To start off this post, I would like to say one thing: I am included in the ‘dummies’ statement made in the title. I used to spend my days wading through various baked goods and mounds of Goldfish crackers, shoving the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Oreos into my mouth by the dozen. Those days are now in the rearview. I hope that this post lends a hand to people who are like I was: healthy-lifestyle virgins who kind of want to eat better but do not want to put in the effort, and cling too tightly to their ice cream cartons to ever bid them farewell. Here some tips that I have gathered from my experiences in the realm of beneficial eating.
1 – get inspired
Thanks to the interwebs (especially you, Pinterest), this should not be too hard! Look at all those pretty recipes, and wow, kale has never looked so good! But, sometimes, it is the most difficult part. Let this post help! I can tell you that just a few weeks in, I am feeling so much better! My awful, super-oily skin is beginning to clear up. I am hardly ever hungry or tired, and I actually am eating less (in volume). I have lost a bit of weight, and I feel way more positive about myself and my relationships with the people around me. I have not been exercising at all (hello, New England winters…), but I actually feel inclined to do so. This is highly unusual for me, and I love it. I do not miss junk food at all. I have little flashes of cravings, but those pass as quickly as they start. Trust me- it is one hundred percent worth it!
2 – TALK IT UP
You can let your friends know without being obnoxious. They will either notice it by themselves, or you can bring it up yourself. This way, you will be more motivated to stay on track. When they ask how it’s going, you will want to tell them that it’s going swell. Simple as that. Maybe you can even rope one or two in with you, and you will have others along for the ride so it is not a lonely one.
3 – go big or go home
This means that, in order to have the most painless transition, you have to be all in and swear it off all at once. I have read otherwise, but for me, I know that allowing myself one sweet a day would be just enough to torture me. I would end up extending it to just two a day, and then just three… no. You have to tell yourself that you are giving up all junk food always, at least at first.
4 – STOCK UP ON SNACKS
If you fridge is not filled with fruits, cheeses, yogurts, and other healthy snacks, you are probably doing it wrong. Throw out anything that you feel like you should not be eating. Go for water and (minimally-sweetened) tea or iced tea. Pop some popcorn in olive oil and sprinkle parmesan on top for movie night. Snacks are good, as long as they are good for you, and you only eat them when you are hungry.
5 – BREAKFAST IS YOUR SAVIOR
Have any combination of toast with peanut butter, greek yogurt, mini-bagels, oatmeal, and fruits such as bananas. A regular smoothie is always a good idea if you are having something small, and one made with yogurt is great by itself. I have plain greek yogurt with honey each morning along with whatever it is that I am eating, which always holds me over until lunch. If it doesn’t, I whip out an apple and let ‘er rip. Eat a good breakfast, and never skip it. Never. Your day will be so much easier.
6 – DO NOT GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE TO SLIP
PURGE YOUR JUNK. That is not a joke. Toss sugary cereals, ice creams (sigh), cookies, chips, and even stray candy. All of it. Not a trace should be safe in the depths of your snack drawers and cabinets. Next time you are out, opt for pita chips or wheat crackers to fill the void.
7 – NO MIDNIGHT SNACKS
Dinner equals done. Homemade popcorn is an exception, for special occasions. Midnight snacking is the downfall of humanity. Do NOT do it. If you think that this whole healthy-eating thing is not for you, at least eliminate your evening junk consumption. You do not need to put more fuel into a body that is (hopefully) going to be sleeping in a few hours. No, no, no, no, no.
8 – LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES
Do your research. Healthy recipes are all over the internet. Look for them, and you will find plenty that suit your tastes. Ask a friend, read blogs, visit websites, Google, and visit your trusty assistant Pinterest. Whatever works for you, do it.
9 – OCCASIONAL TREATS ARE A GO
Only when you have gotten into a pattern where you do not really have any desire to eat junk food should you venture into these waters. I have personally not reached this point; I have relapsed in the candy department too many times to even think of it. But, further down the road, I will probably incorporate little treats into the agenda if I feel the need to reward myself. For instance, I have been craving hot chocolate lately. Why? I have absolutely no clue. But along with revisiting that, I will most likely end up eating a brownie if my mom makes one, or a bit of cake or ice cream on birthdays or special outings with friends. And that’s completely okay! :)
Remember that it is all about feeling good and being happier, which is what is bound to happen in the long run.