Last post I talked about the negative side of diets.
So what now? Where do you go from here?
These are some “rules”, which aren’t rules but more like helpful guidelines, I’ve come across, some on my own, some from documentaries, some from Jen, and a lot from reading the literature.
First things first, ditch the “diet” and opt for nutrition! Yes losing weight is wonderful, but being healthy is better. By being healthy you shed some pounds, brighten your complexion, gain lustrous hair, envious skin, and you glow inside out.
Secondly, eat things as close to their true form for the majority of your meals. I opt for raw, my exception being broccoli, I now chose “full fat” if I do indulge in dairy, whole-wheat instead of refined, I look to cane sugar, not processed sugars for a treat and I make my own instead of buying.
Thirdly, find alternatives! When I found almond milk wasn’t disgusting I danced a little jig. For years I had been forcing rice milk down, giving up and going back to dairy (which isn’t too compatible with my body). Almond milk was my saving grace! I even started buying almond yoghurt. If something doesn’t work for you, don’t give up, find one that does.
Fourth, join the tasters club! I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I have a hard time trying new things. I turn up my nose at them before I even get it into my mouth. My lovely boyfriend, fed up with my nose crinkling, suggested I join the tasters club. When he was young, his parents made up the tasters club, and him and his sister would get to be a part of the tasters club if they tried new things. Yes, it is slightly embarrassing that a technique used on a 4-year-old worked on me, but I use it as my mantra to try new things.
Fifth, let yourself INDULGE! I’m saying it. I’m putting it out there. Sometimes, in order to keep from diving headfirst into a chocolate cake, you have to cut yourself a piece and enjoy EVERY second of it. And I mean it! You have to enjoy it! I find the more you make yourself feel guilty for indulging, the more likely you are to binge. Some people say only treat yourself once a week, but in my opinion it should be once a day. For me, some dark chocolate melted over fruit is a perfect treat, and I’m still getting a lot of nutrition from it!
Sixth, do a juice fast, or a detox! I’m not talking about a 14 day liquid diet, but doing a 3 days juice cleanse helps you tune into your body. You’ll spend a good chunk on the toilet, but that’s good! Clean yourself out! Detoxes are good a couple of times a year, after the holidays and after summer. Both these seasons include a lot of eating and drinking and giving your body a break is a wonderful thing. I love reconnecting with my body and really “hearing” what it needs.
Seventh, don’t look at anything as “off-limits”. I think for most people, definitely for me, as soon as I hear the word “can’t” I want. If I say, can’t have sugar, all I think about is sugar, no bread, all I crave is bread! So instead I tell myself I can have anything, and I usually will choose the healthier option. There are some exceptions here. I won’t eat aspartame anymore, and I do my very best not to eat processed sugars. Then again I use the term won’t instead of can’t.
Eighth, sneak in the veggies everywhere you can! I put spinach and kale in my morning juice or smoothie every day! You don’t taste it, and you get so many nutrients from it! If you have kids, make a game out of it. I loved eating weirdly coloured things when I was young. Call it slime juice, or frog water. It’s also super easy to blend these things into sauces without them being picked out by tiny (or large) fingers.
Ninth, make small changes. If you love pop, maybe try a stevia sweetened
soda, or try a cane sugar soda. If you drink it every day, try replacing one day with something else, and slowly replacing it, until it becomes just a treat. Your body really does get addicted to processed sugars, making it a vicious circle. Learn to break the cycle.
Tenth, workout in the morning! Until this year I was a morning person. Sleeping in was 8:30 for me, and that was really sleeping in. However, this year sleeping in has become 10 or 11 o’clock, making this a really strange year for me. Working out in the AM has now become a challenge for me, although I am trying to change it. Reasons for working out in the morning: 1) it wakes you up! Have you ever stepped outside at 6 am on a winter morning, and instantly awoken. Now imagine running or walking in that. It’s such a wonderful feeling. 2) You make better choices all day. I find if you work out first thing, the better food choices you make the rest of the day. You just feel better, and when you feel better you choose better. 3) It’s out of the way! Some days I find myself wishing the day would go slower because I do not want to go to the gym after work. When I go in the morning, I will often go again in the evening because those endorphins have stayed with me, and that post exercise feeling is with me all day. If I don’t end up going after work, then I’ve already gone and don’t need to feel guilty!
Eleventh, eat fat! Not all fat is bad fat. Olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, salmon, all of these are so rich in healthy fats.
Last but not least, do what works for you! Not everyone works the same way… so if something works for your friend but not for you, don’t get discouraged. At the start of yoga classes, they often say “Make this your practice, and decide what your intentions are”, I love this and I think it’s a perfect mantra for this post.
For me, changing your lifestyle is better than any diet you can do. Staying hydrated, fueling up on veggies and healthy grains, and getting some daily exercise will improve your lifestyle, happiness and overall quality of life.
What do you guys do to stay healthy?