We often start our diet plans and rigorous workouts with great determination but as the days go on, we’re sorely tempted to put it on pause and allow ourselves to binge.
It is very important for us to learn to nourish and sustain our healthy lifestyle. Sticking to a diet or a healthy lifestyle comes naturally only if you: a) keep the plan as practical as possible and b) understand the tricks of how to overcome the hurdles in your healthy lifestyle journey.
Eating healthy can be made easy if one adopts simple strategies like the ones below:
1. Remember the three P’s – Pick, Prep, Portion
. Pick well: When going grocery shopping, make sure that your cart has fresh foods in all colours of the rainbow. It’s a great way to get your intake of all essential nutrients in a healthy way, instead of through supplements. Try to go for seasonal foods instead of exotic ones. This will help you to stay within budget.
. Prepare healthy options: Choose to grill or steam foods than fry. Satisfy your sweet cravings smartly. Opt for xylitol or honey instead of sugar. There is always a healthier way to eat your favourite treats.
. Portion right: Take care of portion sizes. Use your hands as a measuring tool to measure foods, so no accurate calorie counting is required. For example, use palms to measure proteins, fists for vegetables, and cupped hands for grains or carbohydrates. This is a simple way to judge the amount you eat without getting obsessed with calorie counting.
2. Free yourself from deprivation thoughts
Improve your relationship with food and don’t feel guilty about certain foods. Deprivation tactics can lead to overeating at times and make healthy eating even more difficult. Instead, have a piece or two of your favourite stuff, then revert to your healthy eating plan.
3. Set realistic goals
There is no magic wand to make you lose weight overnight. It took months to put on weight; similarly, it will take time to shed it off. Start with small changes: like going to the gym thrice a week, having a no-fat dinner thrice a week, having green tea thrice a week. Be reasonable with yourself and give your body time to adjust and respond. Keep a diary where you can write what you are eating every day. This will help you identify what your weakness is, which you can then work on or find substitutes for.
4. Don’t make too many rules that irritate you
Enjoy your meals and don’t be very restrictive with your diet. Too many restrictions will not last long-term. For example, removing carbs completely from your diet or following some kind of fad diet can be done for some time but not forever. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can. Strict diet restraints often end up in binge-eating later on. Instead of eating very little food or starving yourself, find satiating foods that promote weight loss such as those high in protein, fibre and healthy fats.
5. Don’t be obsessed or behave like a victim
A calorie counting obsession can be misleading at times. Sometimes, high calorie foods are more nutritious and essential for our body than low calorie foods like crackers. For example, nuts, avocado, mango, egg yolks and olive oil are some examples of foods that are high in calories, yet healthy.
Don’t eat healthy food only because it is good for you – learn to eat it because you enjoy it.