In my quest for weight loss and a healthier life, I wanted to conquer the challenge of healthy eating. I have never really been into strict dieting, so I knew that it wouldn’t work for me… However, that didn’t stop me from trying other ways to be ‘healthy’ such as buying new foods that I had never heard of but had read about and completely cutting out certain foods. But of course, these never worked because;
1. It was too much effort to think about what to eat every day, plus I did not have the time or energy to find out how to make the unusual foods I was buying.
2. Completely cutting out the foods that I liked made me want them even more!
Long story short it just wasn’t working… It wasn’t easy to change my habits as I had no structure or plans in place, and unfamiliarity with certain foods made it so hard to sustain my chosen meal plans.
The way I succeeded in my journey towards better nutritional health was by adopting these key tips;
1. Doing my research
This mainly consisted of googling the foods on my plate and the nutritional benefits. As well as this, it was imperative that I also did a self-analysis of my relationship with food. I started asking myself, ‘what foods do I like, and why?’ This was based on the idea of what I thought about when it came to food. In particular, what made me want to eat. Was it the way it looked? The smell? Did I eat food because I was actually hungry and quenching my hunger? Or was it to make my body strong?
Doing a self-analysis of ourselves and finding the reasoning behind why and what you eat or don’t eat does wonders for the way you think about the types of food you want in your body. When you start thinking about food more like a fuel rather than something to quench your hunger, it puts it more into perspective. We all have access to the internet and there is a plethora of information at the touch of a button. Simply researching the food you are eating and what you could gain can have a positive effect on whether you decide to eat it or not.
2. Planning for success!
This was my ultimate plan on my health journey. Now I knew the reasons behind why I ate certain foods and their benefits, planning what to eat and when to eat became easier! This included preparing a weekly shopping list. Something that I rarely did before believe it or not!
I found that most times I couldn’t stick to the plan because I ate what was around me even though I wasn’t hungry, and I would buy on impulse to quench a craving. From my research, I discovered that there were lots of similar healthy alternatives that I could indulge in. With this in mind, when it came down to writing my shopping list, I decided to keep it simple and tweaking it slightly by swapping less healthy foods, for healthy alternatives (for instance replacing white rice for brown rice) and adding a maximum of 2 vegetables to my weekly list. Having a shopping list reduces the likelihood of impulse buying, and keeping the list simple and still eating foods that I was already familiar with made it easier for me to make healthy choices, as in my mind it didn’t feel like I was really changing anything.
3. Meal prep
This helped me greatly during those times when I had random hunger pangs during the day. Whenever I was hungry, I would go in the fridge and get a meal that I had prepped beforehand which satisfied my cravings. Trust me, meal prepping for the week will save your sanity, time, and money when it comes to food!
4. Forming the habit by maintaining a resilient mindset
The most important aspect of eating well is your mindset. When eating food, it is essential to make a conscious effort to make food choices based on what will fuel your body, and not quench a craving. We need food to survive as it acts as fuel for the body. If we don’t eat enough or the right things, our bodies go into survival mode as it tries to hold on to food previously eaten to give us energy.
The key to developing your mindset towards food is proper planning for success. This could be through small changes like drinking more water throughout the day or having an apple at your desk when you feel peckish. Also, having a cheat meal or craving every so often isn’t a bad thing! In fact, I encourage it! Food is there to be enjoyed, however, everything must be done in moderation.
Above all, one of the key things to remember is that Rome was not built in a day. Taking small steps to change the way you eat it a must for achieving your aims! Don’t beat yourself up if you fail a few times, keep going and enjoy the journey!