Eat more, weigh less.  Have you heard of that? if you have, you’ve probably thought…’yeah right!’ in what dream world? Well, it’s actually possible to eat more of everything you want and feel great about it.

Question #1: Don’t you wish you could just eat everything you want and feel great about every single bite?

Question #2:  Why don’t you? 

I’m sure that the thought of loving what you’re eating, feeling 100% satisfied by it, and confident about the decision to eat it seem like a bit of a juxtaposition, right?

When it comes to eating & living healthfully, we often think of soggy, steamed greens, flavorless poached chicken, no alcohol, no desserts, working out like crazy, and deprivation.  The last thing we think is ‘eat more’!

Hungry. Tired. Weighed Down. Diets. All words that we might relate with turning our health around

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way?

That you could relate words like energy, happiness, and passion with good health…

What if I said you can eat more of anything you want, that you never have to diet again, and you can feel good about the choices and yourself?  

What IF, I said eating well can be fun and enjoyable?

Would you believe me?

Well, buckle up, baby because it’s true.  We can love our bodies, invigorate our minds, and love what we eat all at the same time, no deprivation or starvation required.

Working towards your health and wellness goals should never leave you feeling lightheaded, starving, sleepy, or sad.  You should always feel empowered that the actions you take are taking you one step closer to being the strongest, happiest, healthiest you possible.

Now you’re feeling skeptical.  You’re thinking, ‘Hailey, if I’m not in pain, I’m not making progress, right?’, and I totally get where you’re coming from.  I’ve been there and used to think that I could only eat a certain number of calories, that I had to work out every day, and that I needed to burn equal if not more in order to achieve or maintain what I was looking for.

This constant focus on intake and output depleted so much of my positive energy and left me tired, hangry, and always looking for something else – I’m still not quite sure what that thing was.

As time went on, and during my Health Coach Training Program at Integrative Nutrition, I learned how to listen and TRUST my body to understand what works and makes me feel great. I learned so much about the impact food can have on our entire life, not just our waistline.

That’s what really hit home for me – it’s not just about how our bodies look, but it’s about how we feel.  It’s about having that glow, undeniable energy, and zest for life.  As I embraced these concepts and food in a new way, thing began to shift.  I craved healthier options because of how they made me feel.

Today, I never feel like I’m depriving myself of the things that I love.  Do I choose veggies over fried food most of the time? Yep, you betcha! And do I sometimes crave pizza and cookies, totally. But I feel great about every bite I take.

For me it was really all about a mindset shift and adjusting my cravings to desire foods that made me feel great.  If something made me feel great it’s what I craved, rather than craving things because I was addicted to them.

Here’s how I got there…

6 Ways I Eat Everything I Want + Feel Great About It

Understand the Properties of Food

I’m really big about connecting to a deeper purpose or mission to achieve my goals.  Before I understood about the power of food, it was harder for me to understand why I should even bother eating well.

Why would I choose an apple and peanut butter for 150-200 calories over a 100-calorie pack if I want to lose weight and feel lighter?

In this instance, that apple and peanut butter contains more essential nutrients that your body needs in order to thrive.  You get a good dose of fiber and natural sugars from the apple, healthy fat and protein from the peanut butter, and it will keep you fuller longer.  Packaged foods also contain a number of processed ingredients and chemicals as well as well as things that trigger food sensitivities like gluten.  Do you really want to put chemicals in your body?

The apple and peanut butter vs. pretzels is just one example, but you get where I’m coming from!

Nutrients have the power to fuel your day, affect your mood, digestion, and stress levels, anxiety, depression, and brain fog. order to truly feel good about everything we’re putting in our bodies, it’s important to understand the nutrients and ingredients you’re putting in your body.

Understand the role food can play, and the positive impact of good, nutrient dense food, I moved away from calorie counting and focused on counting nutrients.

HOWEVER, and I will say however, 1,000 nutrient dense calories of nuts as a snack is still 1,000 calories, so be mindful of serving sizes and let your body absorb the calories and nutrients before diving into round 2.

Eat More Real Food

Many packaged foods, even the seemingly healthy ones are disguised as ‘health’ foods.  They take on the labels like ‘all natural’, ‘fat-free’, ‘low-calorie’, and sure some of these snacks and foods are OK options for when you’re on the go, but sticking with real foods and as close to the earth as possible will help you gain a new perspective on what you like to eat.

Processed foods are often high in sugar, salt, and other addicting ingredients that keep us coming back for more.  Did you know even ketchup and some peanut butters have added sugars in them!? So if you’ve ever wondered why you can’t just have one chip or one scoop of ice cream, that’s why.  We’re trained to crave these foods in large quantities, and the best way is to steer clear whenever possible.

Whether we’re fully aware or not, we’re confronted with harmful chemicals and every single day. From the food we eat to the products we clean our home with to that disgusting smog that surrounds our cities. When you eat real food, mostly plants – fruits, veggies, nuts & seeds – you give your body an opportunity to restore balance within its fragile ecosystem.  Restoring this balance gives your body a chance to crave the foods that will allow for optimal performance.

Trust Yourself

Do you remember when you were a kid, or if you have kids, this will resonate, too.  You were full when you were full and you left food on your plate if you weren’t feeling it?  You didn’t overthink meal time, unless you really hated what was being served.

I don’t know about you, but I can barely think of a time when I’m not ‘hungry’ or when I can’t clean my plate fully in the past few years.

I think this comes from a lack of trust in ourselves and our body’s natural ability to listen to cues and work as one system.  Instead, we take control and start telling our body what it can have, what it can’t have and when.  For me, when I don’t trust my body, I eat more rigidly and on a very tight schedule and not surprisingly, I don’t see the results I’m looking for.

You might be surprised to know, but our bodies are actually quite evolved with the power to intuitively know what we crave and what we need, if we give it the chance.  When we open up space and tell our bodies that we trust their natural inclinations and actually take a moment to listen, we are gravitated towards foods that make us feel good.

But how do you actually do this?

One great way is be more cognizant of your actions.  If you notice yourself reaching for a bag of chips at 3pm ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you’re experiencing another emotion.

Take a drink of water, and if 20 minutes later you are indeed hungry reach for something with more nutrients.

Eliminating processed food is also a great gateway to letting your body tune in with itself and truly understand cravings.  You’ll notice overtime where your true hunger cues are coming from.

For me, I rarely eat a cookie or a dessert just because it’s there (yes, there are still times). I regularly turn down office treats if it’s not something that I love because I don’t actually want it.  You’ll notice shifts like that over time too, but it does take time. 

Crowd Out Cravings

Did you know that certain foods can actually decrease and help you control your cravings?

Sweeter vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, and onions, to name just a few fill the void that your sweet tooth is looking for.  Try incorporating more of these into your meals.

Additionally, when you eat meals filled with core nutrients, fiber, fat, protein, and rich, slow burning grains, you’ll stabilize your blood sugar, keeping you fuller longer, and reduce the need for sweets.

Again, this takes practice and it doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself as you incorporate this into your diet.

A great crave curbing meal for me is salmon, steamed kale, and avocado.  If I feel like I really need it, I’ll add some quinoa or brown rice.

Enter a Judgement Free Zone

Of yourself and of others.

When we’re hard on ourselves we increase our stress levels and cortisol, which actually decreases our chances of achieving our goals and increases the chances of weight loss, anxiety, and depression.

When we judge others, we’re enabling a world that we ourselves don’t want to live in.  People have the right to make their own choices, and while we can hope that each person makes the choices that truly nourish their bodies, everyone is an individual and the best thing we can do is support one another.

Now, I haven’t officially tried every diet in the book, but I have tested many.

Love Up Your Healthy Favorites

This might sound really crazy, but overtime, some of my favorite super fatty healthy foods feel like indulgences.  For example a big brown rice bowl filled with great greens, chicken, sweet potatoes, and other veggies with some avocado and maybe a little high quality cheese is like a dream for me.  I know, crazy, right!?

Don’t get me wrong a big juicy burger is a great thing too, but overtime as I’ve leaned in favor of healthier options that make my body feel great it’s what I crave.  Give me a date stuffed with peanut butter or a

Remove Good & Bad    

As far as I’m concerned, no food is inherently good or bad.  Ok, Pepsi, I’m NOT talking to you.

So let me rephrase this, any food made with love, high quality ingredients, and unprocessed is not bad and should be enjoyed without guilt.

The minute we start using words like “I was so bad” we limit our beliefs about what we have the ability to do; we restrict ourselves from really enjoying.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in a buttery, chocolate chip cookie or fudgy piece of cake if that’s what you really want.  If you’re going to have it, enjoy every. Single. Bite. Otherwise, it just wasn’t worth it.

What do you think? Do you want to eat everything you want and feel great, too? What steps will you take to adjust your mindset and your cravings? Let me know in the comments section below.