My husband used to be a big guy. I mean, a really big guy. He grew up playing football, and after he was done playing and did not need to be so big anymore, he lost over 100 pounds.
I found out a lot of this as we were getting to know each other and I always wondered how he could be so disciplined to lose all that weight, when I have trouble losing 5 to 10 pounds. REALLY, what is up with that???
The first couple of years we were dating, I would eat tons of chocolate, burgers, pizza or steaks while he would eat salads, fish and fruit for dessert. FRUIT FOR DESSERT, are you serious! What is wrong with this picture? Isn’t the guy supposed to eat more than the girl? Come on; he is over twice my size!
I knew I needed to get better about my eating habits, but I also knew I did not want to sacrifice my enjoyment of food. I just did not think there was any joy in eating salads or what would typically be considered “healthy” food. Healthy eating was boring to me and I had made it a habit to eat a certain way. So, I had to learn to break that habit.
I found out it takes discipline, but once you find some different ways to make eating right as enjoyable as eating wrong, it gets easier. There are a lot of ways to make the right choices at home and at restaurants, but here are a few of my favorite tips and examples to change how you eat for the better:
1. Add some variety to your salads
Salads can be pretty boring on their own, so give your taste buds reasons not to focus on the lettuce. Mix in other veggies, spices, and fruits to add textures and some kick to the boring old green stuff. I like a little crunch with some peppers, apples, and carrots. Just stay away from croutons! Another great salad trick: keep the dressing on the side. I like my salads with red wine vinegar, but if you get a more traditional dressing, just dip your fork into it every couple bites and it will do the trick for your taste buds.
2. Watch out for hidden sugar
Stay away from anything cream based and watch out for sugar. Things like soup and granola may seem healthy and good for your diet, but a lot of times they can be packed with tons of empty calories because they are made with heavy cream and lots of sugar.
3. Load up on veggies
Eat as many veggies as you like and do not be afraid to dip them in a little hummus to add some extra flavor. Veggies are great to snack on and carry with you in a plastic bag in case you get the munchies.
4. Water between bites
Drink water between every bite. The water will help hydrate you, fill you up, and the extra time will help your body realize it is getting full. A lot of times, hunger pangs are our body’s way of saying we are thirsty, NOT hungry.
5. Lemon time!
Add lemon or lime to your food to add a little flavor (veggies/chicken/fish)…it does not just make things taste better, it makes you thirsty and keeps you drinking that water while you eat!
6. Spice up your meal
Spices add some kick to your dishes, and the hot ones like cayenne pepper or red paper flakes make you feel full and again, make you want to keep drinking that water.
7. Potato swap
Try eating sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Baked or roasted, sweet potatoes will make you feel full longer and can be a nice healthy starch to add to your diet.
8. Plan ahead for restaurants
Do not be afraid to ask for what you want when you eat in a restaurant. Asking to make a substitution or to eliminate something you know is not good for you can keep you from feeling guilty and help you enjoy your meal that much more. If you know where you are going to eat, take a look at the menu in advance online. Make game plan for your meal and stick to it. This will keep you from making an unhealthy and impulsive decision at the table.
9. Small portions and snacks
Eat several smaller portion meals and snacks consistently throughout the day. This will help to keep your blood sugar level and fight off those hunger pangs.
10. Give yourself a cheat day!
Do not deprive yourself of your favorites, just do not overindulge. A cheat day can be a good habit to mix into your routine. It is never a bad thing to reward yourself for all your hard work. Just be careful, part of the deal is that you have to get back on track the next day.
On top of these simple adjustments to your diet, another way to adjust your eating habits is to mix in activity and movement. Sometimes taking a break from your work and walking around for a bit will prevent you from going to the fridge or binging on that candy bar. If you are still hungry after your walk, at least you earned your snack with a few calorie burning steps!
It’s amazing how just a few simple changes in what you are eating can make you feel so much better. Trust me ladies, I still have my cravings, especially when I am PMS-ing! But now I choose not to overdo it, and believe it or not, I have gotten myself to the point that when I do lose control, I lose control with something healthy!