I love food, and I love to eat. Yet, I’m learning to love my body and taking care of it means monitoring what I put in my mouth.
Over a year ago I wrote a post about changing my diet. I am not sure I was consistently watching my diet after I wrote the blog, but I made an effort to monitor my sugar intake. For me committing to small changes is better than going on a specific diet or regulating the proteins, carbs, fruits, sugars and whatever else goes into the food pyramid diagram. Personally, it stresses me out (the purchasing of said healthy food, weighing myself, limiting, restricting, and calculating the exact number of taboo food I can have) and than I want to partake in a large pizza with donuts on the side. Thank you, very much.
However, since the start of 2018 and some therapy for anxiety issues, I realize I needed to make a change-a large baby step in regards to food. Occasionally, I’ve heard people say healthy is hard and a load of bland tasting food like Cesar salad, water, and chicken breasts. Wrong! Plus, you can have livelier salad, flavored water, and put some spice on that chicken. Mix it up!
I am a firm believer in baby steps, rules, and some consistency. Eventually, I’ll take another baby step in my food consumption journey but for now this is what works for me.
- Limit the cheese/dairy products. Okay, this is a major change. Although I am sensitive to dairy, it’s never stopped me from pouring Parmesan cheese on my pastas, stir-fry, and soups. It hasn’t stopped me from consuming pizza, cake, cheese puffs, and mozzarella sticks. But finally, I decided I would stop eating cheese five days out of the week. At first I felt extremely deprived of my comfort food, but then I discovered vegan cheese, vegan mayo, avocado spreads, and hummus. I knew such options existed before, but when I made my decision to abandon my love they became essential in making the break-up less painful. Also, I still got ketchup.
- Limit gluten – I’ve been told I’m gluten sensitive. I’ll never know unless I take an allergy test. Last summer, I tried to go gluten free and it lasted a day. So now I limit my gluten. I buy bread for sandwiches, and prepare rice dishes for dinner. However, when I eat out I will treat myself to all the carbs!
- I try to avoid bringing my favorite junk food home. Because for the life of me, I cannot eat them in tolerance. If I bring a bag of Doritos home, I’ll finish it in two days. Recently, I bought a bag of chocolate chip gluten free cookies. I promised myself I’d make them stretch three weeks. I mean 30 cookies should last a while. Right? I finished them in a week.
- Healthy Snacks – Honestly, this is hard. I am not a fan of munching on celery, carrots or apple slices. Give me chips. Sugar. Salt. Finally, I discovered I like raisins because they have the sugar factor going for them and they’re healthy in moderation. I also like the GoGo Squeez apple sauce. I’ve only seen children with them, but you know they’re cheaper than the fancier fruit sauces. Lastly, I eat a ton of home made granola. It takes 30 minutes to make and I can add and take away ingredients based on what I have.
- Cheat Days & Eating Out– I need cheat days. Okay, I don’t need them, but there a nice reward for eating well. I’ll go to Chik-fil-a and order the #1 with 4 packs of Chik-fil-a sauce. Maybe I’ll buy a cinnamon roll or devour an unlimited amount of pizza from one of my favorite spots. I’ll make cookies, think about sharing them and eat most of them. Festivals, parties, girl’s night, I splurge, because I know I’ve done the hard work. And if I have a bad day or go over my limited amount of cheat days it’s fine. I know I have rules 1-4 to start again.
The results – I feel better. I don’t have as many acne breakouts or digestive issues. I have more energy. I’m less prone to sluggishness and moodiness.
My advice – Eating healthy is a life style, not diets. Set boundaries and rewards. Find a healthier alternative for that unhealthy food. Limit yourself to one soda a day. Skip the mayo. Make it fun. Explore restaurants with healthier options that don’t break the bank (For me it’s Mad Greens). Get inspired by women and men on Instagram who not only post about their journeys, but post healthy mouth watering meals (Currently, hooked on @iamlshauntay Instagram posts). Eventually it will get easier or fun. Whichever you prefer.