I’m a sweet tooth.
There I said it, this addiction of mine is insatiable. Chocolates, gummies, licorice, taffy… if it contains sugar I will eat a quadruple serving bag of it and wonder why I didn’t buy one more for good measure.
A HEALTHY BODY GUIDE IN 5 STEPS
I got into the ridiculous habit of anticipating a sweet something after every meal and that sweet something was guaranteed to add 600-900 empty calories to my daily intake. I would justify this anyway I could. I deserved a treat for how hard I worked right?
As I watched Instagram image after image of amazing bodies in cosplay outfits and powerful women lifting incredible amounts of weigh almost effortlessly I began to wonder if I was at all happy with my own. Yes yes… we should LOVE our bodies as they are and that’s nice in theory but I wanted to love mine more.
So is was time to make simple changes to my diet by adopting a few easy to follow steps that don’t feel like “Dieting” because let’s face it…. “Dieting” sucks.
1. If it has more then one ingredient I can’t pronounce, I don’t eat it. In theory this plan keeps me shopping the main food groups; fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and grains. The less ingredients I ingest the more healthy it feels to me. Some of my favorite vegetables choices easily double as items that are less then stellar for me and to be honest? When cooked right they even taste better.
2. Now I won’t say I’m a vegetarian, but I’ve certainly shifted what I enjoy to include more ground grown foods and less ground walking foods. There are a million substitutes for chicken and beef out there that taste as good if not better then the real thing.. Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods carry an amazing selection of healthy alternatives to the standard American fare. I’m not talking about Tofu so stop gagging… I’m talking about Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, Chicken Patties and a million other items that will tickle your taste buds.
Now let me be honest, there is no honest substitute for a thick and juicy steak and I won’t guide you into a moral argument designed to guilt you into a Vegetarian or Vegan menu. However, if you decide that your lifestyle needs a kick in the health ass? Then consider substituting an alternative option a few times a week to see how it feels. BUT if this just ISN’T an option for you? Then look to lean choices like chicken, lean beef, fish fillets and shell fish.
3. Create an all encompassing grocery list. I hate when food has to be complicated. Though I love trying new things and cooking, I don’t love having to work at creating meals. I’m a busy girl with a husband and I full time career so easy meal plans and simple groceries are my go to, to keep me on track.
Zucchini, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Cucumber, Green Beans, Garlic, Spaghetti Squash, Anything else you think you might like… Eggplant for instance is a great option for Italian dishes!! I* don’t tend to eat many salads, though I LIKE salad, I’m prone to letting those leafy bags of grass go bad after having just one bowl. PLUS, the calories in most salad dressing add up fast.
Melon (Honey Dew or Cantaloupe), Blueberries (any berry really), Peaches, Mango, Bananas, Cherries, Plums, Pears and/or Grapes. Fruit is the best substitute for a sweet tooth and I have a mouth full of them.
Brown Rice, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Granola, Chia Seeds, Gluten Free Pasta, Gluten Free Breads or Sprouted Breads (I avoid regular breads and pastas for my skin, but you don’t have to), Cereal, Chips (Veg-chips or organic) Oatmeal Lentils or Quinoa.
Earth Balance Butter, Almond Milk, Almond Cheese, Tofruiti Sour Cream, Greek Yogurt (Again I avoid most dairy for my skin, try to get hormone free dairy if you can) Jarred Organic Spaghetti Sauce and Olive Oil.
Trader Joe’s Brand Italian Sausage, Quorn Brand ANYTHING, Beyond Beef Beef Crumbles, Eggs (Organic), Morning Star Farms Burgers and more! OR you can select organic meats that avoid the hormone injections that may lead to cancers, skin conditions and even weight gain.*
Finally. WATER WATER WATER. Drink lots of it. I love tea and have 2-3 cans of caffeine free diet soda a day with meals. I AM trying to find a great organic soda that has no aspartame, but until then I often have Sam Choice Lemonade.
4. CALORIES. I don’t mean to scare you, I really don’t but calories play an important part in controlling your weight. Does that mean you need to painstakingly count every last morsel that goes into your mouth? Well, maybe. Your methods of watching your diet are entirely up to you. But to count calories without actually counting calories the best thing you can do is learn portion sizes!!The jury is still fighting 50/50 if the road to success equals cals in cals out or macros plus calories or carbs are bad or… well you get the point. The only way to change your lifestyle without going completely mad is to ignore all of the advice and find out what works for you by just gauging how you feel and watching what your weight does from week to week. Not one thing works for everyone because everyone comes to the table with different metabolisms, genetic make-up, medical conditions, ages and preferences. SO without spending $$ on a nutritionist start with just eating healthy. Use a BMI calculator to find your daily caloric needs, subtract 500 and BOOM you are on your way to loosing. DON’T get discouraged if it’s only a pound a week… that’s normal. Remember it took you months to years to get to the weight you are at so don’t anticipate a 20 pound loss next week. Besides, the only way to maintain your ideal weight is to change your life… short term or quick loss diets will end in you miserable and re-gaining it all plus some.
5. I mentioned calorie counting. Will lets do it the easy way! I like to find foods that are 100 to 150 calories per serving. With every meal I incorporate 3-5 of those foods totaling 13-14 foods a day and Voila!! 1300-1400 calories. How easy is that? I even pre-weigh and package foods that come in a loose format so when it’s time to cook I’m not wasting time worrying about how much of what I should have.
IF that’s not your cup of tea? I recommend MyFitnessPal, I use it especially to check on foods are restaurants where the calorie count isn’t readily available.
There are a million websites and bloggers who share AMAZING recipes for healthy, vegetarian or vegan meals. Some will even fool your family in case you wish to share your changes with your loved ones. But with the staples I listed above I can make the following dishes:
- Scrambled Eggs and Sausage (I like mine over rice with Mushroom Gravy)
- Cereal (of your choice) and Almond Milk
- Greek Yogurt Berries and Granola
- Fruit Smoothies
- Fruit Bowl Snack
- Burger or Italian Sausage with Chips, Sweet Potato Fries or Zuchinni Fries
- Speghetti Squash Marinara with Beef Crumble and Moz-Almond Cheese
- Chik’n Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles (Or regular noodles.. but if you mix the two you get volume!)
- Chicken Stir-fry with Vegetables and Rice
- Beef Stroganoff with Tofruti Sour Cream Sauce
- Beef Chili with Kidney and/or black beansAnd so much more!
Remember, your journey is important to YOU and YOU are the only person who matters when it comes to how you relate to food. People around you WILL have something to say, but those people only say things because they often lack the dedication and focus to swim against the standard American diet. Your health is more important then other peoples desires to derail your progress because they are having difficulty with their own. One thing I like to do as constant encouragement is to find people who inspire me on social media or at the gym. My Instagram and Pinterest are filled with people who lift or train hard because those people are where I wish to be. To have them populate in my feed is a constant reminder of my own goals. You have to do what works for you though. A vision board, photos on your refrigerator, a new group of friends… anything to encourage you to be a better you will inevitably result, in a better you.
Good luck Rockstars,
*This is not proven by the FDA but is a belief of many health conscious scientists NOT subject to lobbyist funding.
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