Every morning I eat breakfast, but an hour later I’m already starving. Why?

By Ashley McIntosh

First I want to say that this scenario is extremely common.  I would say that the majority of my nutrition clients come to me with this exact issue.  And I understand why – eating a breakfast of organic cereal, skim milk, and blueberries seems like the “perfect” healthy breakfast straight out of all the diet books and magazines. 

But often this meal leaves us with a blood sugar spike – a fast rise in blood sugar that falls quickly and leaves us feeling hungry soon after.  This situation is the common paradox that occurs when we try to eat healthy: FIRST we change our breakfast to one with “healthier” ingredients.  BUT because these “healthier” ingredients are missing some important components, we feel unsatisfied soon after eating.   THEN we end up eating more than usual.  And EVENTUALLY we feel guilty for being “a person with a big appetite”.  How does this happen?  Let’s take a closer look at the breakfast…

Organic Whole Grain Cereal = A complex carbohydrate with fiber – often has added sugar (cane sugar is just another name for sugar) which is a simple carbohydrate.

Skim Milk = A simple carbohydrate with the fat removed.

Blueberries = A simple carbohydrate (with an abundance of antioxidants).

What we have here are a lot of carbohydrates.  Energy-providing and essential to the functioning of the body, carbohydrates are made of sugar.  When sugar enters the body it eventually reaches the blood stream thereby causing a rise in blood sugar.  Now a rise in blood sugar is not a bad thing – it is what gives energy to the body.  It is when blood sugar rises too fast that is becomes a problem.  Refined sugars, such as white sugar and brown sugar, cause the biggest spike.  Simple sugars, such as those in honey and fruit, are next on the list, and complex carbs, such as whole grains, are last because their linked sugars take time to break down. 

What can you do to slow down the rise of blood sugar?  How can you feel satisfied for longer after a meal?  Three words: fiber, fat, and protein.  These three magic nutrients are the answer.  Let’s take a closer look at the breakfast and see what can be done to add these three so it lasts longer…

Organic Whole Grain Cereal:
– Contains fiber so will help
– Some have sugar added so look for cereals that do not have “cane sugar”, “cane juice”, “organic cane sugar”
– OR cook your own hot cereal using whole grains such as oats, amaranth, or millet (have a lot of fiber and are not refined or processed)
– Or consider eating eggs when you really need your meal to last (contain fat and protein)

Skim Milk:
– Made of simple sugars with the fat removed
– An excellent alternative is a plain, whole fat (as nature intended), non-homogenized yogurt  – the fat will help slow down the release of the simple sugars AND the yogurt will provide probiotics to help your digestion

– A fantastic source of antioxidants and fiber
– I wouldn’t change a thing here BUT I would consider adding one of the following ingredients to help the meal be even more satisfying:
– Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans
– Flax, hemp or pumpkin seeds
– Coconut flakes

Do not be afraid of adding fat, protein and fiber to your diet.  In the end, if you listen to your body’s hunger signals and eat when you’re hungry and finish when you’re satisfied, you will end up eating less – and enjoy the process much more along the way!

How can I start to like my body?

By Ashley McIntosh

I work with clients of all shapes and sizes – from extremely thin to overweight, and everything in between.  And the interesting this is, when they start working with me they all have the belief: “When I am thin, then I’ll be happy.”    It is so disappointing to an individual, when they actually get thin and realize they are still not happy.  Take this as a lesson. 

A first step to begin liking your body involves a change in perception from a negative focus on your body toward a positive focus on what truly makes you happy – on what makes your heart sing. 

For example, let’s say you have a morning ritual of watching beautiful celebrities on tv while you get ready and then scrutinizing your body in the mirror for 5 minutes before you shower.  What if you were to play inspiring music instead – and then get right into a warm shower, pamper yourself with beautiful smelling soaps, and sing? 

Take a good look at  your body image habits.  Ask yourself if they have a positive or negative effect on your body image?  Do everything you can to get rid of the habits that have a negative effect.  Then replace them with the habits that make you feel good.

Why is it so difficult for me to stop eating after dinner?

By Ashley McIntosh

Our days are so full of things to do.  When we are running from one thing to another, it is easy to keep focused and avoid our emotions from surfacing.  Night time, however, is often our down time.  It is the time to rest our bodies and minds from the busy day. 

Unfortunately, we are often not comfortable with such down time.  We tend to get addicted to the busy-ness of the day, and in the evening our minds find it difficult to calm down.  Without the mind occupied, emotions that we often don’t give ourselves the time to feel, have an opportunity to bubble up.  Because these emotions can be uncomfortable or frightening to feel, we will search for things to keep us occupied (when we are occupied the emotions can then return to the underworld where they will not be felt).  Often it is food that we find to replace our to do lists and help us feel busy enough to forget about our feelings.

As we learn to acquaint ourselves with our emotions throughout the day, then they are no longer scary for us to face in the evening.  So we can then feel comfortable with the silence, and can truly rest – without food as our entertainment.  Evening can also be a great time to spend doing something creative, communicating with friends, or reading a good book.  When our evenings fulfill us, often the urge to eat loses its power.

Why do I start exercising only to quit 3 weeks later?

By Ashley McIntosh

This question is such a common one.  Here are four mistakes you may be making:

1) You choose a type of exercise that you do not like doing. 
So often we equate exercise with the gym.  “I guess I better get a gym pass”, we say to ourselves.  But the gym is one option out of many types of exercise.  I ask you: what might you like to do?  What did you like to do as a child?  Make a list of the many options that are available to you.  Then pick one, and try it out.  If it doesn’t work, then it is not your fault.  Just pick another and try again. 

2) You exercise too much, too soon.
If you immediately start running for 45 minutes three times a week when the only exercise you did previously was walk to your car then it is going to be too much for your body to handle.  It is much better to start adding movement to your life gradually so that it feels good.  If it feels good then you will keep doing it – nothing is more important than that. 

3) You decide to start a diet at the same time. 
Simply put: anyone who is not eating enough calories is going to be tired – so when they go to exercise, the experience will be utterly painful – they simply will not have enough energy to even begin to enjoy exercising.  We want exercise to feel good.   And when we eat, we have energy – and that feels good. 

4) You give up before the one month mark.
Do you remember the last time you started a new job?  The first month is never fun.  Everything you do seems awkward.  You don’t know where anything is.  You don’t know any of your co-workers.  You have to work hard to figure everything out.  But then gradually over time you seem to get the hang of it.  As you start to feel competent and things seem more familiar, you may even begin to enjoy it.  It is the same with exercise – it is always uncomfortable at the beginning.  Give yourself some time with it, and you may even start to like it.

Why can’t I stay on a diet?

By Ashley McIntosh

First of all it is very important to understand you are not alone.  Diets are designed to fail.  In fact, 90% of all dieters gain the weight back within 5 years.  If this is so, why are we spending 32 billion dollars a year on dieting products and services?  We are given the false idea that using willpower and gathering more information about calories and fat grams is the answer to losing weight.  In truth, it is not. 

The reason why diets don’t work is that they are written by someone else.  They are someone else’s rules about the perfect diet.  I say, write your own story.  Everyone’s body is different and needs a different amount and type of food.  The only way to correctly determine what is the right amount and type of food for you is to listen to your own body. 

Stop counting calories!  Instead, if you learn to eat according to your own hunger signals then you will be eating the proper amount of food for your body to function.  And gradually your weight will normalize.  No deprivation.  No calories.  No fat grams.  Just you enjoying your food and living your life!

Get strong. Get inspired. Get vital. Get living.