Let me preface this post by saying that all the things I talk about on this blog are things that I have found that work and don’t work for my own body and life. Everyone is different and every body is different so when I talk about exercising, eating healthy, using shakes, etc. it is in hopes that maybe some of the things that have worked for me can possibly work for someone else as well!
That being said, I absolutely hate the term “dieting”. Don’t get me wrong, I am huge proponent of feeding your body healthy, nutritious food and drinks but I personally feel that anytime you put crazy restrictions on what you will and won’t eat you are setting yourself up for failure. Now, I have so many food allergies it is almost comical but other than the foods that I don’t eat because they will make me sick or possibly kill me (nuts, wheat, oats) I choose what I eat carefully but not to the point that I am miserable and starving everyday. I wasn’t always like this. As I think I mentioned before, I used to be obsessed with fitting into my size double 0 jeans. This obsession was so out of control that there was a period in my life that my main, go-to meal each day was fat-free saltine crackers topped with fat-free cheese slices. I’m not joking….I ate that for lunch on a daily basis. Usually I skipped breakfast with only one or two cups of coffee holding me over until I allowed myself the luxury of eating those crackers. The craziest things about this was I actually felt guilty even taking in those few calories that that meal was even costing me. I would obsess about every single calorie, every bite of food I allowed myself, and every imaginary pound I thought I would gain if I ate anything other than fat-free foods.
This was obviously not healthy, but health wasn’t my priority at the time. Needless it say, I had zero energy, was getting sick constantly and generally was hating life because all I was doing was spending each day obsessing about food. Now this is one end of the spectrum. I know for lot of people it is the opposite…where food is a source of comfort and happiness and eating things that taste good is what it is all about while not paying attention to if it is good for you or not. You guys, there is a middle ground. Today, I am CAREFUL about what I eat but I don’t obsess over it. Most of the time, I eat healthily, focusing on getting the nutrition my body needs to work at it’s best. I watch how much fat I am taking in, I very rarely if ever eat anything fried or super greasy and I make sure I drink a shake a day to make up for whatever nutrition I am not getting in the foods I am eating.
I don’t however, deprive myself. I have a small amount of chocolate everyday ( I am obsessed with Junior Mints). I drink wine a few times a week. I treat myself to gluten-free pizza every once in a while. I eat chips and popcorn. But i do all these things in moderation. And of course, I exercise. If there is one thing I have learned along the way, life is too short to be miserable. But it is even shorter if you don’t take care of your self. Respect your body enough to care what you are putting into it.
Crash dieting, fad diets, overly restrictive meal plans, in my experience always fail. You end you with the mentality that food is your enemy and the diet becomes so unbearable we often end up quitting soon after we start because it isn’t a realistic way to live. Here is another instance where listening to you body is key. If your body is craving something salty, allow yourself some almonds or my favorite a pickle slice. If you want chocolate (which lets be honest, we all do) eat a few pieces of dark chocolate. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself to live a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I think it is unhealthy to do so. You are in essence setting yourself up for failure and there is no chance you will be able to sustain a diet where you never feel satisfied.
You don’t have to make major changes to see results. Start small if you need to. Try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Replace that mid-afternoon soda with a class or two of water. Replace that breakfast sandwich with a shake. Take a few small steps to start with and I promise you will see a change. Hopefully, as it did for me, seeing a small change will encourage you to keep at it and change up some other unhealthy habits we all pick up at one time or another. Before you know it, these small changes may become a lifestyle that you are truly proud of and can maintain!