If you are at a place in your health journey where some frustration has settled in with regards to your eating habits and attitude here are a few tips that may help to start a healthy change in the right direction:
First, clean out your refrigerator, pantry, and cabinets of all triggers that may cause you to go off course. This includes anything that could be labeled “processed” or “junk” food. Keep easy to grab fruits and vegetables handy for snacking. Pair some fruit and veggies with Greek yogurt or humus and you have taken all the guess-work out. If it is easier for you and you can afford it, go ahead and purchase the pre-sliced vegetables. To save a little money, I do the work myself and put things in individual baggies and containers. But again, you need to set yourself up to win. There are a lot of healthy foods out there now that come in individualized serving sizes and are ready to eat. You will either pay for it now, or pay for it later! You decide where your dollars are best spent.
Next, it is necessary to keep snacks on hand. Pack them for work, school, errands, and keep your home full of healthy options! I like to keep a box of healthy granola bars in the car in case of emergency. Hunger emergency! You could do this with some almonds or some healthy trail mix as well. I do not often have to reach for them, but if hunger does strike or you are in a jam…you have something. On that same note, if I am not prepared and I have a full day, I try never to run through a drive through, but attempt to find a grocery store. I will run in, stop at the deli and pick up some fruit or bagged veggies and check out the salad bar for something fresh. Local stores here in Chicagoland like Jewel, Mariano’s, Sunset, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are great for such a time as this!
Another great tip at the beginning of shifting your eating habitudes is to go on autopilot. When you are first learning to eat healthy this can take much of the guess-work out for you. If you eat the same one or two things for breakfast, the same couple of snacks, similar two or three things on rotation for lunch and dinner, and so on….it can take away many of your temptations while you are getting started.
If you are headed out to eat, I encourage you to get online and check out the menu before you go. This is a great practice to get into. Don’t be afraid to have a little snack at home before you go, and even drink a large glass of H2O before heading out the door to the restaurant. Say, “no thank-you” to the bread before the meal. I am no longer ashamed to ask the server to customize or adapt my meal. To be honest, I have had to adjust to this because of several food allergies, but it is also fine to politely ask for your server to “hold this” or “swap that” or add extra veggies instead of french fries. Take charge of your wellness! I find that most places are more than happy to accommodate a lovely person like yourself. Bon appetite!
Lastly, I do not think any of us realize just how much we actually consume in calories per day. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, all are important too… but just the sheer volume of food in and of itself can be somewhat surprising if we start to create an awareness. That’s why sometimes I recommend a food journal. If you feel now may be a good time for you to start one it can be as simple as to buy a 99 cent notebook or there are many free online food trackers. My personal favorite is from: http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/
I truly believe that exercise is VITAL to our health and well-being. However, if you truly want to stop the war and start winning, it starts with your diet, it starts with throwing out all the junk in the house, all the temptations, and it truly is what we eat.
“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat. ” Socrates
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. I am a personal trainer who has been on a health and wellness journey myself. I only hope to encourage all of you with tips that I have found helpful in my own life. Thank you!
“Our Favorite Tips.” The Dr. Oz Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/ed-and-terri-masak/our-favorite-tips.