Welcome to Day 10!
You've been promoted to Lieutenant, and you're on the final countdown to blasting off and leaving Earth. We’re on our way to our training camp on the Moon.
Last week we turned the spotlight on the sub-conscious Assistant part of the brain to see what she was eating by meal logging. This week we are going to start changing what she eats.
I'm going to be answering the question, "What should I eat to lose weight?" this week. In coming weeks, I'll also answer the questions, "How much should I eat?" and "How should I eat it?"
Because we're putting the hard work of losing weight on the Assistant sub-conscious part of the brain, we have to make the "What to Eat to Lose Weight" system at RHH so simple that the Assistant can do it. That means no counting calories, counting points, or counting macros. Those things all take attention from the Boss part of the brain. You can't do math on auto-pilot. So we will be using a plate template system instead.
Using a plate system is simple for the Assistant to do. You always have a plate at every meal. You can use the plate system on holidays, vacations, at work, and when you eat out. You don't need anything special--no food scales or measuring cups. Nothing awkward. Just a plate.
It's a visual based system where you divide your food into different proportions. Most people usually have vegetables, protein, and carb sides at their meal. We're just changing up the proportions.
In the future, you may want to change the quality of the vegetables, protein, or the carbs that you eat. But, for right now, I just want you to focus on changing the proportions of the foods you normally eat.
What's so great about the plate system? It helps you to eat less, feel full, and lose weight just by changing the proportions of what is (probably) already on your plate.
The Assistant doesn't like to be hungry, so we're going to keep her satisfied with lots of protein and fiber.
And we'll turn down the cravings that she gets for carbs by making them the last thing we eat in our meal. Eventually, we'll work on changing out the carbs we eat for less crave-able ones. Check out this blog post if you want more info.
Next week we'll talk about how to do breakfast, snacks, and beverages. This week we'll just be focusing on lunch and/ or dinner.
Today's mission is to look back over your meals from last week . Compare your plates to the Healthy Plate meal template.
You’ll work with your coach to go step-by-step to change your meals in a personalized fashion. Don't feel like you have to do it all at once.
But, now its time to be a scientist. Notice when your meals in your meal log look similar to the plate, and when it looks very different. Start thinking of ideas of how you could make your lunch and dinner look more like the Healthy Plate more often.
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Your brain & what to eat
So, you've been logging your meals.
Now we're going to talk about what to actually put on your plate.
A lot of diets make this super complicated. You have to use higher math just to figure out how many macros, how many calories, or how many points to eat.
Now that's all work that The Boss (part of your brain) has to do. And it's hard to keep up with that. Your brain gets distracted when it's busy (and doesn’t want to do that work.)
The Assistant Needs to Be in Charge
So, we want to move the work of what to eat and how much to eat to The Assistant (part of your brain)— the habit part of the brain.
Now she's really fast, but she doesn't like math. So you need to keep how you eat simple.
We're going to use a visual meal template. What that means is we're just going to use proportions on our plate to help our brain know what to eat and to make it simple.
The reason we use this visual method is it gives us the all the things we need to lose weight:
It helps us cut down on calories.
It helps us get our macronutrients closer to what they should be—less carbs and more protein.
It helps us to get more of the healthy stuff—fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
It helps us to cut down on low-quality, inflammatory processed foods.
But, the coolest thing of all is it's super simple.
Divide Your Plate
So the first thing we're gonna do is we're going to take our plate and we're going to divide it into different portions. Kind of like if you're cutting a pizza or cutting a pie,—we're going to cut it into fourths.
Plate for the Whole Family
Now I like to use use this version—the Quarter Plate—meal template for people who are already at their perfect weight, for people who don't have a lot of weight to lose, or for kids.
This is a great thing to teach the whole family—not just people who want to lose weight.
So, use the Quarter Plate for the whole family.
Plate for Weight Loss
For people that want to lose weight or get healthy, we're going to do things a bit differently.
For the Healthy Plate, we're going to divide it into a top half and then quarters at the bottom of the plate.
Half Plate Vegetables
So, the half portion up at the top of the plate—that’s going to be vegetables.
The cool thing about the Healthy Plate is that most people already have these foods on their plate. We just need to work on the proportions of them that we eat.
So, most people have some vegetables on their plate. We're just going to work on getting half-plate vegetables.
The reason we want half-plate vegetables is:
High Fiber—Vegetables are high in fiber, so they fill us up. We're going to finally feel full.
Low Calorie—The other thing is they're lower in calories, so we're going to feel full, but we're going to get less calories which will help us to lose weight.
Antioxidants—The third thing is this is where all the antioxidants are. Antioxidants are like little paramedics that go around your blood and fix things. They fix all those little cellular problems. So as we age, if we have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol, we get little cellular “dings” in our body. The paramedics, those antioxidants, go around and fix them. I don't know about you but that seems pretty good to me!
We want to get half plate vegetables. Getting a variety of different colored vegetables is helpful. But for now, we're not going to worry so much about that. We'll do that later, but right now we want to eat half-plate vegetables.
Starchy Vegetables are carbs
There is an important difference between non-starchy and starchy vegetables. There are only a few starchy vegetables, but unfortunately they’re everybody's favorite (and you don’t get 1/2 plate of them.)
So non-starchy vegetables are going to be:
Winter squash (butternut squash and acorn squash)
Beans (kidney beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas)
Unfortunately, those starchy vegetables are actually going to go in the carbohydrate section of our plate.
So we're looking for non-starchy vegetables for that half plate at the top.
Then, the next quarter section of the plate that we're going to go to is protein. We want a quarter of our plate to be protein.
This is going to be meat, poultry, Greek yogurt, and fish. You get the picture.
Look at the palm of your hand, and that's about the size of the portion that they'll get.
Now you can always have more protein. And the reasons we want to have protein on our plates when we're losing weight are:
Protein helps you to lose fat rather than muscle.
The other thing that protein does is that it helps you to feel full. Protein, is one of those things like vegetables and fiber, that just make you feel full.
So again, we're not going hungry here. Hunger is not a good weight loss method.
Quarter plate protein can be a good starting point. If you're still hungry, add more protein.
Another amazing thing about protein is that our body has to work harder to digest it. That means that about 20% of the calories in protein foods are used by our body to digest them. So, your body spends more calories to digest protein than it does carbohydrates or fat.
Can I Have More?
Now the vegetables—half the plate is a minimum. You can have more than that.
Same thing with protein—the quarter of the plate is a minimum. You can have more than that if you're still hungry.
But the last quarter of the plate—the carbohydrates—that's going to be a maximum. We don't want to go over that quarter of the plate in carbohydrates.
Plate Order Matters
The order that you eat your food matters. By starting with your vegetables and then eating your protein, you’ll be mostly full by the time you get to your carbohydrates. The thing about carbohydrates is that they don't make you full—you just want more and more. So, eating your plate in this order (veggies, protein, and then carbs) can help you eat less calories and keep your blood sugar lower.
The last quarter of your plate is going to be your carbohydrates and starchy foods. Carbohydrates activate the reward centers of your brain, so you're going to want more and more of them. For most people, they're the best part of the meal—and they've been eating too many of them.
So by starting with your vegetables, then eating your protein, and then finishing with your carbs, you're mostly full by the time you get there.
I like to use the example of when I order pizza for my family. If I start with a salad that has got some protein on it, then I eat a piece of pizza. I'll just have one slice.
If I don't have a salad, I'm going to have 2 or 3 pieces. So, we want to get mostly full by the time we get to our carbohydrates.
What are the Carbs?
Now, what are the carbohydrates?
Starchy Vegetables—This is the section that we already talked about that's going to have things like those starchy vegetables we talked about. The potato, the sweet potato, the beans, the peas, the winter squash—they're going to be there.
Grains—And then also anything with grains in them. They're going to be there (in the carb section) too. That would be foods like oatmeal, bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, cereal, quinoa, or anything like that. Thast will be there.
Fruit—And then the other thing that we'll be there, we'll also be fruit. Fruit is a carbohydrate. It's going to be there in that quarter section.
Pick Your Favorite Carb
Now, at most American meals, we tend to have several carbs or starches at our meals.
So, choose your very favorite.
For instance, I had a client one time who told me that he was going to have ribs for dinner.
So, I asked him, “Well, what are you going to have with your ribs?”
And he said, “Well, I usually have potatoes, I have a roll, and I have some corn.”
Now here's the problem. All those sides are starches.
So I said, “Okay, pick your very favorite.”
And he said, “Well, it wouldn't be ribs if I didn't have that baked potato.”
So I said, “Great, have the baked potato. But,you can't have a baked potato is big as your head. You're going to have to cut that potato so it fits in that quarter of the plate. “
That's how we're going to set up your plate. We're going to start with your vegetables, then go to a quarter of the plate protein, and then finish with the quarter of the plate carbohydrates.
This is going to help you feel full. It's going to help you lose weight, and it's going to help you to get all those important macronutrients, (like) the protein, and the fiber, and the antioxidants that you need.
And, it's going to be so simple because all you have to do is look at the proportions on the plate.
So for today, your assignment is going to be to go back and look at the meals in your meal logger (in the app).
Look at those photos and see where you're able to get those plate proportions—where you're pretty close and where you're off.
And, just kind of get a feel for what kind of proportions you’re at when it comes to your meals.
Now this plate template works very well for lunch and dinner. We might have to change it up a little bit for breakfast, and we'll talk about that next week.
So, today I want you to focus on lunch and dinner. Go back over the meals that you've already had over the last week in your meal logger, and just look at what kind of plate proportions you have.
When you meet with your coach, you will make a new Plate habit together.