Maybe your new year’s resolution is to lose the pounds you may or may not have gained ALL on New Year’s Eve and Christmas. Whatever your mission for becoming healthy is, I encourage you to not just jump on the nearest fad but make a lifestyle change more than a diet.
What’s the difference? A diet means you will eventually tread back into old eating habits. That’s okay for people who may just want to lose the extra few pounds they packed on during the holidays. However, if you are trying to make a really conscious effort to stay healthy and live better, then I encourage you to pursue a healthy-eating lifestyle change. This will not be easy, but it can be super rewarding in the long-run and I honestly love how I eat and train today!
I, myself, ventured into a lifestyle change back during my freshman year of college. I wasn’t eating the best that I could (now, I wasn’t eating necessarily bad, but just not the best for my body at that time). I exchanged some of my heartier, happy-rewarding meal options for more reserved but still filling options. Changing your eating habits is a consistent battle but trust me, you really will feel a whole lot better in the long run. I want to reiterate a point, however, that changing your eating habits does not mean getting rid of everything you love! I desperately seek sweets to satisfy my sweet tooth. I also really love to indulge in salty treats at the movies or when I’m out and about. Here are a few things I want to point to if you decide you really, really want to invest in a lifestyle change and make your body and mind more healthy. (If you’re reading this far, props to you for making the effort and really dedicating yourself to enhancing your health!)
- Eating healthy doesn’t mean eliminating sweets and the things you love!
It’s all about the moderation, my friends. I really, really love desserts. Whenever I venture to a new city, one of my first Yelp searches is about the best bakeries and sweet treats to find in the city. I get my sweet tooth from my mom and my grandma, there is no cure! (Boy, I wouldn’t want one either, though!) Let’s say I really have a strong craving for ice cream or a frozen treat. Great! For me personally, I would probably go to get frozen yogurt vs. ice cream, as it is a healthier option with less added saturated fats (such as using skim milk, or 1% compared to the whole milk and cream that true ice cream uses). However, if you really want that ice cream, then get it! The key is that when you are deciding what size to get, or what flavors, make sure to pay attention to the important facts. Is a friend with you and willing to not only share the bill AND the treat? Great, that eliminates the risk of splurging on the dessert. You’ll both be eating less and feeling better afterward. No bloating and no brain freezes. If you’re by yourself, get the smallest size and don’t eat it all. Simple as that. It feels good to not be a part of the clean plate club. This way, you’re winning by not cutting out your cravings, and you are making a continued effort to live a healthier lifestyle. Even dieticians and nutritionist advise to not cut out cravings, but limitations are key!
2. There are most likely alternatives options to your cravings!
As mentioned above, if you really want a sweet frozen treat, try eating a frozen Go-Gurt, or finding a local frozen-yogurt distributor (my personal favorite is Braums, yum!). Let’s say you want a brownie, but you’re not willing to go to the store and try FiberOne brownies (which are superb by the way, Rachel from Baked by Rachel agrees!) so you’re thinking about settling for that brownie mix in the pantry. Okay, that’s fine but what if that brownie mix in there could be made a different way? Avocados and Pumpkin puree are a few ways you can enhance your brownie batter, without sacrificing the taste. Avocados are giving you monounsaturated fats as compared to saturated fats as most oils do (I say most, but of course there are exceptions to this rule, too). Pumpkin puree can help tone down those saturated fats and give you some much needed Vitamin A boost and help keep the bad cholesterol levels (LDL’s) down! I recommend searching through Pinterest to find the correct alterations to make your brownie mix more healthy for you. That’s what I do! There are some amazing and health-conscious baking blogs out there that can give you the right push for homemade goods!
3. Figure out what works best for your body, as everyone is uniquely different.
I know that I personally struggle with my addiction to sweets. I am constantly finding new ways to reinvent old ideas of foods (like the brownies I told you above) or even picking healthier options for me. On other days, if I feel I did an adequate or strong workout, then I splurge and eat the normal ole’ brownies. Getting healthier does not necessarily mean the pounds fall off right away, either. It will increase your average daily habits and result in a more fulfilling and long life. Being healthier in your choices can provide your body with nutrients that were missing before, or help ease down ones that were putting added pressures on your body (such as LDL levels or trans fats). Your heart, your weight, and your mental health can all benefit from a lifestyle change. But that journey is up to you, and you only. It’s an effort YOU have to make and stick to it.
Again, I can’t reiterate enough that although I chose different options than I would have before my eating lifestyle change, I wouldn’t want it any other way! I love eating spinach and fueling my Vitamin C in my body! I love knowing that I have plenty of carbs (yes, carbs!) to be able to work out how I want. I love knowing that my resting heart rate is where a marathon runner’s typically is and my heart is functioning the best it can. If you’re convinced but not sure where to start, perhaps downloading the MyFitnessPal app (for free) can help you just by keeping a food log. Or, a medical consultation with a doctor can help you determine what levels or vitamins you’re missing with your current eating habits.
I encourage you to find this passion and love for eating healthier. Your body and mind will reward you in the long run! I’ll have more tips and tricks about health and wellness for you soon, so stay tuned friends!
– Haley C.