This post has been adapted from and shared with the permission of our friends at Find Your Compass.
You can spend every waking hour in the gym, but if you neglect to feed the machine, your fitness and wellness goals will stay out of reach.
“Eating healthy” sounds so BORING and JUST PLAIN AWFUL, doesn’t it? Mountains of leafy greens, abstaining from anything that tastes “good” (with “good” as defined by being deep-fried, fat-filled, or chock-full of sugar,) and instead of easy-to-eat quick meals, takes hours of prep and tons of work to plan and maintain, right?
Ugh. No thanks.
Everything You Know About Healthy Eating is WRONG.
Did you know that even cheeseburgers can be “health food”?
Okay, maybe not “health food”, per se, but they CAN be part of a healthy, moderated diet. You can still eat satisfying foods, and include fat, sugar, and carbs AND maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. In fact, the CDC recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet include room for EVERYTHING (even an occasional glass of wine!)
Healthy eating is about MODERATION, and ensuring your body has the nutrition you need for the energy that you expend. Are you training for a marathon? Eat lots of protein to rebuild muscle in recovery, and LOTS of carbs to create glycogen stores and have ready fuel for those long runs. Are you sedentary at work during the day and love binge-watching the latest Netflix offering at night? Your caloric needs will be a LOT different than someone who hits the gym for two hours after a long day at the office.
A certified nutritionist or dietician can offer you specific, personalized diet plans and macronutrient recommendations for your body’s needs. As with any lifestyle change, you should consult a certified professional, particularly if you have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, an auto-immune disorder, morbid obesity, or cardiovascular issues.
HelpGuide.org has published some helpful tips for adhering to a more healthful nutritional approach. For the general population that wishes to adhere to a more healthful, moderation-focused lifestyle shift, using good common sense and enacting the following changes can make a BIG difference in how you feel, and your reflection in the mirror.
Make Small Changes
LOVE your Friday homemade fried chicken dinner? Keep it …with just a few small, healthier changes.
- Try your same recipe in an Airfryer to reduce the fatty oils while keeping the crispy texture. (Note: Airfryer tip: 380 degrees for 14-22 minutes depending on portion size is all it takes! Check that internal temp at the thickest part of the breast or thigh is at 165 before declaring it done.)
- Go naked! Skin your breasts or thighs (oooh la la) and then try brining your chicken, drying, then seasoning and breading as usual. Take the fryer plunge OR dabble with the awesome Airfryer approach to really slim down the recipe.
- Try brining your chicken, drying, then seasoning it BUT skipping the breading, and then using the airfryer for a low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie almost-fried chicken that is moist AND crisp!
Make Small(er) Changes
Question: What’s the difference between 2 cups of cream-and-sugar coffee and 1 cup of cream-and-sugar coffee?
Answer: 7.8 pounds.
Let’s take a look at how Jenn’s choice to drop a cup of coffee each morning adds up, as was originally shared on the Jacqueline Hawkins Fitness and Wellness blog:
The cream and sugar in each cup of coffee has 75 calories in it. Jenn makes the choice to eliminate 1 cup of coffee every morning, cutting 75 calories a day from her caloric intake.
Not a big deal, right? 75 calories is a far cry from the 3,500 calories that Jenn would have to cut out or burn to lose a pound.
If Jenn makes just that one small change that cuts 75 calories a day, she is eliminating 525 calories a week.
525 calories a week x 52 weeks in a year= 27,300 calories eliminated
That’s 27,300 calories a year that Jenn has eliminated from her diet.
27,300 calories eliminated divided by 3,500 calories in a pound= 7.8 pounds.
JENN LOST 7.8 POUNDS THIS YEAR BY CUTTING OUT ONE CUP OF CREAM-AND-SUGAR COFFEE!!!
What if Jenn switched to black coffee, or substituted unsweetened coconut milk and stevia in her coffee? How could these small changes continue to add up?.
Don’t Make Things Off-Limits
If you tell a kid, “Don’t touch that,” what is the first thing that they will do?
Yep. And it they’re like most kids, they’ll also leave behind LOTS of fingerprints to prove it.
The same things goes for adults and making dietary changes: it it’s off-limits, it suddenly becomes all that much more enticing. Sometimes, it becomes an obsession. Like that chocolate cake? Or the ice cream sundae? Or the fried chicken?
Once you CAN’T have something, it makes it even harder to stay away from.
Good Food versus Bad Food
No food is inherently good or bad.
Yes, you read it right: no food is inherently good or bad. (Yes, even your deep-fried Oreos have a place in the food pyramid.) In an article in the respected journal Psychology Today, Dietician Susan McQuillan says, “The classic rule for nutritionists is that there are no good foods, there are no bad foods, and you should eat everything in moderation. Some foods are not the best source of nutrients, but they still provide energy.”
Energy is a good thing, right?
Yes, but…you ONLY NEED a LIMITED AMOUNT of energy.
Filling up your diet with lots of energy (also known as ‘calories’) and not using them (also known as ‘activity’ or ‘exercise’) means that the energy gets converted to be stored elsewhere (also known as ‘ugh, I need to get in shape’.)
Would you keep pouring gas into your gas tank after it was full with the hopes that your car might be able to use it ‘eventually’?
Of course not. So why would you keep putting energy into your body when the tank (your energy needs) are full?
Because it’s SO EASY to fill the tank with whatever is convenient instead of what it really needs. You wouldn’t put syrup into your gas tank because it’s NOT THE RIGHT FUEL for your car. Even if it were the CONVENIENT option, you’d take the time to seek out the gasoline that your engine needs to run correctly.
…And finding the right fuel for your body is the SAME THING.
Do What’s Easy AND What’s Right
“BUT I HATE MEAL PREPPING!!!”
Yes, convenience foods that just need to be popped into a microwave, ordered at the drive-through, or paid for at delivery are so much easier.
Challenge: think about how much time how long it takes to shop for, order, and pay for your convenience foods. AT LEAST 10 minutes per meal, right?
They’re not so “convenient” if you think about them in that way, right?
Planning and cooking meals seems SO OVERWHELMING to SO MANY people. The thought of having to slave over a stove for hours to have meal choices is a deal-breaker for many well-intentioned people looking to eat a healthy diet.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
That’s why so many meal preparation companies and customized meal delivery services have sprung up to great reception. You can also find meal prep how-to guides to give you direction for your meal planning and take the stress out of having healthy foods at the ready. Part of planning for success is simply PLANNING.
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Would you like guidance on fitness regimen that will be a long-term lifestyle instead of a short-term fix? Want a kickstart and an accountability partner? Need a referral to a nutritionist or healthcare professional and help in starting your fitness journey? Visit www.JacquelineHawkins.com to schedule a consultation with an expert fitness and wellness practitioner.
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