A couple years ago, it hit me- being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. I mean, that’s when it really hit me. I saw the wholesome diet of many people as being an impossible goal. I didn’t think I had money to eat that way or time to live that way. I thought I was doing just okay, and I was satisfied.
Then, the inevitable…I began recognizing the ways my diet was hurting my body and my lifestyle. It was that moment when I realized that I actually did need to eat those greens my mom always told me to eat when I was growing up. That was the beginning of my interest in my wellness and in a healthy lifestyle. Before long, I realized it actually didn’t have to be hard. Being healthy is a series of choices making up a journey, and it’s a wonderful, interesting journey, and no one person’s journey is going to look just like the next person’s.
Here are 8 simple tips I have embraced over the last couple of years that have led me to the much healthier, much more wholesome lifestyle I have today (which is ever-improving as I walk my own fitness journey):
- Choose water. My mom really drove home this point in our home growing up, so I have never struggled to drink water. The flip really switched to help me get to where I am now when I realized that by choosing water the mass majority of the time, it was a very simple way to reduce empty or bad calorie intake. As they say, “Don’t drink your calories,” and it really has been a big change in my life that has made me feel and look much healthier.
- Drink more water. Really though- drinking more water helps clean your system out and is actually a proven way to lose weight. Most of us don’t drink nearly the amount of water we should every day, and by increasing that water intake, it cuts down on food cravings, helps us eat less, and helps us lose a bit of that extra weight, too!
- Don’t buy the things you know you will binge eat. My husband and I instituted this in our home when we got married, and we have kept to it (for the most part- and when we haven’t, we have really appreciated this house rule and gone straight back to it after seeing the binges begin again). I LOVE chips. So much. I can eat chips pretty much all day long, so I know not to buy them unless I have a very specific purpose for them. We try to keep healthy things on hand to munch on if we are TRULY hungry, but we mostly just don’t have snacks in our house. You will also rarely find any kind of drink but water and coffee in our home (and some great Young Living NingXia Red). The fact is, if you love it, you’ll eat it, and if it isn’t good for you, that isn’t the best choice. We know our weaknesses and take steps to protect ourselves from them by simply not having the things around we would binge on.
- Be intentional about your “splurge” food days. One of the top reasons we can struggle to change our diets is the fear of losing the foods we enjoy. Now, I’ll tell you a secret- you actually may find yourself lose your taste for the super sugary or super carbed-up meals you once loved after changing the way you typically eat, BUT we all have ooey gooey cheesey or chocolately dishes we just love. Allow yourself to guiltlessly eat those meals you love by creating splurge days. Be smart about how many you give yourself and plan for them to work in tandem for the changes you want to see in your body (for example, if you are hoping to lose weight, 3 splurge days a week probably isn’t the best idea). Some people do weekends, others do one night a week- whatever your decision is, make a plan and stick to it.
- Find healthier ways to make your favorite meals. A really easy way to start getting healthier is by changing the way you make those meals you enjoy. You can start small- switch out regular sugar for coconut sugar, or white rice for brown rice, or potatoes for cauliflower. I’ve said it once and I will say it again- Pinterest is your best friend for easy food substitutions. Do you love fried chicken and mashed potatoes? Try pan frying your chicken in coconut oil instead or deep frying it and making mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. From using spaghetti squash in place of noodles to using cauliflower as pizza crust, there are so many creative ways to make those calorie and carb-packed meals a bit more friendly to the waistline and body as a whole.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. I know the drill. Last-minute meal choices rarely equal healthy meal choices. Make a point to plan your meals ahead of time to incorporate the healthy ingredients and recipes you want to make into your menu. Check out my post on an easy way to plan meals ahead of time right here– it includes some great printables to help make this even easier.
- Don’t give in to peer pressure. It can be difficult to stay on track when it comes to food and friends. Peer pressure is very real when it comes to diet choices. There are the diet fad friends who want you to join them, the fitness buff friends who can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed and discouraged by their fitness level, the social eater friends who always want everyone to have dessert or want to eat out all the time, and friends all in between. Decide on the kind of diet you want to have, how that works when eating out or eating at the office, and DO try to have accountability with friends you know will help you stick to what you want to do with your diet plan.
- Remember each choice matters….and you are on your own unique journey. I implore you to make the decision not to compare. As mentioned above, we all have friends in about every boat, and remember that what you are doing is for you and for your family and future. Good choices today will impact your tomorrow, and every choice does matter. It’s hardest at the beginning, but in remembering that it’s a journey, you come to recognize the fact that you are making progress, little by little.
The diet is a huge part of our lifestyle and has ramifications far beyond what we weigh, so it is one of the most natural places to begin when trying to life healthier lives. Cleaning up one’s diet doesn’t have to be hard and truly begins with the simple decisions to start making healthier decisions. I hope these 8 tips are of use to you and help you make healthier decisions in your life. Comment below and let us know one “tip” that you live by!