Want to optimize your health by getting a jumpstart on weight loss? Start here!

Plate with words WEIGHT LOSS

It’s likely that the start of the new decade has you pondering health changes.  If your focus is on optimal nutrition and weight management, consider the strategies of what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat before choosing a diet.



Keto? Paleo? Vegan? Low-carb? Dairy Free?  Folks can get pretty divisive about which eating plan is the RIGHT one.  Of course, it doesn’t make sense that there is a one-size-fits-all diet. Figuring out which is right for you can seem daunting.  

Any legitimate nutritional approach starts with a focus on quality.

Organic, grass fed, pasture raised, minimally processed—yes, these things DO matter.  No, quality food doesn’t have to break the bank or be difficult to find.  

Did your food grow, swim, run or fly?  Did it come in a package?  Would your Great-Great Grandmother recognize it?  Can you identify and pronounce ALL the ingredients? These are all things to consider before placing anything in your grocery cart or putting it on your plate.

Each meal should have the right balance of macro-nutrients (quality protein, quality fats and quality carbs).  If the carbs are processed (come in a package), they are NOT quality carbs.  By the way, did you know that vegetables and fruits are carbs?  If a certain diet recommends you avoid or greatly restrict all carbs, you might want to reconsider.

If you have concerns about the need for specific dietary restrictions such as removing gluten or dairy, consider working with a Functional Medicine physician to assess gut health, genetics, hormone health, toxin exposure and other root cause factors. 



The timing of your meals can have a huge impact on your energy, mood and sleep.  Our circadian rhythm is strongly influenced by when we eat.  Even the highest quality meal eaten too close to bedtime can cause disruption and prevent true restorative sleep.

Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day, however WHEN you “break the fast” could actually matter more….and very often, LATER is better than sooner.

Intermittent fasting is a natural and supportive way to eat and it’s important to experiment for yourself to determine which eating schedule works best for you.


How much?

Yep!  Calories matter.  And keep in mind that quality plays a role here as well.  A 200 calorie processed, packaged low fat snack is NOT the same as 200 calories worth of walnuts.  HINT:  go for the walnuts!!

Explore how much and which type of data and data tracking will be supportive for you.  It’s hard to make changes if you don’t know what your starting point is.  There are several free and simple apps that can help you keep track of calories and macro-nutrients.  If data is your jam, then experiment with the myriad options for more “intense” tracking.  

For many, tracking can be the silent partner that provides accountability.  

If too much data has a chilling effect on your progress, then work to discern what amount of information (and how often you “check in”) makes sense for you.  

The same goes for scale.  Daily weigh-ins might work for some and others might find that once every few weeks does the trick.

Bottom line:  data is just information.  It can help you track your progress and course- correct when needed, but don’t give it more power than it deserves. 


Interested in learning more about how to create a customized eating plan that’s best for you?  Sign up for our next Cultivating Healthy Habits Group Coaching Program that will focus on Optimal Nutrition or work one-on-one with a FoundationMED Health Coach! Click here to learn more: Cultivating Healthy Habits Program

Kelly O'Brien, NBC-HWC Kelly Day O’Brien is a Duke Integrative Medicine trained Integrative Health Coach and has over 25 years of healthcare-related experience. As a FoundationMED Health Coach, Kelly provides resources, support and accountability as you strive to make healthy changes. She has extensive experience with the diet and lifestyle recommendations that serve as the foundation for your treatment plan. Guided by her coaching expertise, you’ll set a plan in motion to achieve your vision of optimal health. Through a collaborative partnership, you’ll identify obstacles to change and create strategies for sustainable health and wellness goals.

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