When I decided I wanted to lose weight, I started with the simplest way I could think of. That was eating less, counting calories, and running. I have to be honest, I did lose weight this way. However, it changed my relationship with food.
I was at my parent’s house one night and they had a bunch of snacks for myself and their other guests. The spread had all my favorites including chocolate chip cookies, lemon meringue pie, and irresistible Doritos. I had a little of everything and managed to not go overboard, but the minute I started digesting I felt anxious. I went upstairs to my old bedroom and laid in the bed, because the anxiety was creeping into my entire body. My mom came upstairs to see where I had gone and the minute we started talking I was also crying.
I was sure I was going to gain all 20 pounds I had lost back, and fail at what I had worked so hard at. It was then that I got a reality check that I had to completely change my relationship with food and exercise. Here’s what I learned:
Put The Scale Away For One Month
The scale can be a useful tool, but it can also be a cruel one. Say you went overboard on a night out. You accidentally ate half the tin of buffalo chicken dip, and a few too many corndogs. Why would you even get on the scale other than to punish yourself? Don’t do it! You don’t want to have that relationship with the scale.
I only get on the scale if I know I have been killing it within my diet and fitness so it becomes reward and reminder of what I am working towards instead of a punishment.
Getting out of the habit of checking your weight makes it easier to focus on how your body feels. You become more in tune with the choices you make about how active you are and what you are eating.
Focus on Balancing Your Food Groups Instead Of Counting Calories
It is hard for your body to gain muscle when it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs. Focusing on getting servings of all the major food groups will help you find balance in each meal without feeling restricted. I generally eat a breakfast that is 600 calories or more everyday. Which back in the day would have sounded like a lot to me. But, it is a well balanced meal that keeps me full for three to four hours so I don’t even care how many calories it is.
Don’t Punish Yourself For Eating Treats
Sometimes you just want something sweet! What I personally like to do is have a glass of water before I decide to treat myself because when you are dehydrated sometimes your body craves sweets. If you really still want that treat don’t feel guilty! Enjoy it because one cookie or piece of pie or scoop of ice cream isn’t going to ruin your healthy lifestyle. Going overboard will. I find when I have restricted myself in the past, I go crazy when I finally get a chance to eat those things. Instead of eating the suggested serving size, I would eat the whole bag.
Let’s say you do have a misstep and eat to the point where you feel sick. Then you just take a step back and take in how it feels when you eat too many sweets. Really think about how your stomach and head hurts, but also think about what caused you to make the choice you did.
Find Healthy Foods You Enjoy Eating
I love sweet things so my favorite healthy foods to make are smoothie bowls. I don’t count calories I just use ingredients that I know work for my body like fresh fruit, protein powder, and nuts. This way, I can create something that tastes like a dessert, but doesn’t have all the added sugar and I am able to give my body the nutrients, it needs. Some of my favorite healthy snacks are dates stuffed with peanut butter, fresh strawberries, and banana chips dipped in homemade guacamole.
Make Your Own Meals
When you go to a restaurant you have no idea what they are putting into your meal. However, making your own meals gives you the power to make something exactly the way you need it to fit your diet.
Let’s say you’re at a restaurant, and you order shrimp scampi. They want it to be delicious so what are they adding? A ton of salt and butter, they are probably using the cheapest pasta they can find, and giving you a humongous portion.
If you make shrimp scampi for yourself you can use less butter and salt. And I am not saying salt and butter are bad I am just saying one meal doesn’t need to use an entire stick of butter to make it delicious. Using fresh seafood and some whole wheat pasta will get you more nutrients. Finally, you get to decide how much or how little you want, maybe even making extra to eat another day. The fresh ingredients and spices should be helping you create a delicious and satisfying meal that tastes even better than the restaurant. On top of that, your wallet will be thanking you too!
When it comes to food, my journey has been a winding one. I went from being an athlete in high school to a Mountain Dew drinking college student. Then from a young adult just trying to eat three meals a day and living on snacks, to trying to create a healthy lifestyle when my friends favorite activity is drinking heavily. I am still just taking it day by day because that is all you can do.
I hope this was helpful and that you tell me your favorite healthy snacks in the comments down below.