A little disclaimer before I get started is that I am not a nutritionist or a doctor or anyone like that – I am simply speaking from my own advice and it can’t hurt to consult a professional if you need further advice before making any serious changes to your diet.
I hope you all had a chance to read the first part of this post about exercising. If you haven’t, check it out here.
As promised, this is my second post about eating. So, kind of like exercising, eating healthy is one of those things that you should probably do, but you don’t necessarily have to do anything seriously extreme.
What happened to me was that I was eating to much, and having to many “unhealthy” things. Since I would eat a lot of fruit, veggies, and meat, it was easy to ignore it for a long time but eventually I accepted that my diet was a serious detriment to being healthier.
They say that losing weight is something like 80% what you eat and 20% how you exercise. I’ve also heard it at 70% diet and 30% exercise, or 90% diet and 10% exercise. But no matter how you put it, diet has at least a little but more to do with your healthy lifestyle than exercise does, which is why I think that making healthy choices for food is more important than exercising. Like let’s say you have a really bad week, and you don’t have time to exercise, well, that sucks. But in this busy week, you still have to eat – if you don’t have time and if you have to choose between the apple or the chocolate bar on the counter, you should grab the apple.
So I ended up visiting this personal trainer guy who kept pushing this extreme diet on me. I wasn’t allowed to eat carbs (no noodles, no bread, no rice, no potatoes), or sugar (no cake, no cookies etc.) and no junk food (no crackers, no pop, no fast food, etc.) and I had to limit my fruit intake because that had to much sugar as well. And then I needed to eat more avocados, more fish, more chicken, more protein shakes, and eat less steak. For me, that was insane, he basically wanted to put me on the kind of diet that weight lifters, marathon runners, and other high end athletes may choose to follow, and I was supposed to just embrace it and enjoy it despite the fact that I don’t like fish or avocado enough to want to stock up on it and eat it 500 times a week. He wouldn’t listen to me when I said that was to much for me and basically told me I would never lose weight if I had the audacity to eat a piece of whole wheat bread at breakfast on a regular basis. And that approach is untrue because that’s ridiculous. If that is how you want to eat, then that is ok, I know many people who run marathons or are serious weight lifters and they eat similar diets to this. But I firmly believe that are similar to this is comparative to becoming a vegetarian, a vegan, or following the paleo diet. They all fall into that category where IF that is what you want to do, then it is ok, but it shouldn’t be necessarily (and it isn’t). No one should be made to believe that the only way to lose weight and be healthy is by restricting what they can and cannot eat by crazy amounts.
Sometimes we are better off if we see a nutritionist. I know that “healthy eating” is readily available on the internet, but as you can see from my experience, what you are accessing isn’t necessarily “for you”, and seeing a trained nutritionist can be highly beneficial because they can tailor a diet AND exercise plan to your unique needs. Many people are diabetic, are lactose intolerant, have allergies, have celiacs disease, or have other special dietary requirements that make seeing a nutritionist even more of a potential positive benefit. But seeing a nutritionist isn’t a requirement, if it isn’t something that is accessible, then that’s ok.
One important thing to do is to make realistic goals. Don’t make yourself change 100% overnight, it’s not easy to do, just identify things in your diet that need to change. If you’re eating out 3-4 times a week, focusing on cutting back to 2 times a week, then 1 time a week, then every other week, then just for special occasions. It is ok to take the time to gradually cut back. Same with things like if you are eating to many cookies or brownies or chips. Just cut back gradually so that it’s just an occasional treat. And I also think it is perfectly find to occasionally go out for supper or have a damn brownie, they’re delicious.
Secondly, make sure you know how much you really need to be eating. Like NO ONE needs to eat a 10 ounce steak. That’s like the size of my damn face, when really, a steak should be around the size of the palm of your hand – a perfect piece of meat should be around 5 or 6 ounces. A chicken breast is probably a little bigger then that, but I find that chicken and fish don’t tend to be the problem – it’s the super fatty meat like beef, pork and lamb. People do not need to eat truck loads of bread, you don’t even need to eat carbs at every single meal (I try to cut bread/noodles/rice etc. out of at least one meal a day). And finally, you don’t need 1/3 of a cup of rice, that’s WAY to much, 1/4 of a cup of rice is far more ideal. (PS. let’s just get to the “no white bread” of this talk right now – white bread is a bunch of empty, nutritionless calories, eating whole wheat, whole grain, quinoa or flax seed bread so sooooo much better for you, and it is delicious). My point here is that once you identify the healthy things to eat, it’s important to be mindful of quantity, people over eat so often.
Third, eat when your hungry. I’m not saying to starve yourself though. Personally, there is a super fine line for me – if I get to hungry, my blood sugar crashes and then I feel crabby and irritable and might actually bite someones head off. So some people have to eat small amounts on a regular basis, but some people don’t need to eat hardly at all. I find personally that my ideal amount of calories is around 1500 to 1650 calories and that I do best with a decent sized breakfast, a smaller lunch, a small mid afternoon snack, and a decent supper. A decent supper prevents me from snacking all night long. But everyone has to find their own rhythm. One of my best friends does better eating very small portions around 6-7 times a day. We are all different, and it can take a little while to figure out that rhythm. But what I think is important is to eat because your body needs it and because you are hungry etc. – and not because you are bored. It’s not the easiest thing to learn, I used to eat when I got bored, and it took a while to learn how to catch myself and tell myself “no, stop, you’re not even hungry”, although, I also tend to eat less when I am really stressed out and busy, but that’s a whole other story.
Next, explore the grocery store, like seriously there are so many cool things to eat. I don’t eat dairy on a daily basis any more because it just doesn’t agree with my stomach if I have to much of it, so I save dairy for “special occasions” and choose to have “alternate” things like almond milk and other things with calcium in it. By choosing to not have as much dairy, I went out and learned about all the sorts of things about what kind of alternatives were available to me if I didn’t plan to consume dairy. Turns out there are tons of cool things to do with almond milk and beans and tofu and stuff. There are a lot of cool things to try out like quinoa (wonderful, extremely healthy alternative to always eating rice, bread, potatoes, and noodles), and almond and rice flour are really tasty. Cook books and Pinterest are also super useful to get recipes for these interesting foods I recommend. The Gwyneth Paltrow cook book, what ever it’s called, has a ton of wonderful recipes that are super healthy. You are not required to eat organic, but there are also labels on foods for when they are organix, GMO free, fair trade and stuff like that, so when you have the chance, it’s a good idea to pick up these options if it is a realistic possibility.
Finally, have fun with it. It’s ok to cheat sometimes, and I think you need to look at eating healthy as a fun endeavour, not as a torturous occasion. Like you can learn how to cook all of these different things, you can try cool new foods, and you can figure out what you do and do not like. Like I, for one, think that tofu is extremely weird, if it is in Asian dishes then it’s good, but I have no idea how to deal with it myself. My every attempt to cook with tofu comes out strange, squishy and not very good tasting. I guess not everyone likes cooking, but I think there are ways to learn to enjoy it more. Or maybe you can look at it like me – I hate cleaning but I love having a clean home so I clean because I enjoy the end product. So if you love food, maybe you can love the end product (eating) if you hate cooking.
Hopefully you enjoyed this post.