders (I know all this from personal experience) which is exactly what I am NOT talking about in these posts, we are focusing on behaviors, lifestyle, not rules)

but I digress…

One thing that stuck out to me was this tip: have a piece of fruit every day and vegetables with every meal.  I mean, it sounds so simple, right?

But what really happens is we say to ourselves we’ll do it, but we focus on eating dessert instead, and then we aren’t hungry anymore or we’re stuffed, or we substitute a granola bar, candy bar, chips or whatever happens to be lying around instead.

Fruit is cheap, I bought a 5 lb. bag of apples the other day at Kroger for $3 and it was April, not apple season. Pineapples were 10 for $10, you can’t tell me fruit is too expensive.

Same thing with vegetables. Most grocery stores (especially Winn-Dixie and Kroger) will mark down produce when it gets close to expiration, you can grab major deals this way.  I have walked out of the store with 10 bags of FREE salad before, because when they mark the
bags of salad down and you pair it with a coupon, the bag ends up free,
or really really cheap.
So to break it down, this is where we are so far:

  1. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day, preferably 4 liters
  2. Eat your meals without distraction
  3. Focus on eating whole foods when it’s time to eat.
  4. Have at least one piece of fruit a day and vegetables at every meal

Notice, I did NOT say: you can ONLY eat whole foods, by all means, eat what you like, but if you are focusing on eating those whole foods first, you might find that you don’t want as much and you may or may not want whatever else you initially wanted.

AKA: You want a slice of pizza. Ok, but you know it’s not very “whole” and you have to have veggies. It’s also the last meal of the day and you haven’t had fruit yet. So, you make a salad, top it with some strawberries and walnuts, drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar (everything listed was a whole food) and then eat your pizza. You probably won’t eat 4 slices, maybe just 1-2, point being, you’ll want less, and because you’re eating undistracted you’ll be able to pick up your fullness cues that much faster.
I’ve probably ticked some of you off, and if so, ask yourself, why?  We’ll get to more of that next week.  In the meantime, love to hear your thoughts, post in the comments below!

If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order. Start here:

The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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