Maria Marlowe on Getting Healthy for Good
You are what you eat.
Now a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach, Maria has helped hundreds of people lose weight—and keep it off. She meets with clients one-on-one, offers a DIY detox program (which she was generous enough to share with us!), hosts the monthly Brooklyn-based Superfood Supper Club and also offers ongoing group workshops where participants learn things like how to lose weight sustainably, how to shop at the grocery store, what to stock in the pantry, how to ditch cravings and what to do about persistent digestive issues.
In light of the heaps of sweets and glasses of champagne that many of us enjoyed over the holidays, we couldn’t wait to talk to Maria about the best way to jumpstart healthier habits and improve our skin, energy levels and (let’s be honest) waistlines, while we’re at it.
1. Give yourself structure and support
It’s easy to say you want to eat healthy but what will make it happen is having a specific, measurable plan. Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose 10 pounds in six weeks.” Be prepared. Determine where you’ll eat and what you’ll order in advance. Tell a friend or spouse your goals and ask them to hold you accountable.
2. Know your "why"
What you eat impacts everything from your mood to your energy levels, skin, immunity, even your risk of developing cancer down the road. Once people connect the dots that what they’re eating affects how they look and feel, it’s not so much of a chore to change their habits.
3. Ditch the misconception
Healthy has a bad connotation. People mistakenly think healthy food is bland or that you’ll feel deprived by eating well. You set yourself up for failure when you think this way. The goal is not to lose 10 pounds so you can go back to what you were eating before. You’re changing your diet to nourish your body, feel and look your best and prevent injury and ailments in the years to come.
4. Give your liver a break
Detoxes are an excellent way to jumpstart a healthy eating plan. Our body naturally detoxifies itself, but over time it gets slow and sluggish from all of the toxins that we bombard it with: artificial colors, flavors, beauty products, scented candles, you name it. A detox eliminates everything that’s slowing your body down and floods it with everything it needs to speed itself up.
5. From detox to the real world
Incorporate detox principles into your regular life. Keep a high-percentage of plant-based foods in your diet. If you’ve eliminated cravings for sweets, say, see how long you can last without sugar. Incorporate potentially irritating foods like gluten and dairy, back into your diet slowly. Add them back one at a time and give yourself a few days in between to gauge how your body reacts.
MARLOWE'S SUPERFOOD SUPPER CLUB
5. Make healthy swaps
Replace processed foods with whole foods, like fruits, beans and dark, leafy vegetables. This doesn’t mean you have to spend all day in the kitchen. I’m a big fan of frozen veggies and BPA-free cans of beans—these are totally fine to make your life easier.
6. Order smart when dining out
Stick to a simple ratio: 1/2 of your plate should be vegetables, 1/4 of your plate should be protein and the last 1/4 should be whole grains.
7. Drink water
A lot of times we mistake dehydration for hunger. Make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of water—women should aim for 2.2-liters a day. Keep a liter-sized water bottle at your desk and know you have to fill it up 2.5 times a day. It makes tracking your intake so much easier.
8. You can keep your daily coffee!
You don’t have to eliminate caffeine completely, but realize it can throw you off a little bit. A cup in the morning is not a big deal, but if you’re using it as your main source of energy, it can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm and wind up exhausting you more.
9. Bring your lunch
Get a big mason jar and layer it with different ingredients. In the summer, stuff it with a variety of raw salad ingredients. In the winter, use heartier things like roasted vegetables, lentils and beans. On Sunday, fill up 4-5 mason jars, seal them and put them in the fridge. Each morning, grab one and when you’re ready to eat it, pour it out and reheat it.
10. Add a water on the rocks
Alcohol is a diuretic. When I’m out, I always drink a glass of water before and after each cocktail to counteract its dehydrating effects.
11. Don’t snowball
The key to making lasting change is consistency and persistence. You will probably eat a piece of chocolate cake at that office birthday party. And that's okay! It doesn’t mean you should veer off track the rest of the day. Accept that you will make mistakes and move on. If the majority of your meals are healthy whole foods, one little piece of cake won't ruin you. It's what you do the majority of the time that counts.
For more from Maria Marlowe, including information on her next 6-week group program, visit mariamarlowe.com.