This blog post is not about dieting. This is about kick-starting new healthy habits.
Wayyy back, probably junior year of high school, I made the decision to cut out soda and cereal. I realized these were the big areas of my food intake that were doing more hurting than helping. Now, this was HARD. I won’t sugarcoat it. (lol jokes) I craved soda for a long time, but slowly, by opting for water each time I didn’t want to, the cravings went away. Now, I can hardly drink soda because the carbonation stings. And I am more hydrated. Prior to this, I was a BIGG (with two g’s) night-time cereal eater… and morning. I love breakfast and cereal was my go-to, until I read the nutrition facts. *woah* Cereal is mostly carbs, salt, and sugar. And there are plenty of other breakfast options that offer a lot less crap and a lot more energy. Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe that a midnight bowl of comforting cereal and cold milk can solve a lot of the world’s problems, BUT, once I stopped eating cereal on the regular, I noticed an immediate change in my body and shape. Find out what these major negative habits are in your day to day intake and work to cut those things out. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but find out what’s hurting you more than helping you. Your body and energy levels will thank you in return.
Dieting has never worked for me. It’s a psychological thing. When I focus on the rules and restrictions, on what I can’t eat, that’s all I can think about. For me, if I was going to get on track to eating healthier, I had to look at health-food in a new way. I had to teach myself to enjoy healthy options.
Find healthy substitutes. For example: Substitute sugary yogurt for greek yogurt, flour tortillas for spinach-based tortillas, regular pizza for cauliflower pizza, bread sandwiches for lettuce wraps, etc. There are dozens of healthier options that taste just as good and will fill you up just as much, if you give it a chance.
Try new things. Start trying new fruits and vegetables. I just found out I liked brussel sprouts at 22 years old because I had never wanted to try them! Turns out they are pretty good and can be a full meal.
Make a healthy grocery list. Try to build a variety of your favorite health foods. Set up a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner option. Figure out what ingredients you can combine together to make full meals.
Listen to your body. Instead of listening to the instinctual clock telling you, “It’s lunch time!” or, “It’s dinner time!”, try to listen to what your body needs. It may not be as hungry as often as your routinely set clock is telling you. Another habit I had to break was eating past when I felt full just to “finish my plate.” I was taught at a young age to finish my plate and to not be wasteful, but this caused me to begin a harmful cycle of overeating.
Healthy habits don’t form overnight. It takes commitment, thoughtfulness, and consistency. Most diets make you feel like you automatically fail if you cheat one time, but, the truth is, health doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to cut out your favorite chips or skip dessert every night. You don’t even have to cut out fast food! Just skip the fries and the soda at Chick-fil-A and opt for the nuggets and water. It’s about balance and moderation which comes when we shift our perspective to see the bad food and the good food for what it is and learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us they need. We eat food for energy, so we need to make sure the food we’re eating is going to give us that energy. After establishing healthier habits, overtime, it will be easier to say no to the things that look good at first, but leave us feeling less than good.