As you learn at the Resort, we encourage you to establish a flexible structure when you return home. This is achieved by focusing on balanced meals, meal timing and listening to hunger and fullness levels. However, it’s really really common for guests to go home and forget about what a balanced plate really is. That makes sense – we live a nutrition culture that villianizes food over and over again. Right now the villian is carbs and sugar so, without fail, a large majority of our guests go home and forget about including a carbohydrate at each meal. They make “healthy” choices (read: protein and vegetables) that then leave them unsatisfied, hungry, with stomach aches, carb cravings, poor sleep, overeating and bingeing.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I wholeheartedly believe that you will feel better and meet your health and wellness goal far more effectively if you include carbohydrates – make balanced meals – consistently and regularly. Your brain only burns glucose for energy (in starvation it will use ketones, but is obviously is not preferred). If you are eating inadequate carbs and/or energy, your brain increases a hormone called Neuropeptide Y which increases cravings for carbohydrates – TO GET YOU TO EAT CARBS. You likely have all sorts of judgements about those carb cravings, maybe assuming they are a lack of willpower or self-control and that you just have to stay strong. Eventually however, your body’s survival instincts overpower any “willpower” and you find the carbs, overeat and/or possibly binge. And then the cycle continues. But including high fiber, nutrient dense carbohydrates in your meals, you will suprise yourself with how much more level headed you are with food. Please recognize that avoiding carbs is a DIET FAD, not a recommendation for sustainable, healthful and realistic food patterns.
So trust me when I say – eat balanced meals! They are uniquely designed to normalize blood sugar, provide sustainable energy, fuel your body and your brain, keep you full and satisfied for 3-4 hours, balance hunger and fullness levels (and other hormones), prevent preoccupation with food or feelings of restriction. This helps you feel more level-headed, confident and trusting with food.
One last note – I really encourage you to eat a wide variety of foods from each food group. Eating berries but not bananas or sweet potatoes but not regular potatoes just keeps you in the diet mindset of “good” and “bad”. All foods can fit, that’s the beautiful part of these balanced meals. They aren’t restrictive or exclusionary, which means you have a chance to establish variety, balance and moderation…key elements to a healthy body AND mind.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD