Here is a switch in eating that you will no doubt savor: Look to eat certain foods each day instead of worrying about what foods to avoid.
Let’s call them feel-great foods. They will change your whole attitude from “can’t have” to “can do.”
Just ask Patrick D’Amelio, the 40-something chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Seattle and Tacoma.
Patrick is an accomplished fund-raiser and admired community member. But in his personal life, Patrick struggled. He was 60 pounds overweight and didn’t feel 100 percent physically, mentally or spiritually. He feared his years of yo-yo dieting and crash workout programs were catching up with him.
Patrick discovered feel-great foods and my nutritionist’s approach to eating, the “Good Mood Diet,” which is based on 25 years of working with clients ranging from professional athletes to working mothers.
Within the first week, Patrick said, his energy level shot upward. After one month he’d lost 16 pounds, then 35 pounds after three months. Best of all, he dropped the weight almost without thinking about it.
All he did was select from the list of feel-great foods for most of his meal and snack choices. He quickly memorized his favorites, including nuts of all kinds, part-skim mozzarella string cheese, and even burgers (on whole wheat buns).
The eating plan, detailed in my new book The Good Mood Diet: Feel Great While You Lose Weight (Springboard Press) is a kinder, gentler approach to taking care of yourself. No more self-abuse through deprivation. No more days with so little energy that you can barely get out of bed. No more days where you feel so mean that you hurt the people you love or ignore the coworkers who are most critical to your job success.
The list of feel-great foods is your starter kit for wiping away those uneven days. Follow the list and you start to eat to feel good from the first day. That’s what I hear over and over from clients. Plus, feel-great foods is backed by dozens of studies that connect food to mood (which are listed and explained in the book).
Don’t worry. The weight loss will take care of itself. Some of the feel-great foods are the usual suspects, such as fruits and vegetables. But nutrition research clearly shows certain fruits and veggies are super mood-boosters, either fresh or flash-frozen: Bananas, blueberries, broccoli, dark and leafy greens, mangoes, oranges, pomegranates, spinach and strawberries.
In terms of fruit, be sure to get at least one serving of citrus every day and one of berries (eat frozen during the off-season). That’s the best approach for putting yourself in a good mood. Put those berries on breakfast cereal (skip the sugar-coated varieties). Cold cereal, one of life’s great comfort foods, has been unfairly maligned in the recent overly carb-conscious years.
You also can eat an egg a day, drink a strong cup of coffee in the morning, enjoy a bowl of chili for lunch, eat nuts or string cheese at snack time and order tacos or steak or a pork chop for dinner. Doesn’t that put in you in a better mood already?
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