Done with Dieting Episode #3: The Foundation

The foundation habits

Sure! We want results fast. BUT fast results often lead to fast burn out too – because the changes that we need to make are drastic.

One of the biggest problems that I see with diets is that we’re trying to game the system. We’ve been told by folks trying to sell the latest fad that we can eat all we want of the foods that we desire and STILL lose weight – if we follow their plan. And so we buy into the idea that we can follow their diet rules, still eat endless amounts of hyper-palatable foods, and lose the weight that we desire.

It can take more time, but if we have a solid foundation of lifestyle habits, we will feel good, we won’t get huge energy fluctuations, sleep soundly, and reduce our cravings for those salty or sweet cravings that we get.

This podcast episode details the fundamental habits that we want to incorporate & how to apply them to your body & lifestyle.

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What you’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Oftentimes diets use advanced techniques – and if we don’t have the fundamentals down, we won’t excel on the diet
  • When we give our body what it needs, and learn to listen to it, we will be able to manage our weight effortlessly
  • If you master the 8 basic habits, your body will right-size, and become the size that it is meant to become.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast, episode number Three.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turned light and weight loss coach. But it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, you know, the one that would finally be the magic pill to lose the weight that I so desire.

Fast forward has tons of failed diets, endless hours of exercise and painful lessons learned. And although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana body love bliss that I truly desire, my relationship with food exercise and my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.

This journey has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that wasn’t prepared by me, and I can easily maintain my weight, something that I never thought was possible. I created the Done with Dieting Podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies, and ideas to help you do the exact same thing without all of the drama that I went through.

If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food, exercise and her body, get off the diet, roller coaster, and free up all of that headspace spent on calories, how you look what you should eat, and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Hello, and welcome to episode number three of the done with dieting podcast.

So I live in Mexico, and my husband and I have been renting a house here for about four years, we moved here in the spring of 2017. And since then we had been looking for a place to buy. And we have found a piece of land. And just at the beginning of December, we broke ground on building a house and we have all of the designs of the house figured out. And we’re really super excited about it.

Right now, there is just this big hole in the ground. And we just got a message from our builder this week saying that they are pouring the foundation. And so that’s very exciting.

And it started me thinking about foundations of houses and foundations of diets and how I think one of the biggest flaws that I see from folks who are starting diets is that we don’t have the foundation of our health in place before we try these advanced dieting techniques.

And so what happens is that the diets don’t work because we don’t have the foundation of good health habits in place, which of course is necessary. And so and I know that I totally did this when I was dieting, that the diet would say okay, you can eat so many calories. And I would figure out how I could eat brownies during that time.

In fact, I was a guest on a podcast recently. And the hosts was telling me about how when she used to do Weight Watchers, her husband called it the Snickers diet every day, I think she said that she she would drink Diet Coke all day. And then at lunchtime, she would have one of those king sized Snickers bars, which is terrible.

But that’s the type of stuff that we do, especially when we create rules around, you know, what you can and cannot have.

So what I wanted to introduce you today is something that I call the eight basic habits that every healthy person does. And I am going to give you options at the end of the podcast of how to get this resource. But let me go through it today. And then you’ll have an opportunity to get more information about it.

And so these eight habits, I figured out by observing, so I observed that Healthy People do these things. And if we can adopt them, then probably we’re gonna be pretty good and on the road to help. And so these eight basic habits are pretty much the foundation of good health. And so let’s get in and get started.

And so these eight basic habits are really kind of foundational. And what’s really crazy about them is that when I introduce you to them, they’re not groundbreaking, they’re not sexy, they are totally boring. But if you do them, you will probably be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right size, whatever the size is, that’s right for you and your genetics.

So without further ado, here are the eight basic habits.

Okay, so number one, drink water.

Okay, so let me talk about this a little bit. First of all, there seems to be this myth out there that in order to hydrate properly, we need eight glasses of eight ounces of water. I have no idea where this myth came from. But it is out there. Is it a bad myth? No, it’s not terrible. But it doesn’t really make a lot of sense that we should all be taking in the same amount of water, right. So if you imagine a 250 pound man and a 150 pound woman, they probably shouldn’t have the same nutrient needs, right or water needs. So I have two other ways of telling if you have the right amount of water in your diet.

Now one is if you’re actually measuring water, the rough rule of thumb is that we take your weight in pounds, and then divide that in half to drink number of ounces. So if you are 150 pounds, we would take half of that, that would be 75. Right? And then you would drink that in number of ounces. Now, if you weigh yourself in kilograms, then you would just take the kilograms in ounces of water.

Okay. Now the other method is looking at the toilet after you go to the bathroom. And if the water color is intense yellow, then you probably need some water or some other you know, fluids in your body. If the water is pale yellow, then that would be good. Now, if you take vitamins, be aware that the vitamins may color the color of your urine, so just be aware of that. But yeah, that’s about it. Alright, so that’s drink water. That’s habit number one.

Habit number two is eat vegetables.

Okay, now eat something green every once in a while, it’s actually pretty good for you. So a couple things. One, corn is not a vegetable. Okay, corn is actually a grain. Corn is sold to us fresh, so they put it in the vegetable section in the grocery store. But corn is actually a grain. And so do not count corn as a vegetable.

Now, we have a huge continuum of vegetables. And be aware that when I’m talking about vegetables here, I’m not talking about that whole confusing thing about well is a tomato a vegetable or is it a fruit? Okay, I’m talking about vegetables as we conventionally know them.

So fruits are things that we consider to be sweets, vegetables are things that we consider to be not sweet. Okay? So tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, green beans, all of those things, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes, all of those things. I am talking about our vegetables, okay?

So, there’s a huge continuum of vegetables, okay, and we can divide them up into two different camps. Okay, we can probably divide them up into many different camps. But for the purpose of today, I’m going to divide them up into two different camps. One is starchy versus non starchy.

Now starchy foods or starchy vegetables tend to grow below ground. That’s not what I’m talking about here in this habit. When I’m saying eat vegetables, I’m talking about the vegetables that grow above ground. Okay, so those vegetables and quite honestly, all vegetables are good for you. But let’s try to stay away from the starchy or things where, you know, if we consider french fries come from potatoes, is that eating your vegetables? Maybe? I don’t know, what do you think? Is it eating? Are you eating your vegetables, if you eat potatoes and french fries,

We want to aim for five to six servings of vegetables that grow above ground.

Now what is a serving? A serving is for a non starchy vegetable. So again, tomatoes, cauliflower, green beans, things like that, we want the size of your fist, okay, again, going back to using your body as a rule of measure for how you should be eating. Okay, so, non starchy vegetables is the size of your fist. If you want to eat lettuce, or spinach or kale or something that’s a leafy green, then the serving size is two fists, okay. And then for starchy vegetables, that would be the size that would fit into your cupped hand, probably the size of a small computer mouse. So that’s number two. Eat something green every once in a while.

All right now habit number three is eat protein.

I’m going to admit here today that I am totally biased towards eating animal proteins as a protein source. And I’m going to save the vegetarian debate for another day. So that I can share my experience with being vegetarian with you. Do other foods have protein in them? Absolutely. Yes, of course they do. All foods do have some form of protein in them.

All right. But often those other foods that we hear about things like beans, cheese, nuts, nut butters, those things tend to have a large dose of starch and or fat along with them.

So for some people that may not produce the results that you’re looking for. And again, I can talk about this later. If you have questions. I totally welcome any questions that you have for me. And I can answer that on a Q&A call later on. So habit number three is eat protein.

Habit number four is to move. So not difficult.

Now, movements is not to burn calories, okay, we need to change our relationship with exercise, we want to move not to burn calories, but so that we can practice self care, and we can manage our stress. Now, I’m going to give some recommendations at the end of the podcast. But for right now, what I recommend is that you start with where you are, and just add a little bit.

The other thing is, when we think about exercise for weight loss, I need to tell you, exercise is a terrible, terrible, terrible weight loss method. And the reason why it’s a terrible weight loss method is because it takes a lot of effort to burn 500 calories, but you can eat 500 calories in just a heartbeat.

Okay, so we really want to decouple the relationship of exercise to burning calories. And I know that it’s going to be a really difficult thing to wrap your head around, that exercise doesn’t burn calories. Technically it does. But I don’t want you to think about it that way. Exercise.

Now, I’d like you to start thinking and reframing your relationship with exercise, so that it’s not a form of burning calories, but rather, it’s a way of taking better care of yourself. And it’s a way of managing your stress.

So walking is a perfectly acceptable way of moving, you can also do gardening, you could do yoga, you could do Tai Chi, you can do anything that allows you to move because we know that movement is better than not moving.

So 10,000 steps is great. However, this 10,000 steps is another made up metric. Whoever it was that designed pedometers, and they just made up the 10,000 step number. It’s it’s great, don’t get me wrong. But the idea that we have to walk 10,000 steps isn’t necessarily accurate.

And for those people who swim or who bike, you know, they might not be doing 10,000 steps a day, because those exercise modalities don’t count towards steps. Just be aware, take all that with a grain of salt. Just try to move about 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be all at once. And it can totally be in five minute chunks, 10 minute chunks, 15 minute chunks, whatever it is that you can fit in. Alright, so habit number four is move.

Habit number five is to sleep.

Now our sleep needs are highly individual, and what works for one person. You know, there are people who only need six hours of sleep. And there are other people who totally need eight or nine hours of sleep. So figure out what works for you.

Most of us are walking around in a sleep deprived state. I’m recording this in January and I had taken some time off in between Christmas and New Year’s and I was just shocked that every single night I was able to sleep like eight and a half hour so I should be getting a lot more sleep than I really am right now.

And so when you go on vacation or on the weekends, if you find that you’re sleeping more and more and more, maybe work backwards during the week and start to go to bed a little bit earlier so that you can get enough sleep.

So we really don’t know a lot about sleep and why we do it. The fact that we are unconscious For a period of like eight hours, which is a significant amount of time, during the day where predators could theoretically attack us, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense when we go back to the evolution of the human species.

And I’ll probably do an entire episode on this. But just be aware that sleep is super important. We know that sleep doesn’t have any calories, we know that sleep isn’t necessarily calorie burning. But we do know that when we don’t get enough sleep, that what it does is it raises hormonal levels in the body, and can really mess with the way that our bodies function.

Now, sleep is totally a foundational habit. And for many of my clients, once we clean up their sleep habits, give them some a good routine to do before they go to bed and clean up their sleep environment, then what happens is, they will naturally start to function better and potentially lose weight, we know that when we don’t sleep well, then we are in probably a pretty grumpy mood during the day, we don’t manage our stress very well.

When we don’t sleep well, we know the cells in our body don’t process energy correctly. And what that can look like is an afternoon craving. So if you get the afternoon munchies, whether it’s sweet or salty or crunchy on know that your body knows that it’s low on energy. And the easiest way to get energy is through eating something that provides energy, which is usually carbohydrates, and something that is fast acting carbohydrates, like something sweet.

Also, be aware that when we don’t sleep well, we don’t have energy, and we don’t feel like exercising. So sleep is totally a foundational habit. And it’s something that is so important to your health. So if nothing else, do get your sleep. Alright, so that was number five.

Number six is manage your stress and practice self care, there’s a ton of different things that go into this practice.

Now how I describe self care, is actually taking care of the future version of yourself. And I’m going to talk more about this in future episodes, for sure. But for right now, what self care looks like to me is much more than getting a manicure or massage or a facial. So self care practice is doing those things that are good for me. And that really energize me and take care of who I’m going to be tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.

So how do you take care of yourself and not just the person that you’re going to be tomorrow, next week or next month? And not just physically through eating or getting manicures and massages? but also how do you manage your mind? How do you manage your stress? How do you manage your thinking and those things that were you and the next few episodes, I’m totally going to be talking about this.

So they’re going to be really good for you if you don’t necessarily know the answers to those questions. So number six is managing stress and practicing self care.

Now, number seven, this is huge is eating just enough. Now for me eating just enough was really all I needed to do in order to right size my body. This habit can be a little fuzzy, and it does take a lot of practice. But once mastered and be aware, it took me probably a good 18 months to master this habit. And I’ll be completely honest with you have I stopped overeating? No, I still occasionally overeat. However, when I do overeat, I feel terrible, and I don’t like it. So I eat to satisfaction way more often. It’s really a great practice to get into. Because here’s the thing is when we pay attention to our hunger signals, we can pretty much eat anything we want and the food and our body will tell us how much we should have.

So it’s really kind of interesting when we take away that certain foods are fattening or certain foods are too high in fat or too high in carbs. If you start paying attention to how those foods make you feel And how they taste, then what happens is as you eat them, and you start to notice how you feel when you eat them, then your body will naturally say, okay, I’ve had enough. So habit number seven is eat just enough.

Now, last habit is limit treats. I am a huge believer that we cannot live on chicken and broccoli, 24/7, we all need treats, and we should be including treats in our daily life, I totally went through the phase where I was perfect Sunday through Friday, and then Saturday became like a cheat day or having a cheat meal. And that might work. For some people. It did not work for me.

I would dive headfirst in Saturday morning, and eat sugar and junk all day long. And so for me, what I’ve noticed and for my clients is that if we add a little bit of something every single day, what it does, is it allows us to make choices, it allows us to be discerning, and it allows us to not feel deprived.

For example, if I’m going to have a treat today, I can decide if I want to eat a brownie or if I want to drink wine. Sure, I can totally have both. But again, going back to how we feel if I don’t feel good with both of those things, I might want to choose just one.

Now I recommend that we take about 10 to 20% of our total daily intake and reserve that for treats. Now the question is what qualifies as a treat. At this point, I’m gonna let you decide.

And you can totally lean into this for right now, you might think that ordering Chinese food is not a treat. But eventually you might decide that it is. So whatever you think is a treat, do that.

Now that you know what these habits are, what do we do next, I have some really good ideas of how to start incorporating these first thing to do is start tracking where you are.

Notice which of these habits are easy. Notice which one of these habits are more difficult. Notice which ones you think that you’re doing that you really aren’t.

Again, the first thing you want to do is start tracking how many glasses of water Am I drinking a day? How many servings of vegetables am I eating per day? How many hours of sleep Am I getting per night? How well Am I doing on each of these things. And then once you’ve tracked that for probably a week, then what you want to do is start adding density, frequency and intensity.

Okay, what are density, frequency and intensity, let me tell you.

So density is how much you’re adding per instance. So let me give you some examples. If you’re already walking, let’s say three days a week for 20 minutes, adding more time to your walking would be considered density. If you’re eating, let’s say, a serving of vegetables every day, adding another serving would be considered increasing your density. Or if you’re already drinking, let’s say 24 ounces of water, adding another eight ounces to that could be adding density.

Now we can also use density to start taking habits away habits that we don’t want to keep doing, we can start limiting those. So for example, if you’re eating three servings of cookies or wine per day, you might want to decrease the density of that from three servings to two. So that’s density.

Next is frequency. A frequency example might be adding an additional day of walking to your schedule. Again, if you’re walking three days per week, then you would add a fourth day could be the same amount of time doesn’t have to be.

So if you’re walking three days a week for 20 minutes a day, you could add a fourth day at 10 minutes. There’s no wrong way of doing it.

Okay, so here’s here’s actually a really good example for vegetables. As far as frequency goes. When we want to add more vegetables to our diet. If you’re already eating one serving of vegetables every day. We think that it’s logical to start just adding two servings of vegetables every single day. But maybe it makes more sense to add two servings of vegetables only three days a week or two days a week.

So that would be your frequency. You’re increasing. Seeing the number of days that you’re adding two servings. And then once you’re good with eating two servings of vegetables twice a week, then maybe add a third day of eating two servings of vegetables, same thing goes with decreasing certain habits.

So limiting cookies or wine from seven days a week down to six. So you see here how we’re allowing ourselves to get healthier, not by doing an all or nothing approach, but rather leaning into it.

The third way of leaning into a habit is intensity.

So intensity isn’t actually going to work for all of these habits. But a really good example would be for exercise, you’re exercising for the same amount of time. But instead of walking, you’re doing a run, walk, okay, so you’re spending more time or intensity doing that activity. Now, again, not all of these habits are going to translate to that. But if you’re thinking about it for vegetables, exercise, even, you could also translate this into variety.

So if you find that you’re eating the same, you know, three or four types of vegetables, once a week, you may choose to, you know, bring in a new type of vegetable to see if you like it.

Now, as I said, at the beginning of the show, I have a really great resource for you. It’s called the Eight Basic Habits That Healthy People Do Guide And Checklist. And after you sign up for this guide and checklist, it also has an email sequence that goes along with it. That is amazing. And it’s really designed to keep you motivated and to stay on task. You can get the guide and checklist by going to That’s Elizabeth H A B I T S

I will put it in the show notes for you so that you can just click on it. And that’s all I have for you today.

So I hope that this was actionable and useful. Thank you so much for listening, and I will talk to you all next week. Bye.

Hey, thanks for listening. If the show resonates with you and you have a friend, mother, sister or anyone else who you think would benefit I’d love for you to share the podcast with them. You can leave me a rating and review and Apple podcasts which helps me create an amazing experience for you. And it helps other women who are done with dieting and want to get off the diet roller coaster to find it as well.

See you next week.

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