Hello beautiful people!
The other day I shared 3 tips on my Instagram story that I think could be super useful for anyone looking to better their dietary habits. Due to 15 second allotment for Instagram stories, I was unable to elaborate fully on how these things helped me get to where I am today. Also, I realized that not everybody is even on Instagram! So, I decided to share them on here and hopefully at least 1 of these 3 tips can help somebody start moving towards a direction of overall better health.
First things first. As I said above, these 3 tips are for people looking to improve their dietary habits. These aren’t “how to lose 10 pounds in 5 days” tips, and they aren’t tips to “detox,” “cleanse,” or “speed up your metabolism.” Let me remind you that there is no “quick fix” to weight loss and it has been shown that the best way to SUSTAIN weight loss, is through changes in HABITS.
Second of all, you might be thinking, “why does what Sarah is saying have any validity?” This specific blog post is not based upon scientific evidence. This blog post is specifically my own personal experience and includes the 3 things that helped me
Create a healthy relationship with food
Maintain a weight that I am personally very comfortable and happy in
Establish healthy eating habits
I’ll be honest, I have not always been where I am today. If you read my “About Me” tab on this website, then you know I have gone through many seasons of my health and fitness journey. It has taken me years to find a balance that works for ME, and that process is exactly what I am here to share today!
So, let me get to the point here….
The first thing that helped me get to where I am today is
Being less restrictive with my diet
Have you ever attempted to set “food rules” for yourself?
“I’m giving up sugar for 30 days.”
“I’m not allowed to eat fast food.”
“I can only eat “clean” foods.”
The list goes on of possible food rules people have established for themselves.
I can totally relate because I also had many different food rules!
I have tried following a strict meal plan. I have tried only eating clean. I have tried avoiding sugar. I have tried all of these things. However, I found that the second I told myself I was NOT allowed to have something, it was all I could think about!
When I would go to social events I would find myself obsessing over the junk food and totally overeating just because I knew I would be restricting myself of those kinds of foods after the event was over. This became a vicious cycle of restrict, overeat, restrict, overeat…
When I stopped creating food rules for myself and let myself enjoy the foods I wanted to, I found that I stopped thinking about food all the time. I also found that I would eat lesser amounts of “junk food” because I knew it was no longer off limits!
Food stopped being rare. Food stopped being “bad.” Food is just food and some of it is linked to improved health outcomes, and some of it is not so great for us in excess; but at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with eating everything in moderation.
I became familiar with the composition of foods
I won’t lie, being a nutrition major and having experience with tracking macros has definitely helped me in this area. However, I’ve been reading food labels as a hobby. I could walk up and down the grocery store isles and read food labels all day. Not weird at all, I know.
I look at everything: serving sizes, calories, protein, fat, carbs, sugar, fiber, saturated fat, and ingredients. If you have no idea what foods contain carbohydrates versus fat versus protein in them, then paying attention to food labels is a great way to become familiar with these macronutrients!
I’m not saying to go walk up and down food isles… start with your own pantry.
Look at what a serving size of cereal is and compare that to what you actually pour into the bowl.
Look how many calories are in your salad dressing and compare that to how much you actually use.
Find foods that you eat that are higher in fiber. Do you get any fiber?
Where are you getting your protein from? Are your protein sources heavy in saturated fat too?
Become familiar with what you are putting into your body! The more you understand the composition of foods, the easier building healthy meals can become.
I am conscious with my food decisions
Essentially, I eat foods I crave, but I also make sure to eat foods that are good for my body. I do not restrict the foods I can eat, but I also try to be mindful with my decisions.
Am I really craving sweets, or can I fulfill that craving with something like fruit?
Have I had a vegetable today? If not, I will make an effort to have it at my next meal.
Am I full and just continuing to eat because the food tastes good? Let’s put the fork down and eat more later if I am still hungry.
Can I replace something refined with something more whole? Maybe instead of the cereal, I’ll have whole grain toast with peanut butter, or oatmeal with fresh fruit.
Do I need the sugary Starbucks latte, or can I settle for regular coffee?
It’s taco Tuesday? Sweet, give me ALL the queso!!
Food is absolutely meant to be enjoyed. Food is social and emotional.
Be aware of your cravings. Fulfill your cravings, but also fulfill some important requirements like eating enough fruits and vegetables 😉
The best way to “succeed” in dieting, or eating better overall, or working out more is to create new habits. It has now become a habit for me to look at food labels. It has become a habit for me to drink a lot of water throughout the day. It has become a habit for me to NOT go to McDonalds. It has become a habit for me to workout at least 4 times a week. These things are just a part of me now because I have been practicing them for years. Find small things that you can change; and then build upon those small changes. It absolutely takes time. But the time is going to pass ANYWAY. So instead of doing fad diet after fad diet and losing weight just to gain it all back, try something new! Try creating healthier habits for LONG TERM success.
Hopefully you are able to take something away from this! Thanks for reading!