Over the years, I have tried many different diets on my journey to healthier living. You name it, I’ve tried it. Vegan, Low Carb, Raw, Paleo. I even dipped my toe into the Master Cleanse diet for a day. I know that every body is different, and different strategies are going to maximize different results based on the individual person.
However, I also think that there are some general do’s and don’ts to live by that can be applied to most of us. So whether you’re lost and you need some tips, or your health A-GAME is ON and you just want some reinforcement, you came to the right place. Buckle in for
5 Healthier Food Habits: Do’s and Don’ts
1. DO eat after 8 PM. We’ve all heard of those diets that give deadlines for when we should stop eating in our day. I get it. It’s not good for anyone to be eating mindlessly in front of a screen. However, if you have been running errands all evening and don’t get in the door until 8:30 PM… eat something! If you ate at 5, but you’ve been scrubbing the house up and down for hours… eat something! Eat when you are hungry – who cares what time it is. Hunger cues are an important factor in our relationship with our bodies, and I encourage you to honor them. If it’s late and you’ve got to eat – eat – and do your best to go for something nutrient dense and satisfying.
2. DO eat breakfast. Unless you are fasting with purpose and planning in mind, you should be trying to eat or drink a little something. I cannot stress this enough! Think of your body as a machine, and your metabolism is the engine. You wan’t to get that engine fired up! Get it fired up as soon as you can after waking, and continue with small meals throughout the day to keep it burning. Skipping breakfast also might lead you to make poor (very hungry) decisions at lunch time.
3. DON’T drink diet pop – I know trust me, I drive my sister crazy with this one. If you really need to have a sugary-sweet beverage, try something sweetened with cane sugar or stevia. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda may actually make diet pop just as bad for you as regular soda. In fact, they could be even worse given that we don’t yet know the long-term effects. Some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners may disrupt our bodies abilities to metabolize other more natural sugars. Make a swap and enjoy guilt-free.
4. DO prepare your meals a day or days in advance! So many people successful in eating well and maintaining their ‘goal body’ because they have made meal prep a weekly or twice weekly ritual. Bringing lunch, dinner, and/or snacks out with you more often than not IS the recipe for success. If you have healthy snacks with you, you have a reason to skip the drive through when you start to get hungry. Also, meal prep allows you to have more control and knowledge about what exactly is going into your body. You’ll also save all the money you would have spend eating out. Make yourself something delicious – you deserve it.
5. DON’T punish yourself for eating a crappy meal. Just don’t do it! One bad meal, or even one bad day, is not going to make or break your health. Your health and well-being is a cultivation of the effort you put in day-to-day on a consistent basis, so downing some microwave friendly appetizers on a Friday night isn’t going to kill you. But if you punish yourself, you are going to make yourself feel bad. And if you make yourself feel bad, I can imagine you would be left feeling pretty negatively. Many times, those negative emotions may drive you to eat more junk food to comfort yourself. Don’t feel bad. Simply move forward.
I hope these tips have helped you just a little bit towards becoming a healthier you! Remember – it’s not about being perfect, and a few simple changes can go a long way. You don’t need to restrict yourself. Know that you always have a choice, and perhaps when given the freedom to choose you will find it is easier to make healthy decisions and say “maybe next time” to the other stuff.