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Habit 4: Size Does Matter

Posted Feb 07 2010 9:37am
Habit 4: Size Does Matter 

It's mid January in Canada and that means the weather, even when it's nice is kind of sucky, and that despite all your best efforts to be healthy and make yourself feel better and create giant, enviable bowel movements you might in fact be ignoring everything you've read, and eating bags of Doritos, hanging your laundry on your treadmill, and drinking boose instead of water...

I know I don't like cold weather much either but it's not too late to turn things around.  Everyday is a new day to start out fresh.  I know I sound like one of those annoying self help 'new day' kumbaya sellers when I say that. However, each day is new, so if you want to start today, there is nothing stopping you except the decision to do it, and will power. Just to note I will never have a rainbow or unicorn graphic on this blog.

Lindsay Lohan didn't go down the hole in one day, it took months of wearing bathing suits to shop, twitter hell, and over drinking, and who knows what else to get her there.

So grab your water bottle and and let's get started.

Habit 4: Size Does Matter
It's not what you think. Firstly it's not about penises although yes in fact how big you are in that department does matter, despite what really nice people might say, but i'll digress because what i'm talking about is  portion size, something you do have control over.

Hmm. interesting. Why would I be talking about portion size in regards to healthy digestion and a healthy bowel? Well as it turns out most of us eat too much.

I See Too Much On That Plate: 
There's two issues with eating too much. The first is that it overloads your body, which i'll discuss in a minute. But first there is a direct correlation for most people between how they look and how they feel. Plastic surgery is booming because surprise, surprise looking good makes you feel good.

I Had Mum Bum:
Many, many moons ago (about 2 years in mom years) and about 7 years ago in real time, I realized that I was close to looking like a typical mom. I'm not going to sugar coat this, the average size in the U.S is 12-14, that's pretty big and the truth of the matter was I didn't like how I looked when I was heavier. I felt like a giant wildebeest and about as sexy as a inflatable balloon.

Bring Sexy Back
One of the first things I ask my clients is how  Sexy  they feel.   Why? 
it could be because I'm a noisy voyeur, but mostly it's because how sexy you feel directly reflects your level of health and confidence. If you feel truly sexy at a bigger size, then you're probably pretty healthy. If you don't, then you're not.   We're supposed to have healthy sex drives, regulated by hormones and if we're not eating  the right stuff often the right levels of hormones are not produced. 

A perfect example of this is  PMS,  often a woman will have too much estrogen and that will induce PMS symptoms. Interestingly enough, one of the best ways to clear estrogen from the body is by eating enough fiber, same with cholesterol. Hmm, this feeding your bowel thing begins to make sense.

Fiber and your bowel sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. True love.

Now yes i know some people have eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorder and loads of other issues but for most people, having a strong, fit body makes them feel good. So beautiful on the inside can be fantastic, but tell that to a 14 year old girl who is 50 pounds overweight with acne. It ain't going to fly. 

Body Over Load:
When you eat too much your body can't deal with it the way it's supposed to. More to the point if you're body is constantly digesting food it doesn't have the bandwidth to deal with all the other functions it's supposed to do, as well as it's supposed to do it. Your body was designed to absorb nutrients and get what it needs from the food and then get rid of the waste. If you're eating too much you're overloading your system, and if you're eating the wrong things, when you're eating too much then, you're giving your liver a heck of a lot of work to do.

A Rock Star Liver
Your liver is a Rock Star, following the heart. So your heart is Jayz and your liver is Beyonce, together they make a hot team. The liver is very important in keeping you healthy, fit and feeling good. 

The liver is the  single mother of the body, she does pretty much everything for everybody and then still does more, and gets no thanks. The liver performs a huge amount jobs,  hundreds actually, many of them are involved in digestion, such as creating bile, it is also the body's major metabolic organ, and the hepatic portal vein directs nutrient rich blood directly from the digestion area of the body right to the liver, so that it gets its nutrients first. It's so important it demands VIP service. The liver has many other jobs like detoxifying chemicals, alcohol, drugs and degrading of hormones. It also makes cholesterol (yes most of it is good and keep cells strong), blood proteins, and maintains blood glucose levels to name a few.

Feed Your Body Not Your Cravings
I know that you're thinking that when you eat something you're feeding your cravings, it's an emotional or intellectual decision, or you're simply providing your body with  energy  - but in truth you're feeding your  tissue systems their specific and much needed fuels, ideally, if you feed your bowel, heart and liver what they want, they'll be able to do their jobs well, and have the resources to do it.

Your Body Deserves A Renovation: 
If you were building a house and all you had was tooth picks the house probably wouldn't hold a roof and eventually would fall down. You want your house (and your body) to be built with the best possible resources possible. The right food and the right amounts. Cheez Whiz isn't going to keep your walls up, and sugar doesn't make a good choice for a foundation. It really is about the quality of the food you're putting in your mouth, not just the quantity.

But i'm not going to make you change your diet.....  yet..... let's get the portions right first.

Giving something Up:
You know it's going to happen, next week  habit 5  I'm going to ask you to eliminate a food for a week. Yep I know. Saying no to something can be tough but this week is all about keeping the portions right, so you don't have to give anything up yet, just make sure you're eating the 'right' amount. But start to get ready mentally because well the truth is unlike an infomercial I'm not going to tell you that you can be healthy and lose weight by doing nothing. Doing nothing gets you nowhere.  Making the right food choices and adding some movement to your daily life, can move you into a totally different health zone.

So why do portions matter?

Most North Americans eat like they are about to fast for 20 days, or like they might be giants.  If you are a giant you don't need to eat the portions listed below, if however you are a normal person, best to keep in the portion size.
If you follow correct portions you will feel and look better. If you realize what's good for you and eat more of those foods you'll feel and look a lot better. It's way easier than counting calories i think counting calories is stupid. I think eating is about choosing good nutrient dense food as opposed to counting anything.  These portion size are a good way to start to understand what amount of fuel the body needs as opposed to what you want to eat.  Food sizes have increased silently and now a 'normal' bagel has the caloric energy of 5 pieces of bread. Without realizing it you're eating 2-3 portions of pasta instead of the normal 1/2 portion. If you eat more energy than you use you will gain weight. Being over weight is one of the highest indicator of developing disease. The good news is that if you follow these portion sizes you'll be able to maintain a healthy weight and give your body enough energy to do everything it needs to do.  The bad news is if you go to a gossip site right now and ignore the rest of the blog you may have bad dreams about giants eating your car. I made that up. But the point is read on....

Ass Backwards Diet Portion Basics: 

Food                                                Portion                        Visual Cue
Grains, pasta, rice quinoa            ½ cup                             hockey puck or one slice of bread, ½ bagel 

Meat                                                3 ounces                        a deck of cards
Greens                                     1 cup or more                        Baseball
Fruit                                                1 piece of fruit                tennis ball
Protein Dairy/Cheese                        1/3 cup, 1 ounce           3-4 dice
Fats butter, mayonnaise                 2 tsp                                    2 dice
Vegetables                                        1 cup                              size of fist, baseball

These are some of the basic ones; for healthy fats you'd be looking at nuts being a  very small handful, and olive oil - 2 tablespoons. I always tell clients to go all out in the green leafy vegetable segment, because really you can eat as much of these as you want, unless you are on blood thinners, as many green leafy vegetables have vitamin K. 

Rules of Thumb for Perfect Portions:
In the beginning the portions may seem small, but remember vegetables and fruits are a great way to add lots of fiber and phytonutrients to your diet. If you're eating fibrous natural food you will naturally feel more full. The Apple Rule - If you feel like eating something  so called 'bad' then before you cram it down your throat. Think 'would I eat an apple or a banana right now?' If your answer is yes, then you are hungry. So put the cookie down. Seriously just put it down and eat an apple. If you only want the 'bad' food you're emotional eating and not really hungry. This is not about living a totally regimented lifestyle where everything has to fit in a slot. No. This is about sticking to your portion guns most of the time and then having some break the pie portion rules once in a while because, heck we all get menstrual, or moody, or angry and need a 'baddie' snack. Ideally I would love for you to not eat for 12 hours each evening. I know if you're getting home from the office and then dealing with kids, then work then chores you may not eat until 11 but the truth is it's great if you give your body a break, and let it and your liver do it's job with out having to break down food all night long....your liver unfortunately is never going to get a European vacation or even a day at the spa, so unless you want it to go on strike at some point, think about the future and treat it well.  Okay that's enough health for one sitting. I mean really how much can one person take.
So just to reiterate:
Here's where we are now:
Habit 1: Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. Start with one glass of warm water with lemon. Bo ya! 
Habit 2: Eat a minimum of 30 grams of fiber a day. Yum yum yum for your bum.
Habit 3: Shake that Ass - move for at least 20 minutes each day. We were made to move.
Habit 4: Watch your portions: If it weighs more than your head you probably shouldn't eat it.
knick knack patty whack give a dog a bone.
That's it for this week.
Now get up and do something for 20 minutes. Has your friend called you to make sure you have?
Have a happy Ass day!
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