Tips to get back into healthy eating after busy seasons, holidays, pregnancies, etc. and basic thoughts on what to do after binge eating.
Some people naturally love healthy food and dislike junk. That is so… good for them. Others like having a healthy and balanced diet, but can get easily derailed depending upon their circumstances. That’s how I am! A big move, the holidays, late pregnancy then add a newborn and, well, the diet’s been off.
In an attempt for convenience we’ve eaten things we don’t normally eat more than we should have. Meals once considered “special” became more regular. This is life and sometimes can’t be avoided, but we all suffered. The kids’ tummies were upset (even after the cold and flu attacked the whole house) and I started to feel blah. You know what I mean. Just… blah.
So slowly but surely I’ve been getting us back on a healthy diet. More fruits and vegetables, less carbs and “white foods.” As I’m still plowing through this, I’ve come up with a few ways that we are getting back on track in a way that is sustainable. Because we all know super-crazy-very-difficult-to-continue diets don’t last.
1. Think smart
If you find healthy eating hard, then don’t think you are going to eat only kale and spinach and stick with it. It’s pie in the sky and won’t happen! Sweet-tooths can start by substituting fruit for processed sugary treats. Savory lovers don’t have to cancel pizza altogether, but can make homemade pizzas instead of ordering in.
Think smart about your diet plan, and remember: small baby steps that are sustainable will get you farther than big steps you can’t continue.
2. Get breakfast right
The day has a way of continuing in the same way it started out. And this is not just with breakfast! If the day starts off wonky it is likely to continue that way. If you start off eating junk it’s far more likely you’ll tell yourself, “Oh well, I’ve already messed up today let’s keep the fat and calories coming!” Or maybe that’s just me… Plan your breakfasts smart, and choose foods you will enjoy eating – or at least not totally hate – and then eat a good portion.
If you eat too little (or the wrong foods) you’ll be starving too soon and likely to eat junk food just to make it to lunch. On the other hand, if you start the morning right with something filling that tastes good, you’ll feel better and be more likely to continue the good eating habit throughout the day.
3. Plan ahead
Going to the grocery store without a meal plan is dangerous if you’re trying to eat healthy. Every temptation under the sun will be calling your name, singing to you, and telling you, “It’s okay, I’ll stay in the pantry. You will hardly notice I’m there!” You need to make a list of meals (even vaguely) and know what you want to cook.
Otherwise, you run the risk of returning home with a lot of (hopefully) healthy food yet not have what it takes to make a meal. If you don’t have sufficient food in your home you’re also more likely to order take-out or eat junk food. Your pantry should be stocked with healthy alternatives to help break old habits.
4. Give yourself grace
“Cheat day” is a now household term. It means a day on your diet that you allow yourself to eat whatever you want. I think the generally agreed upon frequency for cheat days is once a week. That means once a week you allow yourself to stuff you face with whatever you want. One day out of 7 won’t set your progress back too far, and will hopefully be enough indulgence to help you sustain your new healthy eating habits.
5. Use a list while shopping
If I don’t go to the store with a list I’m in trouble. All type of things end up in my cart that have nothing to do with anything, and I overspend. I like to make a grocery list that is loosely in the order of my grocery store route. Is that neurotic like hanging your clothes by color? Anyway… when I have a list I can stick to what I’ve written. I very rarely overspend or buy things I didn’t plan for when I follow a list.
When you are attempting to bring healthy eating habits back into your diet, having a list in the store is the only way to go!