I know that it difficult, I know that it is hard sometimes, I know that the shifts and changes of your diet which is a huge part contributing towards your overall lifestyle, takes time and isn’t as simple as saying "I am going to do it from today" or " from this moment forth”.
Firstly, when it comes to making changes don’t set your expectations of yourself so high especially if this is your first time making these changes in your life. Please be gentle when you decide to take charge and make these changes. You should be proud that you have even acknowledged that a change should be made! This is the first step of anything!
Acknowledgement is key here! So well done for even getting this far. Thank you for allowing yourself to be interested in taking upon yourself such a beneficial change or, specifically why I wrote this article, several small changes that hopefully you will see almost instant benefits from.
Here, in this writing, I am hoping to share with you five small shifts that you can make to your everyday consumption and intake to help you with living that little more of a healthy lifestyle.
I am here to tell you that I still go through some tough moments and I know I take into account all the factors that are making me want that extra portion of fries, that slice of Cake, that larger serving of pasta even though I am full. An after analysis I see whether my action is justifiable, (not to others but to myself) and once I have decided "yes, it is" then I enjoy fully that extra serving and I enjoy totally the comfort of every sweet bite. However, if it is not justifiable then more and more it’s easier to self-control my unjust urges.
This writing is to basically share with you the process that I went through and at times still going through to live a little bit of a healthier lifestyle than I did before and I am in hopes that if you have already decided you want to make some changes that you find what I write helpful
We start with what not to do…
1. Please don’t be so hard on yourself if you eat that extra Oreo or you skip the gym
Know that sometimes you need to take rest, know that sometimes other things; like your long working hours taking priority; maybe at times you need that little comfort crash.
Basically, the first “Don’t” is about ensuring that you don’t let overeating take a hold of you where you use food as a default to make you think that you feel better but don’t be so hard on yourself if you need that little pick me up and you go for that second portion.
2. Don’t eat too many carbs!
Now I am not asking you to cut carbs completely but most of us don’t move our body enough or exert enough energy in one day to even out the carbohydrates that we consume on any given day.
Load up on fruits and vegetables and keep the pasta, rice and bread to a minimum.
My overall rule when it comes to eating is "If it comes out almost as fast as it goes in it’s a good sign” I feel that here my system is getting the nutrients that it needs, my digestive system is not working overtime to try and digest stodgy, heavy foods keeping me in my digestion mode throughout the day leaving me bloated and uncomfortable before its time to have dinner and I’m still digesting lunch.
Keep it light, keep it bright and keep the heavy, sugar producing foods for the days when you find yourself doing physical activity.
3. Don’t eat if you aren’t hungry.
This is the number one thing where I think that most of us go wrong especially if we find ourselves in a working office environment where all we are offered is tea with sugar, chocolate and biscuits.
Its about getting used to what it feels like to be hungry.
In this ‘Don’t’ I will sneak a ‘Do’ in here to say drink water instead of consuming food when you are not actually hungry. This is a big game changer as most of the time when we feel hungry, we are craving hydration. But what sounds better to you, drinking room temperature plain water or taking that bag of crisps and enjoy every single one? I know!!! I get it!!
4. Don’t think that eating plant based or healthier is like eating rabbit food.
This is a restricted, tunnel vision belief and one that doesn’t support your desire to become the healthier version of yourself.
The world of healthy, plant-based cuisine is endless with creativity, possibility and flavour equal to that of an unhealthy and meat-eating diet. Know this, believe this and from here you can work on your creative side in the kitchen making bright, light, healthy and satisfying dishes.
5. Don’t allowing slacking off to overtake you, this leads you falling very quickly back into your old ways and routines.
Try to stay on track, stay committed. Ensure that your word and your discipline mean something, not to anyone else around you but, to you.
Now I have written a few things to avoid and it’s time to move onto the things you should do more of during this time of creating a better, healthier version of you…
1. Start to learn to identify with yourself as to why you needed that extra guilt drenched Oreo
Really deep down you know it isn’t the Oreo you have identified as being "guilty" it is your state of mind and identification with that Oreo as being a temptress in your mission to become healthier.
So, this is where we don’t label the externals themselves and their environments as tempters or distractions but where we start to see where the need is coming from.
Here we learn to understand ourselves and the roots of our needs and wants better.
This process is about self-analysis and questioning ones intent when it comes to what and how much food we consume.
2. Stock up on the salads that you love and fill up on that before you even touch the protein or carbs.
This is one of my personal tricks, well not actually a trick but it works for me like magic.
Now, I love food! Really, ask my friends and family – there is no doubt about that! I can also relate to that feeling of full that most of us desire. So what to do?
This is where I started making a large bowl of salad with every meal. An before you ask ; no I don’t skip the salt; no I don’t skip the honey adding; no I don’t skip the olive oil. I make a nice desirable taste infused salad usually larger than two of my meals put together and I eat a ratio of 3 - 1 (3 spoons of salad to 1 spoon of carbs / protein)
I am telling you this was one big game changer for each of my meals! Stock up on the good stuff, don’t leave much space for the heavier stuff.
3. Do start learning to understand what it feels like to be hungry.
The body has 7 "Priorities" and usually we are stuck in the first three, the remaining four priorities are barely experienced by the individual who over eats, and these priorities are where the body restores, replenishes and rejuvenates itself.
Here it is where you may start introducing intermittent fasting, where the body doesn’t consume food for around 16 hours of the day! I know, please don’t stop reading!
I’m serious though, the benefits are endless. I have been doing intermittent fasting for the last six months. Here I don’t eat from around 10pm all the way through until around 2pm the next day.
4. Educate yourself in the world of healthy eating and plant based cuisine as it is here that you will find the key to pandoras health box;
You will begin to understand that anything in moderation is fine to add to a dish; you will learn the many profile components to creating a well-rounded dish; and you will, through this enquiry and investigation understand what the needs are for your body when it comes to proteins, minerals and vitamins to ensure through this transition your body is getting exactly that - what it needs.
5. Cultivate the quality of discipline in the field of your goals.
Overall, we all have some amount of discipline for example we arrive at work on time every day and persevere through endless emails day in and day out - this is discipline also!
But it is now shifting that existing discipline to movement and activity of your body. The discipline to spend more time learning about the shifts that you want to make. It’s about going to the gym on the days where you can’t legitimately justify yourself not to. It’s the discipline you create to learn to just do it. Where there is no fight with yourself anymore. Its Tuesday and my schedule include Spin and weights today and you just go almost as if it was always part of your regular today routine.
This is a nice place to be and I’m telling you it only takes the practice of the quality of discipline to achieve.
One of the most important things overall is to understand and believe that this isn’t TOO HARD. Don’t keep your mind focused on how you can’t do it, how you can’t make the shifts. Every single day people are making these shifts and they are wishing that they did it much sooner.
We want to get ourselves to a space where we keep going and trying until we are habituated in that healthy lifestyle where, sometimes yes - we choose to go home early from that party so we can stay to our commitment of going to do the gym early Saturday morning.
Until its second nature to reach for that full, rich, bright vitamin filled watermelon and enjoy every bite over lunch than to reach for the chocolate bar that provides instant satisfaction but non-lasting pleasure and no real nutrients for the body.
I can honestly say that I would prefer to be productive on an empty stomach than to fill myself so much that my mind can’t think. That I now reach for those slices of fresh pineapple that go for that Snickers bar.
I can honestly say that I don’t even recognise the sweet isle in the supermarkets anymore and the checkout display counter of goodies never catches any of my attention. I don’t like playing along with their tricks anymore.
When you switch to a more conscious and healthier lifestyle you will see that no longer you want to put that shit in your body, your body is now satisfied and for filled with the goodness you have provided it.
Your body will, not long after you start, begin to respond and function more effectively, more efficiently. You will become lighter and have better circulation as you have started to move and work your body and you now feed it well to function optimally.
All these things which at first might seem like experiences out of reach when you first begin. Vry soon after you begin however, with consistency, you will start to experience these inner shifts.
Then a few years later these goals are no longer something you were trying to become. You now are healthy, you now are more active, you now no longer have cravings that overpower your discipline or lack of.
You know what it feels like and want to stay with more energy, better sleep and to hold yourself proud and confident in the shape you wanted with the strength you have gained!
Don’t forget during the process itself, enjoy and try to stay on track even when you fall off the rails at times. Which know, that we all do.
Enjoy what you are trying to obtain and watch the results as they come in like little trophy gifts throughout.
When you look back you will be grateful to yourself for your efforts and at many times throughout the struggles you faced and overcame.
Keep going, you are doing great! x