So, I started this blog promising to keep it one hundred with you guys. Saying I have an unhealthy relationship with food is a severe understatement. But I have a learned a lot from my numerous failures to lead a healthy lifestyle and I’m going to share the tips that help me keep moving forward after a slip-up (aka how I recover from binge eating a 12 pack of ice cream bars…).
Starting a new healthy lifestyle can be quite overwhelming. It really is a simple concept: eat good foods and exercise. However, it’s not always that easy. Personally, I struggle with this every day and almost always make the wrong choices.
I’m patiently waiting for scientists to develop a chocolate that melts fat away.
Growing up I never really learned how to make the correct choices when it came to eating and exercising. When I went off to college and was on my own with no adult supervision, those choices only became worse. (Legit…I am writing this while I have an ice cream bar in my lap. So you know the struggle is REAL.)
I’m not one of those girls that can say she’s tried all of the fad diets and failed. Truthfully, I don’t believe in fad diets, or diets in general, and know I have to make a lifestyle change to combat the damage done. I’ve attempted to make drastic changes in my diet and exercise many times, some with more success than others. Each time I have failed it has gotten me a little closer to figuring out what works best for me.
A lifestyle change to better your health will be different for everyone. I am in no way a medical professional and it is always best to speak with a doctor before making any drastic changes. I have consulted with a health and wellness coach for tips and help as I have incorporated these changes.
Below are just a few things I have found really help me stay on track when trying to stick with a new regimen.
Write out a plan
You are more likely to accomplish something if it is written down. Having a plan on paper solidifies your thoughts and makes it feel like more of a commitment. Even better, share your plan with a friend so it holds you more accountable. Decide your ultimate goal and then come up with a lot of little goals along the way. Maybe it’s increments of weight you wish to lose over time or a commitment to go to the gym a certain number of times in the next month. Map out a doable timeline to accomplish these goals and post it somewhere will you will see it daily (Like I post mine next to the liquor cabinet…HA).
Meal-prepping is key
I have a love/hate relationship with meal prepping. I honestly get excited planning out meals, going to the grocery store and getting everything organized so I can start my prep. Then the following half a day it takes me to do all of the prepping is what I hate. But time and dedication is what makes this process work…UGH I know, a life lesson.
Pick a day that will be easiest for you to spend a few hours cooking and preparing meals for the week. I do my grocery shopping Saturday or Sunday morning and leave Sunday afternoon to get everything ready for the upcoming week. I usually spend half an hour clicking through my saved recipes on Pinterest to gather my meal and ingredient list for grocery shopping. Check out my Pinterest board for meal prep ideas that have helped me.
The process of cooking everything in one afternoon can be exhausting, but coming home after a long day of work and knowing I don’t have to spend time cooking is worth it. This keeps me from grabbing fast food or eating a bag of chips for dinner (Yes, I have done that before…).
Jot Down a list of foods to avoid > trigger foods
I decided to implement this because I would repeatedly find myself saying “Oh, I’ll just have this one cookie.” You can never have just one fucking cookie. One cookie turns into three cookies which turns into a cupcake which turns into sadness and regret. We don’t have any room in our lives for sadness and regret!
So write down a list of foods that are your weakness and what I call “trigger foods” which will send you down a bad path and throw you off track. Mine include most sweets, chips and high-carb foods such as pasta and pizza (all the good shit, right?). Now just because you list these does not mean you can never taste these delicious foods again, it just means that for the foreseeable future you should try to cut these out.
I had to come to terms with the fact that there just may be some foods I can never control myself around. If you feel the same way you have to make a decision if you want to eliminate these indefinitely or just allow that to be a weak area you choose to have. There is no right or wrong answer in this case. If you choose to keep a trigger food in your life then make the commitment to buckle down even more if you let it get out of hand.
Give yourself rewards
So, after you’ve given yourself mini goals along your journey to a healthy lifestyle, you should go ahead and reward yourself once you achieve them. PUT THAT DONUT DOWN. I do not recommend rewarding yourself with food. There are plenty of other ways to congratulate yourself without turning to food or sweets. Some of my favorite non-food rewards are treating myself to a new pair of shoes, a new hairdo, or a new outfit to highlight the work I’ve been doing (Someone needs to see this Jlo booty I’ve been working on).
Get your ass to the gym – NO EXCUSES
…or find a workout routine that you enjoy. Obviously, a big part of leading a healthy lifestyle is exercising regularly. I feel if there was ever a perfect person to be the poster child for finding reasons to NOT go to the gym, it would be me. I have been in gym clothes and ready to go and talked my ass into staying home to watch TV because I was too “tired.”
If this sounds like you, let the excuses go. Once I quit giving excuses and started going to the gym regularly I actually started enjoying it. I used to think those people that acted like they looked forward to going to the gym were damn liars. But now I kind of get it. Taking care of yourself makes you happy which encourages to keep doing what is working.
For me, I kept it simple and began with the basics at the gym within my apartment complex. I also found Groupons for personal training sessions that I attended. I figured out pretty quickly that I had no idea what to actually do once I was in the gym, so I figured a trained professional could assist me.
If you find a routine that is working for you, such as going to the gym after work, then stick with it. If you find yourself dreading this maybe try switching it up. It could be as simple as changing the time that you go to the gym. If not, try looking for local classes, finding a workout partner, or doing some at home videos.
No matter what you choose to do, if you’re keeping yourself moving and burning the appropriate number of calories you should start to see some progress.
One of my biggest problems were the food delivery apps I had in the palm of my hand 24/7. I had at least 3 apps that I could order food from to be delivered to my door in less than an hour. Not good. So if you have a similar temptation, eliminate it before it becomes a problem. I deleted these apps and also unsubscribed to any food related emails. It’s tough to escape the lure of the beast when restaurants send you email coupons, so I stopped this before it became a problem.
Also, I suggest doing a fridge and panty clean out. Yes, even throw out that “emergency” pint of ice cream you keep in the back of the freezer.
These days it seems most outings are centered around food. Events with food available, dinner with friends, a coworker’s birthday. In these situations, try to plan ahead as best as possible or just prepare for the unknown.
If you are going to dinner with friends, take some time to look at the menu beforehand. Maybe you’re going to an event and know they will have food available. If this information is not listed online, give them a call to see what the menu will look like. You never know when someone will bring treats for the office. In this case, your meal prepping will come in handy. If you already have your prepared lunch and snacks say NOT TODAY SATAN to those donuts your coworker brought in.
Don’t let slipups result in setbacks
This is definitely me. I would start the week off strong, eating my planned meals, going to the gym, doing everything right. Then come midweek and someone brought breakfast tacos for the office. I’d give in, have one and feel incredibly guilty and I would throw the rest of my plan for the week out the window.
Don’t let this happen to you. One bad decision does not tank the whole day/week. Let it be just what it is: one bad decision. Don’t be hard on yourself or that one bad decision will turn into 5 bad decisions. We’re allowed to make mistakes. Turn those feelings of guilt into motivation to kick the rest of the week’s ass.
I can say with completely transparency that I do not stick to all of the above. I am still new to my healthy eating journey so I’m constantly having slipups and learning new ways to keep myself accountable.
These are just a few tips that have helped me begin to lead a healthier lifestyle. I am always on the lookout for new ways to make this process easier. Share your advice in the comments and tell me what works best for you when trying to make healthier choices.