Main thing is to start making small changes. Adding super foods into your daily eating and slowly changing to just those foods over the course of time. Make 2-3 changes to your diet per week. Changing everything at once can be very overwhelming and there is a greater chance you will go back to old habits.

Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible, preferably not eating them at all! Just remember that every time you eat, be it a snack, a quick bite on the run, or a sit down dinner, it is an opportunity to include Superfoods into your diet. The more you choose to eat from the list of Superfoods, the more you are ultimately choosing to support your goals of health, strength and performance, fat loss and a leaner appearance. The list below is by no means the only foods that fall into this category of Superfoods, but the list is a great starting point and reference for you when you are at the grocery store.

Sticking with this requires a bit of focus and awareness. Every time you eat you need to be asking yourself “where are the Superfoods in this meal?” Think about ways that you can include them in your meals and snacks. Including them means that they should be present – ideally a few in each meal, but it does not mean that you can only eat the foods listed below. Do the best you can to squeeze as many Superfoods into each meal as possible.

#1 Clean Up Your Macros

Protein – lean red meat, salmon, cod, halibut, haddock, omega 3 eggs, low fat – plain greek yogurt, black beans, kidney beans, low fat cottage cheese (lactose free if you can find it), chicken breast, turkey breast, protein supplements (whey protein isolates, or Vegan protein) – very important to buy grass fed and free range (no hormones or antibiotics)

Veggies and Fruits – spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, berries, lettuce, bananas (best post workout), apples, cucumbers, kale, collards, green beans, celery, mango, lemons, micro-greens

Carbs – beans (rinse and soak for 12-24 hours), quinoa, whole or steel cut oats, sweet potato, brown rice (rinse and soak for 1 hour), Good Fats – mixed nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, flax seeds (ground), coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil (cook with avocado oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil and use olive oil for salads)

Drinks – green tea, lots of water!!! Get creative with your water. Add mint, cucumber, lemon and berries

Herbs and spices – cilantro, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, cumin, garlic, ginger, pink himalayan sea salt, ground black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, stevia, chilli flakes, mustard seed. There are many more. Eating healthy does not mean you need to eat things plain! Use herbs and spices to make each meal smell, look and taste amazing!

#2 Eat 4 – 5 Times A Day

It is important to understand that most Superfoods have a low calorie density which means that you are going to have to eat them 4-5 times per day to meet your calorie needs, especially if you are following a regular exercise routine! So your challenge is to break out of the old habit of eating 3 times per day and move to eating Superfoods 4-5 times per day.

If your goal is weight loss you should be looking at eating Superfood based meals 4-5 times per day. Most people out there eat 3 times per day which experts believe is an inadequate way to feed the body. Eating Superfoods 4 or more times per day is one of the most important strategies for improving health and body composition. Regular eating intervals stimulates the metabolism, balances blood sugar and helps to maintain lean mass while giving the body a reason to burn off extra fat mass.

If your goal is to gain weight in the form of lean muscle, then you should aim to eat Superfood based meals between 6-8 times per day.

#3 Add Complete Lean Protein

Start adding complete lean proteins and making sure that you have these proteins on your plate along with the other superfoods. Our bodies rely on proteins and amino acids to produce important molecules – without enough protein in our diet our bodies can’t function well at all. Making sure you are getting lean protein with 2/3 of your meals per day can also help to control body fat. You don’t need to have protein with every meal and believe you can eat too much protein especially if it isn’t organic. If you eat a carb without protein make sure you add a healthy fat to get a stable insulin reaction. Lean protein does not just have to mean meat — there are plant based sources including but not limited to: tofu, black beans, kidney beans, low fat cottage cheese, low fat plain yogurt, omega 3 eggs, and protein supplements. Meat based complete lean protein includes, but is not limited to: lean red meat, salmon, turkey breasts, chicken breasts.

#4 Portion Sizes

I think that portion size awareness has become increasingly difficult for people in light of the massive quantities of foods now being served to people by the restaurant and hospitality industries

If you are a woman, the size of your complete lean protein portion should be the size and thickness of your palm. For guys, it should be two palms. Remember the palm does not include your fingers Do the best you can to approximate your servings of lean protein using your palms as measuring tools. It is a simple approach that in my opinion is far easier on many levels than counting calories. If you are eating a mix of the superfoods each day you know you are eating healthy. For me simple wins every time. Your portion size of veggies should be approximately 2 cupped hands together for both guys and girls and for starchy carbs (gluten free pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats etc) 1 handful. For fat it should be the size of your thumbnail if in liquid form. For avocado, ½ a medium sized avocado gives you a good amount of fats. Nuts should in moderation. It is easy to get carried away with nuts and nut butters because you don’t need a lot.

#5 Eat Fruits And Veggies

Veggies are packed with important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fibre that are essential for optimal physiological functioning.

Other benefits to including veggies and fruit to your meals include:

● Consuming proteins and grains is good for us, but it presents acid loads to our blood stream, so to balance that we should be eating alkaline-rich vegetables and fruit as often as possible. Too much acid and lack of alkalinity would result in loss of bone strength and lean muscles.

● Fruit and Veggies contain lots of water which helps you to stay hydrated. Very important!

● Because fruits and vegetables have a high water and fibre content, they’re low in calories relative to their overall volume. Eating a high consumption of low calorie density foods like fruits and veggies can help to control overall food intake and manage body weight while making you feel more full and satisfied.

● Studies suggest that consuming a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components (such as those found in fruits and vegetables) may lower age-related cognitive declines and the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease.

● A variety of scientific studies have shown that a diet rich in plants (including plenty of fruits and vegetables) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as other diseases. It is believed that by simply increasing the overall amount of fruits and veggies we eat we could prevent 20% or more of all cancer cases and avoid approximately 200,000 cancer-related deaths annually

● Most fruits and vegetables are low on the glycemic index and won’t significantly alter blood glucose and insulin levels. This can help with satiety and body composition.

● Diets with a foundation of fruits and vegetables tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and have higher levels of dietary fibre, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals.

If you think that you can shortcut your way to the vitamins contained in fruits and veggies by taking a multivitamin supplement instead – the unfortunate news is that you won’t be getting the same benefits.

With all of the tremendous benefits to including more fruits and veggies to your meals we should all be motivated now to include them at least 3 times each day (and more often if you can). Be prepared and it will be easier to be successful and reap all of the benefits from this challenge!

#6 Better Grains

For fat loss try and switch from eating things like bread, pasta, white rice, sugary foods, and the like to ONLY 1-2 hours after your workout. Even though you will be following this rule and ”earning” your carbs with your training, you should still focus more on eating whole-grain, unprocessed carbohydrates such as plain quinoa, plain full flake or steel cut oats, plain amaranth, plain millet, plain barley, plain wild rice, etc. This is just a short list of whole-grain unprocessed carbs. Whole grain unprocessed carbohydrates are important to include in our diet because they offer the following benefits:

● They’re high in fibre, helping us maintain a healthy GI tract.

● They’re slow to digest, helping us control blood sugar.

● They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals, improving our nutrient density.

● They’re satisfying, helping us to control our appetite.

However, just because whole grains bring so many benefits doesn’t mean that you should be overeating them. They are dense in carbs and calories and therefore you should control their intake and timing.

This is not a low-carb diet, but rather a way to control your carbohydrate intake for your benefit. This strategy works like magic for everyone with stubborn and hard to get rid off body fat.

#7 Drink Lots Of Water!

Water makes up just about 60% of our total body weight. All of those great looking lean muscles that make us so strong actually contain 75% water. That blood surging through your body while you do your workouts contains close to 83% water. Getting enough water in your system is vital for your health and the overall performance of your body.

Don’t wait until you are thirsty. If you are waiting for this signal from your body, chances are that you are already heading towards dehydration. Typically thirst is not detected until 1-2% of your body weight has been lost. By this point you will have reduced aerobic endurance, and you are heading into reduced muscular endurance. At 4% you are facing reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills and heat cramps. Not pretty.

It’s important to get an idea how much water we need so that we can aim to drink enough to keep us healthy and hydrated. Here is a really simple method:

For every kilogram of bodyweight drink 30-40 mL of water. A more general approach is to drink about 3 litres of water a day. Absolutely don’t try and drink your daily water intake all at once – this can be very dangerous. You want to spread it out across your whole day. Obviously if you are larger or exercise more you may need more water. If you want to know specifically how much you should be drinking each day we suggest you take the time to figure out your water intake needs based on your bodyweight.

A few points on water and exercise: It’s actually recommended that athletes should drink about half a litre of water 30 minutes before they train as a “pre-hydration” strategy. During exercise it’s recommended that they drink 250 mL every 15 minutes. After you finish exercising fluid intake is important to help with recovery.

#8 Identify Your Weakness

This can be a real challenge, identifying a weakness in your diet – something that you persist on eating that does not support your training or your body composition goals. Maybe something that is extremely processed that is just plain bad for you. This will require each of us to take a good hard look at what we are eating, because we obviously each have our own soft spots when it comes to treats and junk foods. Please understand that this is not about eliminating everything bad completely. Treating ourselves periodically is different from eating something bad every day.

You maybe following the other 7 tips to a tee, but you still drink cans of diet soda each day. Diet Soda could be what you look at eliminating and only having as a treat. Or maybe your thing is Peanut Butter Cookies – whatever it is, try and eliminate it from your daily eating habits. The real kicker and challenge is that when you feel the craving for junk food, make a healthier choice. Instead of than can of Diet Coke you reach for a Perrier, or instead of the cookie you smack your lips down on a crunchy apple.

Identifying your weakness and taking ownership to them is something that requires some outside help. You are so use to your habits. You have certain beliefs that have made up your programming. In order to identify where your habits come from, working with a Health Coach can be extremely beneficial!

What is a HEALTH COACH? Is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behaviour change by challenging a client to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their values, and transform their goals into action. In my Feel Fabulous Over 40: The Total Body Transformation program , we take 90 days to not only reach your goals but transform your thinking. You will create a mindset that will change your life.

Bottom line is that making small changes, like once a week or every two weeks, will eventually get on track to a healthier lifestyle. Remember, your mindset creates all your results! If you are constantly on a diet and workout roller coaster, what makes you think the next new diet fad will do anything for you except add more confusion. Change the way you see and feel about yourself will not only create physical change but emotional change. This leads to healthier relationships, better outlook on your career, better self-awareness, and most of all extreme happiness.

Let’s talk! Would love to hear from you hello@carmenshawn.com