I’ve discussed on this blog honestly and openly about my relationship with food, weight loss, and healthy living. I wanted to share with the world a few tips that have kept me feeling inspired while I was focusing on losing weight, and even more importantly, how I have continued to live a lifestyle dedicated to my health and happiness 🙂
The reason that “weight loss” is between quotation marks in this titleis because weight loss has played a role – but has definitively not been the only factor that has contributed to myself embarking on and living a healthier lifestyle. I am not underestimating the fact that losing weight has been a huge part of my journey towards health – but simply not the only part. I have achieved my “weight loss” goals in the past, watching the numbers on the scale go down as I stalked up on packaged diet foods and continued living a life without much activity… and then they slowly crept back up again as I slipped back into unhealthy patterns of living and eating. I focused on being “thin” but never really changed how I thought about what I was putting into my body as well as my lack of activity. This time was different and never before have I felt more in tune with my body and mind. I truly believe that this is because my focus has not exclusively focused on my weight but on truly feeling healthier inside and out as well as stronger and much more active.Here, I discuss some of the things that have kept me inspired as well as the benefits I’ve personally achieved from learning to truly enjoy food as well as since changing; the way I eat, my mindset and my day-to-day lifestyle. These benefits surpass the weight loss goals I at first had in mind by any means.
These tips I’ve picked up along the way can benefit anyone wanting to work towards living a healthier lifestyle (regardless of weight loss). They are meant to keep you feeling inspired and more in touch with your mind and body when it comes to food and activity – Here we go 🙂
❤ Love yourself unconditionally as a complete and unique whole – this includes your body and your mind exactly how they are at this moment.
Love yourself as you are right now at this moment. This means stop comparing yourself to others. Your body is a unique and beautiful whole in itself. Practice telling yourself that you love your body – even the parts that you find harder to love. Whenever you hear a negative thought flashing through your mind push it away and remind yourself of all the amazing things you are capable of as an amazing and unique human being.This goal of mine is one that I am always working on and is not something that magically occurs overnight. Somehow self-love does not always come as easy as one might think and is easier some days than others. If all else fails, I remind myself that I love myself, love myself, love myself… 🙂
❤ Drop the guilt.
It is so easy to get tied up in a cycle of guilt about so many things in life – especially food.Enjoy your food and never allow yourself to feel guilty about enjoying food in general. If you eat too much or too quickly simply for the sake of eating try to understand why you fell into this negative pattern instead of beating yourself up over it. Guilt is not constructive & never leads to a healthy pattern of eating, living, and happiness. Freeing myself of guilt has been so freeing – I truly enjoy my food now. If I do eat too much (we all do it from time to time) I never beat myself up about it. I move on and focus on eating healthier and more proportioned at my next meal.
❤ Forget the word diet ever existed.
Dieting blows (there, I said it!). It not only takes the enjoyment out of eating but also is only a short term fix. So many of the diets out there are difficult to maintain in the long run and put your body in starvation mode. We need calories to exist as well as to keep our body functioning to the best of its ability! It is much more beneficial to focus on eating the right foods rather than living a life of deprivation based on the latest diet fad. Forget this dirty four letter word and think in terms of health and nourishment instead of diet and deprivation. I started dieting when I was 12 with the latest Hollywood juice cleanses, low-carb diets, grapefruit diets (I just might have tried them all…) and they always left me feeling deprived emotionally and spiritually as well as often very hungry (and grumpy). I would lose weight and then within weeks the diet (which is impossible to keep while also maintaining a happy, social life) would come to a halt while I succumbed to cravings and my previously not-so-good eating habits.
❤ Calm down and de-stress.
It is so easy to mindlessly eat out of stress and anxiety instead of as a source of nourishment and pleasure. Doing something simple, like taking 5 minutes a day for yourself to calm down does wonders in avoiding emotional and stress eating. I took up meditation and yoga each morning to deal with the stress of being a busy student while working at the same time. As long as I can remember I’ve eaten as a source of comfort or emotion – doing yoga and being active on a regular basis keeps me more in tune with my mind and body. This has lead me to focus on enjoying my food as well as avoiding mindless stress eating.
❤ Be active – introduce a little bit of activity, each day into your life…
You will be amazed what your body and mind are capable of achieving. Also, let’s face it, when we are active we simply feel better and are more likely to eat right! For me this meant starting with 10 – 20 minutes of yoga in the morning followed by a ten minute online workout as well as starting to walk as my main means of transportation. Eventually I started running and am now preparing for my first 16 km race! This just shows how a little bit of activity over time truly adds up!
❤ Take baby steps.
Focus on asmall goal for yourself that you want to overcome or improve upon. Work on maintaining that feat and then continue to work on the next step towards health. Rome wasn’t built in a day and living a healthier lifestyle does not occur overnight either. One of my first steps towards living a healthier lifestyle was this next step …
❤ Make fruits and veggies the staple in your diet.
Hello veggie power!! Discover the power of fruits and vegetables to keep you going, glowing and satisfied. They provide you with so much nourishment to continue on with your day feeling energized and ready to take on anything! Whenever I eat a snack or meal I make sure that I try to make sure that the the fruits and/or veggies are the main part of my meal. One of my biggest concerns when I started changing the way I eat was that I was going to be hungry all the time, let’s just say, with all the fruits and veggies I eat there is no way I could ever feel hungry.
❤ Fill up on whole, real foods.
If you don’t understand what is on the label than you probably do not want whatever it is that has been manufactured in this so-called food in your body. In the last 20 years processed foods claiming to be healthy (we all know those “100 calories” snacks too well) are pumped full of sugar, salt and preservatives. Plus, filling up on nutritious real foods make you feel better! If you are eating nutritious real foods, your body will naturally tell you when you have had enough – this is not the case with foods full or processed fats, sugar, and sat that are designed to make you eat and crave more and more and more… When I started eating healthier I did rely a bit on low fat snacks and diet foods when I craved a sweet snack (this is not necessarily a bad thing and can be a big help in switching over from the standard American diet to a healthier one…), compared to now, I feel allover much better relying on whole foods made out of real healthyingredients I actually understand [Hello organic dark chocolate!] 😉
❤ Treat yourself, a little bit, everyday.
It is not always necessary to cut out that one thing you love out of your life and let’s be honest cutting it out completely usually leads to no good. Instead work it into your day-to-day in a healthy and balancedway. I cannot imagine a life without chocolate, so I make sure to eat a bit of dark chocolate each day to satisfy my chocolate craving. I often keep my chocolate squares (or my healthy baked goods) portioned and frozen in the freezer so I can defrost and truly enjoy them one piece at a time.
❤ After eating, try to think about how your last mood has left you feeling.
Remember this feeling [satisfied? energized? bloated? upset stomach?] and plan your next meal accordingly. Eat the foods that make you feel at your best ! For me this means eating lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes and beans (haha!) and avoiding foods full of white flour, sugar etc.
❤ Never let yourself go hungry.
Carry a snack with you at all times [like chopped carrots, an apple, a handful of nuts…]. Intense hunger leads to overeating which is never a good thing. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it. I eat 3 meals as well as snacks in between to keep me satisfied throughout the day as well as to avoid overeating at mealtime. If you’re hungry and we are out together – just ask, I always seem to have an apple in my purse just in case 😉
❤ Be aware of what you are putting in to your body
Do what works for you [such as logging what you eat using an online app, food journal…] – the most important is knowing what you are putting into your body! I started out using weight watchers and I really liked and still like the points+ system which is (for the most part) nutritionally based on the amount of fiber, protein, carbs and fat in food. This kept me on track in the beginning (from a time when I ate whatever I wanted – the only criteria being if it tasted good) and helped me to be aware of what I was eating in general! Now, after becoming a bit more in tune with my body, I seem to be coming to a point where I naturally now what my body needs in terms of how active I am etc. – I still often use the point+ system when when I feel like I need to be logging my food.
❤ Put sabotaging foods, friends and thoughts in their place.
Figure out what it is that has sabotaged your journey towards healthy living in the past and set your boundaries. This might sound harsh but surrounding yourself with healthy people, thoughts, and food are all central to healthy living. Once, you have decided what you are working towards don’t let anybody or anything get in the way of your health or happiness. Activity and eating are such social acts and often doing them with others, not only inspires the ones around you, but also keeps you and others motivated on this journey together!I made it clear to the people around me my lifestyle change and also invited others to join in on my healthy and active endeavours – we even started a running club at work. This kept (and keeps) me motivated and inspired. There were certain foods I did not want to have around as I started losing weight, gradually I worked these foods back into my life in a healthy manor when I felt comfortable.
❤ Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments – forget the all-or-nothing approach.
You are human and you will sometimes slip up. Move on. It is not the end of the world – work on doing a bit better next time. Instead, focus on the positive and how far you have come instead of one measly little slip up 🙂 Whenever a run or a day isn’t going as well eating-wise, I remind myself of the times I literally couldn’t run to the end of the block to catch the bus without pantingand collapsing or my unhealthy eating habits in the past. I feel a sense of pride and happiness knowing I have worked towards a healthier, happier version of myself and focus on my accomplishments and doing a bit better the next time around instead of entering into a cycle of guilt and negativity.
❤ Enjoy your food – slow down, sit down and enjoy each bit of your meal.
Never stop enjoying food and all of the positive experiences which occur around food (I feel like practically every occasion is food oriented!). Food is something that is soo social which is why we should never have to stop enjoying it or let it get in the way of living a social and happy life. When you are eating a meal, take the time to sit down and slowly enjoy it including all the flavours, sensations and beauty it brings to your day. This is often not easy on a busy schedule, but when possible, make the time you eat a time where you connect with yourself, others, your plate and even the world around you. This feels so much better than shoveling down your entire plate without even tasting it or forcing down the cabbage soup in your week long starvation diet. Food is something to be enjoyed. This is something that I am still working on and will always be working towards. Food is such a source of happiness and pleasure for me – I love sharing food with people I love as well as the social aspect of food in general. Working towards a healthier lifestyle has in many ways enhanced this experience because now I love sharing my healthier treats with others as well as the fact that I now seem to enjoy my food even more as I savour it and take the time to enjoy each bite of it.
These tips are intended to make you feel better about yourself as well as being able to live each day more fully and to the best of your ability. The benefits I have reaped from changing my attitude towards food and activity cannot be summed up in this (lengthy) blog post – I have never felt in a better state of health, more energized and happier inside and out. These are the true benefits of embarking on a lifestyle that is better for you – not just the numbers going down on the scale. Thank you for reading this! Sending love from my kitchen to yours ❤
Share your spin on this: What are some of your health tips? What keeps you motivated?
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