Joshua Buchbinder interviews Elyse Buchbinder

As fall begins we will are inundated with more family gatherings, sweets, and tough choices. I decided to ask nutrition coach, trainer, and registered nurse Elyse Buchbinder (who happens to be my wife) what the best choices and methods are to stay healthy, lean, and fit as the weather shift.

Joshua: What’s the healthiest and best diet during the Fall months? Paleo, Zone, Mediterranean?

Elyse: None. Diets are almost never “healthy,” they are crash courses to help with some mild weight loss. However, the weight usually finds us again! It’s like cramming before a test – yes we will get some temporary results but it won’t last.

Joshua: If diets aren’t the answer what is? How about eating less and moving more?

Elyse: Diets fail because it’s they’re not sustainable, they don’t teach you how to eat the right way for the long term. You don’t learn to find or make healthy, enjoyable foods. I want my clients to learn how to be successful for the long term, not just for a few months. Often I hear, “I lost 25 pounds and a few months later gained 40.” They felt great for a few months but now they feel worse than ever. The problem, they never really learned how to shop, cook, and eat healthy. When our weight goes up and down like a Yo-yo we tend to feel defeated and like it’s not worth the effort. As for your second question, yes, eating less and moving more will work to a point, but if you’re calories are coming from three candy bars and a soda, you’ll lose weight but it won’t be fat! In fact, when you reduce calories drastically your body stores fat to protect your vital organs so can continue to function. And this can happen even if we are making healthy choices and eating too little.

Joshua: So what’s the answer? Are overweight people just doomed to be on a roller coaster with their weight?

Elyse: No one has to stay on the roller coaster… you can get off whenever you choose. But there is no easy solution. There’s no quick fix, no “30 days to the whole new you” nonsense. Look, everyone knows pies, cakes, and chips are unhealthy and fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish are. At some point you have to make a decision and follow it with action. Lip service won’t get you anywhere, stop talking and start doing. The answer for sustainable weight loss and healthy nutrition is relatively simple – keep it close to the earth. This means whole foods like vegetables, carbohydrates that aren’t processed (i.e. whole grains, potatoes, squashes, corn, etc.), organic meats and open water fish, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds or avocados) and some fruits. Essentially, your plate should be very colorful and natural. More vegetables than not! Every meal should have protein, carbs, fats and vegetables. Don’t fear healthy fats or carbohydrates as long as they’re from the right sources.

Joshua: What’s the best tip you can give?

Elyse: Start slow. Make small changes to your eating habits and over time incorporate more changes. If it’s too much too quick – you’ll quit!

To sum it up, diets are Band-Aids on bullet wounds: they don’t solve the real problem. Just eating less doesn’t equate to fat loss. Keep your food simple, real, and colorful. Take action to change but in baby steps – learning to eat well is a process and never perfected we all fall short so cut yourself some slack!