I know it’s shocking, but I’m not the healthiest person on the planet. I’ve spent the majority of my life eating crap, not exercising and working in a job where I sit in a chair for 40 hours a week. I’ve tried different plans and dieting methods in the past and nothing really stuck, mainly because I was never fully bought into the hype. It was much easier to just eat whatever I wanted, never mind the fact that being healthier (and by as a result, thinner) is uncharted territory, which in itself can be just plain scary. Fast forward to about a month ago, I decided for the third time to get back on the Weight Watchers plan, something felt a little different this time, it was a choice made by me, on my own without discussing it with anyone. I felt more bought in then I ever had before. So far I’ve lost almost 9 pounds (yay!) and consistently feel full and better about the food that is going into my body. Since I’m now an EXPERT (I hope the sarcasm is evident via the web) at this whole healthy-eating thing, I thought I could pass along the top 10 realizations that I’ve had over the last four weeks. Some are common sense, some are personal and some are just my thoughts so if you’re ready to read my spin on my first healthy month, keep on scrolling!
- “Unhealthy” and processed foods do nothing but make you want to eat more unhealthy and processed foods. If you live off of Taco Bell and ice cream you’ll end up in a unstoppable cycle of filling your gullet with Burritos and Rocky Road! Healthy food fills you up, keeps you full and makes your body feel more productive. That makes continually eating the healthy stuff a little easier on you.
- Crash diets that restrict you from eating a variety of foods do not work. At least not for me. I hate people telling me what to do so the idea of a piece of paper dictating what I can and cannot eat would make me bitter and rather angry, resulting in going Miranda Hobbs, a la Sex and the City, on a devil’s food chocolate cake. Earlier this week a colleague shared her strict diet plan with me and it did nothing but make me sad for her, they literally gave her a list of foods that she can pick from, and she had to pay almost $300 for said list. For her, it may work. For me, it would force me into the looney bin.
- Fruits and vegetables can be added to just about any recipe to add bulk to your meal without the calories or fat. My usual chili recipe took a turn last week when I decided to add black beans, corn, green peppers, red peppers and onion into the pot. Not only was it delicious but a little bit went a long way. Even my husband scarfed his down two nights in a row, now THAT’s a successful bowl of chili.
- Not sure if you knew this or not but the whole point of eating food is to provide your body with the energy that it needs to function. Shocking, right? Well those crappy, “unhealthy”, chemical-filled, processed foods have very little benefit to your body which means they are just absorbed and left there in the form of thunder thighs and a beer-belly. Not cool. And of course this is a very scientific description of what happens. Both my high school and college biology teachers would be proud.
- Numbers on a scale are not the end-all be-all. Feeling better is more important that hitting the lowest number on the scale. You’ll ping-pong a little bit and that’s okay, slow and steady wins the race.
- Here’s your daily dose of cheese: You have to buy into the lifestyle change aspect of your journey. Dieting is extremely hard to maintain if you’ve restricted yourself for months, you can end up binging and ending up back where you started. Do research, know why you’re doing it and make small changes that can be maintained in the long run.
- Decide who you want to share your journey with wisely. For me, this time I was pretty selective with who I spoke to about re-joining Weight Watchers. I only chose people that I knew would be supportive and wouldn’t judge me as I went through the process. If I ended up eating something “unhealthy” in front of them I knew they wouldn’t call me out and give me grief. They talk to me about it, ask about my progress and remind me how far I’ve come instead of how far I’ve got left to go. To me, that’s everything in this journey.
- One of the choice that I made along-side of my healthier lifestyle was to stop putting aspartame in my body. No more diet pop, no more Splenda or NutraSweet, only natural sweeteners allowed. This left me with only water and coffee on a regular basis with a Vitamin Water Zero thrown in there. In some ways this has been difficult, I miss Diet Coke and other diet pop but this forces me to drink water all day, every day. I think you can figure out why that is helpful in this process.
- Those expensive, tiny portioned “diet” snacks are useless. They hardly ever hit the spot entirely, they taste like chemicals (usually because they’re 99% chemical) and they cost an arm and a leg. Find a real food that curbs your snack craving, keeps you full and makes you happy. For me it’s been honeycrisp apples and peanut butter or pretzels with Laughing Cow cheese. Filling and delicious!
- Last, but not least: figure out your routine. Plan out what you’re going to eat for the week and the day, make a grocery list and look for new recipes that will keep things fresh and interesting. Pinterest is a plethora of healthy recipes, try them out! Do your research and plan your time to move. You can eat all of the healthy food you want, if you’re not moving your body you’re not burning enough energy. Get up, get going. Then eat an apple with peanut butter.
So there you have it, my 10 realizations after the last 30 days of changing my approach to living a healthier lifestyle. It’s not easy. I think about food far more than I would like to but weighing in each Sunday and seeing the progress I’ve made makes it all worth it.
Hope this helped, made you giggle and possibly snack on a piece of fruit instead deep-fried oreos.