I have had a few conversations lately about nutrition and I thought it might be interesting to share some of my thoughts here. I come from a family where there is no easy way out in anything, this is true of life, money, and weight loss. I lost over 20 pounds in the last year the hard way – eating healthy and exercising. Here are a few things that worked for me (I’m no expert – just sharing my experience).
1. Eat real food. This one is number one for a good reason, diet chips and 100 calorie packs are big corporation’s way to market and make millions off people thinking they are eating healthy. You eat this crap and 30 minutes later you’re hungry…it just doesn’t work. Real food like organic produce, lean meat, whole grains, and dairy are what keeps you healthy and fuelled. If it has 25 ingredients it’s probably a bad idea, if it comes from the outside square section of the grocery store you’re probably good to go. Full disclosure in case someone sees me in public – I have a diet coke once in a while. It is my guilty pleasure and I will fight you if you try and take it from me. I’m not perfect, which leads me to my second tip.
2. Healthy 90% splurge 10%. If you are going to splurge you should enjoy it and the only way you can do that is if you know your next choice will be healthy. I have a love of wine and dark chocolate. I eat very healthy 90% of the time but with a few exceptions. If I want to have a few glasses of wine on the weekend I am going to. I eat a piece of dark chocolate everyday and savour every bite. Finally, if I go to a restaurant I eat what I want and I enjoy it. I eat out so little paired with the fact that when I do it’s normally not to a chain restaurant, rather somewhere local and geared towards a quality dining experience. If I am paying good money to eat somewhere, I enjoy every second.
3. Drop the guilt. It does you and everyone around you no good if your constantly worried about your eating. Life is for living and when you splurge a little more then usual embrace it and move on. This life is too short then to be anything but happy so enjoy the ice cream and go for a run in the sunshine tomorrow, you’ll be glad you did.
4. Listen to your body. I watch my portion sizes but if I am hungry I eat and when I am full I stop. Sounds easy enough but if you listen to the signals your body is giving you then you should naturally know when to stop eating. Paying attention to your food while eating and trying not to watch television or check email (we’re all guilty) is the key to accomplishing this. If I am craving salt I probably didn’t replenish my salt loss enough after working out. Listening to your body will help you know what your body needs and what it doesn’t.
5. The word diet doesn’t exist, living healthy is a choice. I never have a mindset of I’m on a diet because the word diet inherently triggers thoughts of restriction and that doesn’t fly well with my eating habits at all. Over a year ago I made a choice to eat healthy, I chose healthy whole foods that I love over over processed junk. I chose being happy with my choices and not feeling guilty. I chose to fill my diet with lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean meat, and some dairy. I watch my portion sizes and stop eating when I am full. I listen to my body, and try to give it what it needs. Healthy living is for life and the word diet has an end point. When it ends generally so does the weight loss. There is nothing temporary about making the choice to be healthy and forming the habits to create a long, healthy, and happy life!
How do you define healthy eating?
Anything you’d add to this list?