Now that the warmer weather is here and barbecue season is in full swing, the thought of staying slim in that cute maxi or donning your killer new two-piece in public might give you the night sweats — especially if you’ve been skipping the workouts. Luckily eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up on pleasure. Here’s how:
1. Don’t eat your feelings…
According to Dr. Oz, people continue to overeat as they’re desperately seeking control, and the only thing they can control is the fork and knife in their hands. “They’re filling a void, a darkness that a lot of people feel that’s leaving them unfulfilled with a sense of isolation,” he explains. Thankfully, even the smallest changes, like checking your mood before you scarf down that box of double-fudge Oreos or tip the remnants of a bag of chips into your mouth, put your on the right path to eating redemption. “There’s something [small changes] people can jump start the process with,” Dr. Oz adds. “And then we go on about how you will spend the rest of your life being the person you can be if you just adjust some things that are relatively easy to do, but need to be done.”
2. …but find joy in your eating
Just because you shouldn’t eat your feelings doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your food. Not a fan of kale chips? Perhaps roasted chick peas are your thing. If you can’t go to sleep without a cold glass of milk at night, make sure it’s two per cent, and not the skim variety. “If you take fat out of milk, what’s left?” Dr. Oz poses. “The sugar. Eating doesn’t have to be joyless; quite the opposite. If you eat well you will be skinny. That’s why in instances being fat is a social economic issue. If you could afford to buy food that’s rich in nutrients — that’s what some think anyway — you wouldn’t be heavy.” Feeling slightly handcuffed with your budget this month? Visit your local farmer’s market with a friend and divvy up your finds, or head over to the frozen food section of your grocery store. Most frozen vegetables are harvested on site, and are less likely to be wasted if you find your dinner plans changing at the last minute.
3. Stay away from fake food porn
Dr. Oz is well aware of the food porn trend — his daughter Daphne is all about it on her daytime talk show The Chew. But while frequently over-indulging in meals inspired by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives will definitely tip the bathroom scales against your favour, there’s nothing wrong in indulging once in a while — so long as it’s real food. “What makes North Americans fat is not the bacon, it’s the bacon bits,” Dr. Oz clarifies. “It’s the processed foods that are rich in calories but not rich in nutrients. Eat meat, so long as it’s organic or real meat — not processed salami or that junk people throw in there, and not fried.”
4. Use the grocery store as a super-food pharmacy
We’ve all heard about the benefits of sticking to the periphery of a grocery store, but Dr. Oz reminds us that every shopping trip should be viewed like a trip to the pharmacy. “There are powerful nutrients available to us that we sometimes ignore,” he says. Those include the nutrients found in many “super foods,” such as kale, quinoa and soy. Dr. Oz would add teff, an ancient grain, into that group, along with chia, oily fish that doesn’t always tend to be super popular “like the sardines of the world” and any vegetables that just happen to catch your eye that day. “There are all kinds of new fruits and vegetables that get brought out here and there,” he adds, noting that his last trip to the grocery inspired him to experiment with some black and purple potatoes. “That’s not only how you stay thin, but that’s how you live a long time with the vitality that you want.”
5. Don’t adulterate your food
Food fads come and go, but based on the many menu revamps and increased cases of celiac disease in North America, gluten-free seems to be here to stay. According to Dr. Oz, it’s okay to cut out the grain bread since “all breads have a potential risk” in terms of the general fogginess that comes over people when they eat it, but don’t swap out one loaf for another just because it’s labelled gluten-free. “When you adulterate food you have to almost always make it less valuable than it used to be,” he says. “People take foods into their life because they figure it must be better for them. They think the wheat is making them fat. It’s true the wheat is making them fat, but it’s not the gluten — it’s the other things in there. If you do decide to go gluten-free, Dr. Oz suggests sticking to legumes, fruits and vegetables and ancient grains that are naturally free of gluten like quinoa and teff. He also advises to stay away from any aisles billed as gluten-free. “You will gain weight eating that food,” he warns.
6. Police your organic products
Dr. Oz reveals that eating organic does make a huge difference in terms of your general health, but buying an organic label is not a guarantee. Many toxins get into the food supply, especially products coming from overseas, and they aren’t being checked or regulated by the government. “This is true for Canada and the U.S.,” Dr. Oz says. “It’s just impossible to keep up with all these foreign products.”His recommendation? Do your research when it comes to specific brands, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to the companies that are letting their standards slide.