diets and basic foundations you need to know

Diets and basic foundations you need to know

By Melissa Howell

melissa howellMany people try several different diets, but they never stick to any of them and most convert back to unhealthy eating. I guess in a way, I’m kind of one of those people, although I haven’t really done a lot of diets. I have done multiple cleanses (which I love), the Lean in 13 (probably my fav, but most difficult), and I’m currently doing the Sugar Impact Diet with my mom (great learning experience).

We live in a world now where everyone is jumping to the newest fad or newest diet plan. They’re like, “Oh look at me, I’ve lost this much weight” or “hey, hey, try this and have super high energy and less cravings.” Then something new comes out, and it’s on to the next thing. I think we call this “yo-yo” dieting. And actually, some of them do work to give you instant gratification. But what happens when you convert back to old habits and unhealthy eating?

They don’t tell you that. They don’t give you a basic foundation to start from. They don’t tell you that it’s not just about what you eat but “who you are being” when you eat. It’s about 25% what you eat and about 75% who you are being when you eat.

Let’s see, how do you eat? In a hurry while on the go? How much are you actually chewing the food you are consuming? Are you doing less chewing and more eating not giving your brain enough time to catch up with your stomach to tell you when you are full? Are you eating junk or foods with little nutrients, so your body continues to search for “the meal” therefore, causing you to overeat? Are you stressed when you are consuming a meal? Believe it or not, all of this factors into weight loss and healthy eating.

The other thing with most diet programs is they focus on what NOT to eat which can feel like deprivation and that’s no fun. You’ll hear me say, “if you want the cookie, eat the cookie.” Because what happens when we don’t “eat the cookie”? Our mind (or critter brain, as we call it in the coaching world) continues to tell us that we really want the damn cookie, and then we end up eating the whole damn box of cookies. Now we have completely self-sabotage everything that we were doing, and most people fall off the wagon at this point. They give up, throw their hands up, and move on to the next new fad or diet.

I want to help you start to build a basic foundation around eating, losing weight (if that’s your goal), changing from old destructive habits to improved habits, slowing down, chewing, making better food choices, manage stress, etc. In my coaching practice, these are things that my clients and I work on together in more detail.

First, you are probably wondering what chewing has to do with weight loss, right? Well, chewing actually impacts digestion. You know that bloating feeling, overeating feeling, you wish you could open your stomach and release all the food so you will feel better. Let me ask you this, how many times do you think the average person chews a bite of food? You are ready for this: THREE times. Three chews, then the swallow, crazy right? When we do this our body has to work really hard to break down the food that we just consumed. And I’ll give you another tip that you might now know, our saliva has important enzymes that help break down food, making it easier to digest which means … ding ding ding … more of the food gets used by the body versus being stored as fat. This is huge! We want our bodies to be fat burning and not sugar burning.


So, the first two things that I want you to try without judgement ONLY curiosity … this is important ya’ll … ONLY CURIOSITY!

  1. Start chewing your food more. Do your normal chew first, counting how many times you chewed that bite of food. Then slowly start to increase the amount of chewing you are doing. The difference is amazing.
  2. Start trying to identify high energy foods. Start paying attention to your body and how you feel after you eat certain foods. Do you have more energy? Do you feel sluggish? Then make a list of foods that lift and sustain your energy and foods that take it away or make you feel sluggish.

Based on my knowledge and experience around dieting, I will leave you with this…. an individual must find a diet plan or as I like to say, “a lifestyle plan” that works best with their body. Having a baseline foundation around what to eat and how to eat are important. So, if you’re looking to make a lifestyle change around food, then I would recommend starting with paying attention to what your body is telling when you eat certain foods. I think this is the biggest key to any healthy lifestyle change or diet.

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts and insights.

Follow me on Facebook at Lissa Fitz Coaching and Networking.

Melissa Howell is a health, life and motivational coach. You can connect with her online at or

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