“Crowding out” = words to live by when it comes to your eating habits.
There’s only so much we can comfortably eat in one sitting. Our stomachs have a finite capacity. The idea of crowding out is to eat the good stuff first and naturally have less room for the “not so good” stuff.
Sounds straightforward, right?
Why does crowding out work so well?
Foods that are close to their natural state (clean, whole, real foods) are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber etc. Eating these foods, like veggies, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats and protein, signals our hunger sensors more effectively. These foods stabilize our blood sugar thereby naturally supporting us in eating the right amount.
It all has to do with the way the energy (or glucose) from the food is released into our bloodstream. Whole foods release their energy slowly and steadily and, conversely, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and/or foods high in refined sugars, spike our blood sugar. A spike in blood sugar brings us up too quickly and then drops us down too quickly. This roller coaster ride creates that hungry/angry /anxious or “hangry” feeling. When our blood sugar crashes, we do not make good decisions. All this has a negative effect on our energy, mood and satisfaction after a meal — which can lead us to poor decisions about the amount we eat.
Tips for crowding out
We all know that staying hydrated is important for our health. It sounds so easy, however most of us do not get enough water in a day. Whether it’s because we are zipping around and forgetting to drink, or maybe we don’t like the taste. Adding in more water can dramatically impact the amount you eat and your cravings…. including your sugar cravings! Many times when we think we are hungry, we are really just thirsty.
Having a craving when you normally wouldn’t be hungry? Try a full glass of water, wait 10 minutes and if you are still hungry have a healthy snack.
Check in with your snacks, this is an easy place to add in more veggies between meals and crowd out refined sugars and carbohydrates. Try pre-cutting, washing and packaging cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery etc. when you get home from the grocery store. When you need a little snack, reach for these already prepared veggies. For a little extra taste and protein, dip them in hummus, pesto or nut butters.
Often we eat when we are bored, stressed, uninspired or ‘somewhere else’ in our heads. Before reaching for that bag of gummy bears, take a breath, ask yourself what am I really hungry for? Crowd out that craving with a short 5-breath meditation, a walk or a laugh over a YouTube video. Connect to what you really need, because it’s surely not the gummies.
Study Food, Mood & Movement
The more we connect to the way food makes us feel, and understand that our food is our fuel for life, the more we’re inspired to feed ourselves well. Our habits are linked. We all know this. When we are eating well, we sleep better, workout better, are in a better mood and we make better food choices, and the cycle continues!
Health is our vehicle for living the life we want — food is the fuel that drives it. Check in with your energy levels after meals. Study how different forms of movement and different foods impact your energy. Make this connection and find motivation inside to feed yourself well and stay motivated to move it and groove it, often.
Eat the good stuff first
This tip is as simple as it sounds… well hypothetically. When you are at a party or out to dinner, start with the healthy options on your plate. Fill up with these and then move over to the other options. Remember, you can only eat so much in a sitting. Try, once a day, to eat a meal that’s ½ veggies: steam, bake, eat raw, sauté, get creative. Dessert is the last part of a meal for a reason.
Think abundance not scarcity
It is all about how we choose to look at things. The power is in our perspective. When we are focusing on what we “can’t eat’” or “shouldn’t eat” it makes us want those things more. Bring your attention to all the wonderful healthy foods out there. Choose to look at it as abundance.
A woman and her toys… I am 100% obsessed with the spiralizer! Turning veggies into noodles is a great way to naturally eat more vegetables and crowd out refined carbohydrates. With a spiralizer, your dinner can easily be turned into 3-4 servings of veggies in the blink of an eye. Get one, you will not regret it! HERE is the one I personally have.
Are you up for a challenge?
Ready to clean sweep your health this spring?
Join our 30-day clean LIVING challenge, starting May 2nd to prioritize YOUR health. What is clean living? A balanced and whole approach to health through clean eating, movement and meditation. Learn more HERE