A year ago, I lost my job. Since then, my eating has gotten progressively worse. I usually eat whatever is close by. I start my day with coffee and a bagel. Throughout the day I drink at least one diet soda, if not two. My next meal is around 4 pm where I’ll have leftovers, a sandwich, or a burger.
My real downfall is at night. I stay up and eat late. I know I give in to comfort foods and snack foods. A lot. I’m ready to address my eating habits, but I’m not about to join weight watchers or count calories. Where do I begin?
Great question! First of all, congratulate yourself! It takes a lot to want to make a change. The good news is that you don’t have to count calories or make a crazy diet overhaul. It sounds counter-intuitive, but going from burgers & pizza to quinoa & kale overnight is a recipe for disaster. The difference between a crash diet and long-term health is sustainability. The key is making small changes that you can easily incorporate. My job as a coach is to set you up for success, so let’s take a look at the small changes you can make today that will make the biggest impact:
1. Decide on your non-negotiables.
There are no absolutes when it comes to food. Anyone who tells you there are is either living a miserable life or has never had anything a la mode. That being said we often eat things we don’t really enjoy just because they are there. For example, when I worked in an office, my desk was right in front of the office candy jar. We had candy before, during and after every holiday. And it was never the good stuff. It was crap: hershey’s kisses, smarties, generic hard candy. It was never worth it. Eventually, I decided I’d only indulge in a sweet if I truly thought I’d enjoy it. That was my non-negotiable-to only indulge if I would enjoy. For you, it might be cutting out fast food so you can enjoy a gourmet, grass-fed, organic burger. Decide and stick with it.
2. Start with the liquids.
The biggest culprit in diet-derailment is sugary drinks. While calorie counting isn’t my thing, I felt compelled to share this with you: If you cut out one 20oz soda every day, you’d save 91,000 calories, 26 pounds, and 108 cups of sugar. Think because you drink diet soda, this doesn’t apply to you? Think again. Diet sodas are sweetened with Splenda. These artificial sweeteners are linked to diabetes, heart conditions, and weight gain. Ironic, right? So what do you replace your sweet drink with:
- Water (duh!)
- Sparkling water with fruit
- Diluted fruit juice
So consider nixing or minimizing the sugary drinks. After a few days, you won’t even crave them.
3. Incorporate fresh produce at every meal.
Greens are nature’s greatest gift. Sneak them into a smoothie, and omelet, pizza, or anything else! Even salsa and spaghetti sauce get healthier when you add extra veggies. And while ketchup doesn’t count as a veggie serving, small changes add up to a big impact.
4. Know why you’re eating.
Are you hungry? Seriously. It sounds like a stupid question, but it’s easy for us to confuse hunger and thirst. Sure, thirst for water. Or, thirst for something more. Are you lonely, bored, sad? Take a moment before you reach for food and clue into how you’re feeling.
5.When you eat, just eat.
That means don’t watch TV, don’t read, don’t drive, just eat. The key to eating mindfully is to be in the moment. Most of us mindlessly munch when we watch TV. In fact, we associate the two activities and can’t imagine doing one without the other. Break the habit and create healthy ones. That starts with creating a healthy ritual around meals.
- Sit down (don’t hover over the sink)
- Eat off a real plate (not out of a take out container)
- Take a moment to be grateful for your food (don’t just inhale it) Bonus: Gratitude makes everything taste better!
Why be mindful? We can’t enjoy what we eat or know when we’re full when we’re watching TV.
These 5 tips will make the biggest difference as you create a healthy lifestyle. Every decision you make affirms or rewires your internal dialogue. So why not make healthy choices from a place of self-love?
Have a question? Send it on over! info@AlignedHolistics.com