Diet. That word alone brings about eye rolls, deep sighs, shoulder shrug, thoughts of disappointment, stress, tedious. Healthy living has become a task to so many people rather than a way of life. What food to buy, what not to drink, how to cook this, why not to eat that, how much of this; the list of questions is endless. When things seem endless, it makes you not even want to start! Especially when you don't know where to begin. Here I have 5 easy ways to start your transition into a healthier lifestyle [keyword to remember is LIFETSYLE; there is no time frame this needs to be done, this is life]
1. Do ONE Thing at a Time- Do not try to cut out sugar, soda, bread, fried food, and alcohol all at ones. Seriously. Your body is acclimated to these foods that you eat everyday. When you take them away so suddenly, your body goes into a sort of shut down mode and you will begin to crave what you are forbidding yourself to eat. Instead of taking them all at once, do it one at a time. If fries are your thing, take away fries for 2 weeks. If you drink 4 sodas a day, try drinking only 2 or 1 a day. By gradually decreasing your intake of these foods, you are building your resistance towards it at the same time. Eventually you will be able to get rid of them and not even crave them!
2. Substitute One for the Other- Unhealthy foods always have a healthy alternative. For example, instead of having a baked potato [loaded] have a sweet potato with minimal butter. Instead of having ground beef for dinner, have ground turkey [it literally tastes the same, if not better] If you are craving something crunchy, reach for carrots not chips. There is always a healthier version of what you are craving, you just have to look for it!
3. Deal with Cravings- A healthy lifestyle does not mean you can't enjoy what you eat. Food should make you happy, especially when it is good for you. Of course there are those moments where you just really want some chocolate or cake or some fries. Well guess what? GO FOR IT. *But you just said give them up* Yes I did BUT you must also listen to your body. If that is what you want at the moment and you can't wait another week for it then have it. The catch is portion control. Do not eat an entire bag of chips or 6 Oreos. Absolutely not. Eat a handful of chips and 3 oreos; just enough to satisfy your craving and move on.
4. Do Not Hold Grudges- Do not think you have to be perfect everyday of your life and you fail if you cheat and have McDonalds for lunch. There is always tomorrow. When you start to discourage yourself, you believe that you will not reach your goal and then you never do.You are your own worst critic and I am saying don't be so hard on yourself!
5. Water, Water, and More Water- Plain and simple, drink more water. You hear it all the time and you will continue to hear it until you do it. Water cleanses you inside and out. You skin will clear up, your body will feel clean, you will feel energized, your cravings will subside and you will lose weight! It is the ultimate win!
Remember you are TRANSITIONING. This does not happen overnight or in one year; for some it may but generally for most it will not. It is going to take a lot of time, patience and commitment. Eventually you will be able to eat clean, not crave bad foods and exercise regularly to the point where it becomes not a habit or a task that needs to be done but a lifestyle.