Within the last year or so, I have completely changed my diet and eating habits. I have tried to get “fit” off and on for years, mostly by completing various exercises 3-5 times per week and by moderately dieting. By moderately, I mean I didn’t just pig out all the time, I watched what I ate, but I didn’t really think about what I was putting in my body. As a result I got mediocre results and I’d get bored and quit for a while.
Fast forward to today, I realize that being fit is at least 80% based on your diet. I know I can manipulate my body by carefully monitoring the food I eat. Here is my typical daily food consumption.
- Breakfast-Coffee with coffee mate natural bliss creamer and truvia to sweeten; bowl of cheerios with skim milk or a Luna bar, whatever I’m hungry for.
- Mid morning snack-Banana or greek yogurt. And a fiber brownie if I’m extra hungry or working a weird shift at work where I don’t get to eat lunch until 2:30-3
- Lunch-Romaine salad with feta and grape tomatoes topped with a light dressing. 2 Servings of fruit (usually an apple and either strawberries or blueberries) and a small treat for desert usually a fiber brownie or a granola thin.
- Dinner-I usually make one of several core meals. Usually a chicken or fish dish for protein, steamed new potatoes or brown rice for a starch, and a vegetable, preferably fresh or steamed. I also occasionally make spaghetti or tacos, but I use whole grain noodles/shells and turkey meat. I usually crave something sweet afterwards so I’ll have another fiber brownie or granola thin for desert.
- Beverages: water, water and more water. I try to consume 72 oz of plain water a day. I avoid all carbonated beverages and rarely drink juice. I will occasionally have skim milk.
Some things to note about my diet:
- I try very hard to avoid artificial sweeteners and products labeled as “diet”. They cause my belly to bloat. I use a natural sweetener like truvia to slightly sweeten my coffee. I do realize they are found in the small processed snacks I eat (fiber brownies, granola thins) but I eat them in moderation and I’m not able to give up those snacks just yet.
- I drink water to excess or at least try to.
- I try to avoid bread/carbs, but when I do eat them I try to find whole grain products and products fortified with fiber and consume them in moderation.
- I try to limit the salt/sodium I consume because it causes me to gain water weight (this has been one of my biggest challenges, I love salty food)
- If I need oil when cooking I use only olive oil.
- I rarely eat red meat.
- I try to limit my alcohol consumption.
- I buy organic foods whenever possible to avoid the added chemicals used to process food.
If I follow everything I’ve outlined above on any given day, then it was a good day. I am not perfect and I don’t always follow my diet completely. My weaknesses are salty beef jerky and candy. I am not perfect. No one is, so don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. I struggle with food guilt. In fact, I am feeling guilty right now because I just indulged in some peanut butter chocolate cheesecake I made for Christmas. Tomorrow is a new day.
Some things to consider when trying to start a healthy eating plan:
- Start removing offensive things from your diet in stages. Example: Switch all ground beef to ground turkey and all white bread to wheat. Next try to eat 2 more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Next start to remove soda and artificial sweeteners. And so on. If you try to remove everything at once, it will be hard to stick with it.
- Moderation is very important. You can most likely eat what you want in moderation. Especially things like carbs and starches. You can even have desert! Just don’t go overboard.
- Eat slowly if you can. If you are tempted by post meal snacking, make yourself wait 20 minutes, it takes that long for your brain to process you are full.
- As soon as you feel any amount of fullness, stop eating.
- Try not to starve yourself all day, then binge. Eating smaller, healthy food portions all day long is much healthier and better for your metabolism.
- Drink lots of water, not only can it help make you feel fuller, but it’s health benefits are unparalleled.
- Don’t give up or get upset when you break your diet. It happens and will continue to happen. As long as you mostly stick with it, you are doing your body good, and tomorrow is a new day.
I am doing my best to stick with this eating plan to prepare for my pageant, and just to be healthy! What are some of your healthy eating tips and advice?