Diets can be exhausting, difficult and most of the time, unsuccessful in the long run. Why? Because for most people, a diet is something that you grit your teeth and do for the short term. You stick it out until you either meet your goal, or give up trying. Soon after, you revert back to your original eating habits, gaining all that weight back in the process.
Can you eat in a way that will allow you maintain a healthy weight while not feeling like you are sacrificing satisfaction and flavor? Absolutely. It’s all about perspective.
If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to understand that the steps you have to take will be for the long term. They will not be a quick fix over a course of a couple of months by which at the end you can revert back to old habits. ‘Eating healthy’ is not about taking food out and limiting yourself. It’s about making small healthier changes over time that snowball into healthy habits for life – you create a lifestyle. Once something has become part of your lifestyle, it becomes second nature – you do not feel like you are deprived, but you sure feel a lot better.
The first step in moving toward a healthier lifestyle is information. Know what foods do for your body so that you can incorporate more of the good stuff, and slowly phase out foods that are not contributing to anything, is essential. Check out a couple of the below:
- What are nutrients? (in progress)
- How to read a nutrition label (in progress)
- How to cut down on empty calories (in progress)
Now that you have a better understanding of what goes into your body and how your body uses it for fuel and repair, we can gradually make the change towards a healthy lifestyle. Even if you want to start out with big, sweeping changes, I recommend that you go slow and make small, significant changes over time so that you don’t shock your body and get discouraged. Discouragement breaks down motivation, and causes you to revert back towards old, cemented habits.
Eating for the long term goes hand in hand with creating healthy habits. Try using the Habit Check List to help make small changes for the long term. Here are some great first steps that I would suggest:
- Trade out half of the sodas I drink for water
- Use 1% milk in my coffee instead of cream/creamer
- Have at least 2 servings of vegetables with every meal
- Use whole grain breads instead of white breads
- Use greek yogurt instead of sour cream
- Make my own snacks at home instead of buying from the vending machine
Once you get rolling, and you are used to the initial habits you set for yourself, slowly start incorporating some more changes. Don’t worry if you are struggling and slip up a couple of times, focus on the good changes you have made and try to repeat them. Soon, you will have larger goals such as:
- Bring my own homemade lunch to work everyday
- Drink sodas only for an occasional treat
- Do not eat fast foods
- Keep my fridge stocked with vegetables
- Make all my dinners at home (unless its a special occasion)
When your body is properly fueled, it stops having wild cravings – which makes maintaining a healthy diet much easier. Eventually, you will find that you do not miss a lot of the foods you previously could not live without. Give it a try, and remember to track all of your progress!
If you are looking for some great recipes, check out the below websites. They are full of flavorful options: