eating healthy ain’t easy… don’t i know it!
i talk to people all the time who will say that they don’t have “time” to eat healthy. in fact i’ve said that a million times myself. whether you are a mommy, a student, working full time, etc… it seems like eating healthy is the last thing you have time to do.
BUT, i’ve said it before and i’ll say it a million times – healthiness is happiness.
since becoming a new mama i’ve had a hard time feeling good about myself. it’s caused me to reflect on what it is inside me that causes me to feel positive, confident and beautiful.. vs insecure, gross, negative and mopey. when i am eating right, everything else seems to fall into place!
when i say “eating healthy” i don’t mean counting calories, fat shaming, never eating sugar again, or weighing a certain number. i’ve found that when i focus on those things, i never accomplish health, OR my goals. fortunately, focusing on being a “healthy person” will just naturally reap those benefits!
i wanted to share the 10 main things that have helped me to stay healthy and balanced:
1. drink water
whaa? water? pff.
IM SERIOUS. drinking water has 8,099,345 benefits. healthier skin, hair, and nails. weight loss, more energy, better sleep, sharper memory, elevated moods, and better digestive and immune function just to name a few.
seriously, your body is 65-70% water so it makes sense that you need to replenish your body regularly! unfortunately, soda, juice, and milk don’t quite deliver.
i’m talking ideally 68oz of cold, hard, AGUA a day.
what i usually do is just get myself a nice 32oz jug/mug/bottle/cup/whatever and carry it with me through the day. it’s easy to remember that you just have to drink 2 of those. so around lunch time, make sure you’ve finished the first one, and before you go to bed, make sure the second one is empty too.
this has been one of the most important steps for healthy eating in my life.
before you go grocery shopping, sit down and think (make sure you’re not hungry). take a pen and a paper and write down the meals and/or foods you want to eat in the coming week. also think about a balance and variety of foods – proteins, fruits, veggies, dairy, whole grains, and yes… even snacks.
WRITE THEM DOWN.
make sure that what you’ve written looks healthy, and realistic. if you write “spinach, broccoli, aaaaaand an apple” then you probably won’t stick by it.
then, bring your list with you to the grocery store and DO NOT STRAY!
if i don’t bring a list to the store, i’m like “i need ALL the poptarts, oven pizzas, white cheddar popcorns, cheez-its, and mac and cheeses”
3. prep your food
*this is very important*
once you return from the store, immediately wash, cut, and store your produce.
what i mean is, get out a bunch of small ziplock baggies and tupperware.
take out your veggies and fruits.
cut them up into easy-to-eat portions, and portion them into baggies and tupperware.
then set them in the fridge on a shelf that you can see, ideally at eye-level!
i’ve found that when i do this, i am MUCH more likely to eat fruits and veggies and cook with them as well, because they are easy to grab and snack on, or throw into a dinner.
if you are suuuuper motivated (which i usually am not), then you can even prepare a weeks worth of meals! but we will talk more about how to do that another day.
4. eat 5 small meals a day
ok, who doesn’t like the idea of eating MORE meals? i am ALL about that.
most people think that in order to lose weight, they need to eat less. so they skip breakfast, don’t eat lunch until after class or during a break at 2 pm, and then eat a huge dinner. these people also tend to be starving at 8 or 9pm and find themselves snacking.
this is HORRIBLE for your body.
this tricks your body into thinking you’re starving yourself,
so it actually HOLDS ON to everything you eat! *scream face emoji*
that is why you need to eat 5 small meals a day, and this is how:
your metabolism needs a “kick start” every morning.
it’s been hibernating for like 12 hours since dinner!
that is what breakfast is for.
– make sure that you start your day off with a nice, big, nutritious breakfast.
– eat a small healthy snack in the late morning
– eat a medium sized lunch
– another small afternoon snack
– eat a light dinner (before 7 if possible)
eating this way will keep your metabolism going throughout the day, constantly burning calories and giving you energy! this is the most effective way for me to thin down and feel happy! plus – whats better than eating every 2 hours? hehe
5. eat what you love
i’m going to tell you right now… if you go to the grocery store and get a bunch of “healthy” food that you know you hate but are going to force yourself to eat… you won’t eat it. in fact, you’ll let the produce rot and probably just get pizza.
thats why it’s so important to eat what you love!
i always eat the veggies & fruits i like most, and nothing else.
i hate broccoli, and i curse the name of broccoli forever, so i never eat it, i don’t care how healthy it is for me. it’s too creepy.
BUT, i’ve found that i love fresh green beans, cucumbers, radish’s, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and peaches. so i eat those all the time. once you start eating the healthy foods you like, it’s easier to start introducing new fruits and veggies that you’re not so sure about. the same goes for whole wheat grains, beans, and nuts. try to find products that you’ve tried before and that you like. if you’ve never eaten healthy in your whole life and you have no idea… you can contact me for some ideas or just be brave!
6. portion control
“portion control” is a lot easier than counting calories in my opinion. i hate counting calories because i never know if its right, and i end up cheating anyways and “forget” about all the snacks and drinks i snuck in throughout the day.
instead, focus on the portion sizes you’re eating.
the size of your FIST is about a portion size. so, for an example, if you’re eating dinner and wondering how much meat you should put on your plate, just look at your fist! that’s your answer! the same goes for rice, bread, pasta, etc… ALSO, if you’re following this guideline, you can usually eat as many veggies and fruits as you want!
i mentioned this before in #4, but you’ll want to eat “top heavy”. what i mean by that is, eat your larger meals earlier in the day, and eat less with each meal, making dinner your lightest meal.
7. snack skinny
SNACK. plz for the love of all that is good, enjoy snacks!
BUT snack skinny, and snack smart!
choose to eat almonds, carrots, veggies with hummus, plain or lightly buttered popcorn, a cheese stick, your fav fruit slices, dried fruit, or a little bit of granola…
over ice cream, crackers, candy, soda, and especially packaged foods – even those that claim to be healthy like “fiber one” bars or “natures finest granola bars”. those typically are high in high fructose corn syrup, which is very addicting and bad for you.
i always bring little baggies of healthy snacks with me everywhere, so i can eat when i’m hungry without being tempted to stop by a drive thru, or eat the baked goods at a friends house.
i know, i know. you hate this word.
when i thought of exercise i used to envision myself in hideous gym shorts in junior high, running the mile like a spaz with my chest on fire, and feeling like death.
but i’ve come to love exercise!
there are so many different forms of exercise, so choose one that you love, and try to do it
3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
my personal favs are hiking, yoga, & running.
you can find zumba, yoga, aerobics and swimming classes at your local rec centers. you can also do something as simple as stretching or going for a walk to start out.
just do SOMETHING every day to warm up your body and get it moving!
if you’re interested in daily exercises, tips, and help learning how to exercise, you can follow my friend trainer andi here
9. listen to your body
this is very difficult to do, and can take practice.
i’ve found, that no matter what expert advice you get from nutritionists, friends, blogs, etc… none of it might apply to you, because everybody is different.
truthfully, the one person who knows the best thing for your body, is YOU!
you just need to listen to what it needs, and follow.
as an example, with each meal i eat, i try to pay attention to when my body is done being hungry, rather than trying to finish my entire plate. sometimes i can eat a ton, and other times i only eat what feels like 5 bites!
another example is, i try to listen to what nutrients my body needs. at times i will feel like i need some meat in my body, or some greens. if i have that feeling, i follow it immediately by eating that for dinner! by doing so, i’ve found that i’m getting the portions and nutrients that my body needs.
if you’ve never had this feeling before, then just start listening! it is called “intuitive eating”. our body was built to instinctually help us know how and what to eat. unfortunately, many of us have been trained to ignore these natural promptings.
so find your body’s voice, and listen!
10. love your body
this is the most difficult step in becoming a healthy human.
i have always struggled to love my body. from my thinnest to thickest, short or long hair, tan or pale skin, acne or not, hairy legs or shaved… it seems that in my seemingly ugliest or most beautiful moments, those things had nothing to do with how i felt about myself.
my state of healthiness had everything to do with how much i loved myself.
learning to love your body also takes time, and practice.
i’ve found for me that positive self talk works well. looking at myself and complimenting my features. trying to see the good in my body, as well as the beauty of the human body in its natural state! also avoid comparing your body to the bodies of other people. we are each built uniquely – meaning that someone elses “thin” or “beautiful” is very different from ours. so only compare yourself with your best self!
if you love your body, you will take care of it.
if you love your body, you will feed it healthy food
if you love your body, you will listen to it
if you love your body, you will give it exercise
if you love your body – you will love yourself!!
healthy living begets love for your body, which begets healthy living
AKA it is one big circle!
be healthy, love yourself, be healthy
i hope this post has been helpful to anyone in the journey to achieving their healthiest selves! if you need any ideas or tips regarding healthy foods to eat, simple meals ideas, etc. then you can contact me on social media or via email under the ‘contact me’ section of this blog.