Don’t Start a Diet, Start a Lifestyle Change

With a new year comes new goals. If you are like me, your goals this year look a lot like the goals last year! (Goodbye diet) I’m trying to break that cycle and make some real life changing moves this go ’round. I’ve started a community of women also trying to make changes and if you want to join it just click here!

My main focus right now is changing the way I eat. I spent most of 2017 pregnant with my third child. He was born shortly before holiday season so my eating habits for the year where pretty loose, to put it lightly. LOL

I was a chubby kid and young adult, but after high school, I realized the err of my ways and decided to make a change. I lost around 50 lbs and I was more happy and confident than I had ever been. Then I had a kid, and another kid, and another kid…..and here I am. Chubby again!

So, like I said, I’m making changes. Let me first tell you that this is not a diet plan! I don’t want to be on a diet. I’m married with three kids. Also, I don’t want to be a fitness model, I want to be healthy! I want to eat better food so that I feel better and have more energy. The weight loss will come with that, I know, but I’m not going to focus on a scale.

Good Food

The things I’m going to share with you in this post have worked for me in the past. It is not a revolutionary new idea. It’s an idea that works. Use the food you eat to fuel your body, and you will feel better and burn more calories, simply because your body is functioning properly.

What foods am I talking about? Whole food. Fruits, veggies, whole grain, omega 3-6-9 fats, and lean meat. If you eat foods that fuel your body, you don’t have to worry about being on a restrictive diet, because your body uses the food for vitamins, nutrients, and energy, then eliminates the waste.

These are some of the most common foods people eat to stay healthy, but you can pretty much bet that any fruit or veggie will be good for you in some capacity! The more foods on this list you enjoy, the easier it should be for you to change your eating habits to include them.

Make a Change

In order to change the way you eat, you must change the way you think about food. You have to plan a course of action to remove bad eating habits and replace them with healthy ones. But, you have to be selective. No diet is going to work if you are unhappy with the process. You have to pick foods that you (at least somewhat) enjoy eating, and then start to plan your meals.

Another thing you will not see in this post is a rigid meal plan giving you a list of certain things to eat at certain times. I tried that and as much as you would think it made things easier, I couldn’t follow it! I don’t want to know what I’m having for lunch three days from now. What if I’m not in the mood for that?

I had a hard time overcoming this obstacle, but I came up with a way to still keep meal time easy and organized, with out having the “planned” feeling.

Meal Options

When you think about a healthy meal it is usually meat, grain, and veggies. (with 1/2 being made up of the veggies) But grilled chicken gets old fast. You need variety so you can maintain eating healthy foods without feeling like you are bored or missing out. Cue searching the 50,000+ healthy recipes out there!

Again, no need for that. We aren’t on a diet, so we don’t need a stack of fancy keto, whole, paleo cookbooks to get through this. We are changing our lives. A recipe is great, and those diets can be life changing but it’s a quick fix. We need to learn how to put meals together so we can create, not follow, recipes.

As you can see by the graphic, there are so many different meal options that can be very healthy! I don’t ever want to feel like I’m having to force myself to eat. I certainly don’t want to feel like I can’t eat! With the idea of meal options comes unlimited recipes, unlimited ingredients, total customization to the foods you enjoy, and no cookbooks! (Not that cookbooks aren’t part of it and super fun. You just don’t want to spend your life with your nose buried in one!) Can you get on board with that?

Make a Plan

All you do now to plan your week is list 7 breakfast options, 7 lunch options, and 7 dinner options. Save room to fill in what meat, grain, and veggies you plan to use in your meal.I like to do two or three veggies, since it is supposed to be half the meal. It makes meals more visually appealing and that’s important to making your meals appetizing!

Make sure to have a couple healthy snack options for each day too! Fruit and veggies are ideal. Nuts, trail mix, and granola are good options too.

Now, you do need to season those healthy foods, so they have some flavor! Stick to calorie free seasonings and sauces and go light on the salt! Feel free to season your meals generously, but remember salt is not a seasoning, it is a flavor enhancer. Use fresh herbs and 0 calorie season salts for most of the flavoring.

You are recommended to eat your meals at the same time everyday. Doing so will boost your metabolism by teaching your body that it can burn the calories from each meal for fuel because there is more on the way.

Make a List

After you have your meals planned, you can make your grocery list. It’s very important to have a list when you go for groceries if there is anyway you are going to stay with in your budget. Aside from shoppers and coupons, there are some really awesome tips for saving money on groceries here.

I like to clean out my fridge before I go shopping so I can come home and get busy. After shopping I come home and prep as much as I can to save on time. I try to have a bowl of fruit and plate of veggies in the fridge at all times so I have healthy options on hand.

I also separate any large packages of meat and put extra in the freezer. I usually plan a bigger meal for that night so I can use the leftovers for other meals. I may even go ahead and grill or bake some chicken to have for the week. Anything that makes the prep time for each meal quicker.

The Difference

The idea is to make a change, and we all know things don’t change over night. I’m not going to be able to eliminate all the sugar and sodium from my diet today! But if I make up my mind about healthy food and a healthier lifestyle, and focus on what is important for my body first, then I will naturally eat less of those bad foods over time. The results will follow.

Quick Recap:

  • Find whole foods that you enjoy
  • Plan variety of meal options (7 each breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Fill in type of meat, grain, and veg
  • Make sure you have healthy snack food
  • Make grocery list
  • Shop with your budget in mind
  • Stay organized when putting food away
  • Prep fruit and veggies for an easy snack
  • Do any other cooking, cleaning, chopping that you can to make cooking easier through the week
  • Focus on eating the good food first
  • Then focus on reducing the bad stuff
  • See results

 

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