What do girls who don’t diet but eat for gut health know about managing weight? Robyn Youkilis, certified wellness expert and bestselling author aims to answer that very question in her soon-to-be-released new book, Thin From Within. Part coaching guide and part cookbook, Robyn is showing us how to break the cycle of serial dieting and reclaim our nutritional autonomy with balanced, intuitive tips.
We rarely talk about weight here on TCM – for the most part we’re more interested in balance – but when it comes to living our healthiest life, balance may also include weight management for vibrant health. Grab a few of Robyn’s practical, un-diet tips to make the most of your gut health every day…
I was never heavier than when I was dieting. Instead of listening to my body and focusing on the foods that I actually enjoyed, I was following someone else’s definition of “health” and made myself miserable in the process. I’m not alone here – research shows that 95% of all dieters will regain the weight they lose within one year. So if diets aren’t the answer, what’s a girl to do if she wants to feel and look amazing in her body?
While there’s no magic pill, single superfood or workout routine that works for everyone, what does prove positive results again and again is learning to listen to your body and feed it what it needs. As a formal serial dieter, I’ve helped thousands of women ditch diets forever and re-connect to what I call their inner “sparkle” – their intuition through no-nonsense action steps. In my new book, Thin From Within, I teach my tried and true formula for using your intuition to shed excess weight for good.
If there’s one practice from the book that I could teach every lady out there, it would be to eat real, whole foods that nourish your gut.
Why the gut?
A healthy gut better absorbs nutrients from the food you are eating. You might be eating nutritious, whole foods most of the time, but still feel foggy, uninspired, and generally “less than” your brightest self. Why? Because if your gut isn’t in tip-top shape, it’s not properly absorbing all the vitamins and nutrients from your food, which means your cells don’t have the fuel they need to do their jobs. It’s like having a jewelry box full of diamonds, but not having the key to unlock the box to wear those beautiful gems.
A healthy gut knows exactly what you need to feel your best. Our bodies are designed to seek optimum health. Your body is on your side and wants you to feel good. When you give it a chance, it will tell you exactly what it needs. This is the more figurative or spiritual part of gut health: It’s about reconnecting with your intuition and reconditioning yourself to trust it.
A healthy gut means a happier you. It’s estimated that 90 percent of your serotonin is made in your digestive tract, and the production of this chemical is reliant on healthy gut bacteria. In other words, healthier gut bacteria = happier you!
Good Gut Rule of FiveHow to put this into practice: I created my Good Gut Rule of Five to show you exactly what to put on your plate at lunch and dinner. Eating in this way will ensure that you are getting a balance of both macro- and micronutrients, as well as my favorite gut-healing superfoods. Aim to include one ingredient from each of the five categories that follow for a complete and balanced meal.
Greens: Kale, collards, arugula, spinach, lettuce: I love ’em all. Aim to have at least two or three big handfuls of greens with most meals. Greens do it all when it comes to gut health and weight loss. They are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up and keep you regular. Plus, leafy green veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. When you are filling your cells with nutrients (I mean real nutrition, not just calories!), you have more energy and fewer cravings.
Healthy fat: Avocado, olive and flax oils, almonds, butter from grass-fed cows (so the cows have healthy guts too!) and coconut oil all count here. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 to 2 ounces of nuts, or ¼ to ½ of an avocado at each meal for a good dose of flavor and satiation. Plus, fats are essential for proper absorption of most vitamins and minerals. I used to be terrified of fats, but now I include them at every meal and am lighter than I’ve ever been.
Protein: Wild salmon, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, tempeh, sprouted lentils, and canned wild sardines are some examples of great go-to protein options. Protein keeps you full and stabilizes your blood sugar, so you won’t keep dipping into your raw chocolate stash or crash halfway through your afternoon meetings.
Fermented food: Including fermented foods on your plate is the good gut secret to weight loss through a healthy microbiome (you need all that great bacteria throughout the day to keep your digestion humming!). Examples include raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots or radishes, and kimchi. Try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons at each meal, and feel free to work your way up to ½ cup or more. If you’re not used to the flavor of fermented veggies, try mixing them with avocado to mellow the flavor.
Cooked vegetables: Having a cooked veggie or two with my meal (in addition to greens) always makes the meal feel more grounding and filling. Roasted zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots are all examples of delicious cooked veggies, but this can really be any veggie. I try to roast a bunch of seasonal veggies at least once or twice per week, so I always have some cooked veggies on hand and ready to go. If you’re on the run, many takeout spots and fancy restaurants have awesome veggie choices these days.
Keep your meals simple and nourishing with these five components. When I eat most of my meals according to this formula, I feel satisfied and content. I’m not bloated, and my weight is an afterthought.
A key sign of a properly nourished gut is good, regular poops (yep, we’re talking about going number two). One of the easiest ways to ensure your gut is flowing and your body is going regularly is to include some gut-friendly supplements in your daily routine.
One of my own personal weight loss secret weapons are my Good Gut Gellies. Add these Good Gut Gellies as a little treat after dinner to get extra fiber in, which is key for a good poop and healthy gut. Plus they’re great for curbing those late-night sugar cravings!
GOOD GUT JELLIES
½ cup organic apple juice or cider (the most natural version you can find with no added sugar)
2 Tbsp whole psyllium husk
sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
In a small jar or container, mix together the apple juice, psyllium and cinnamon, if using.
Refrigerate to firm up for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight.
TIP: Psyllium husk is pure soluble fiber and promotes easy elimination by pulling waste out of the colon more quickly and efficiently. It’s also a prebiotic food, which makes it a Go with Your Gut favorite!
Recipe courtesy of Thin From Within.