This morning I walked into class and there was a box of donuts sitting on a desk. A classmate asked if I was going to grab one so I made the “I am going to vomit” face and I responded that I don’t eat donuts. “Are you on a diet or something?” she asked.
I get asked this a lot.
About a year ago, I realized I was sick of the stomach aches, painful heartburn, lack of energy, weight gain, and constantly being sick. I slowly started integrating healthier foods into my diet. I tried eating more salads and added veggies to my diet (I’m not sure if I ate a single veggie other than carrots and celery my entire freshman and sophomore year). Freshman year I dabbled in the Herbalife fad and it wasn’t too bad. I felt good, but it was a very expensive lifestyle to keep up with as a freshman in college. The candy addict in me struggled with discipline for a long time, but each time I binged on those sugary treats my stomach would remind me why I wanted to eat healthier in the first place. As soon as I stayed consistent with this lifestyle, I started feeling amazing.
Dieting vs. Healthy Lifestyle
Diets: Paleo Diet, Vegan Diet, Zone Diet, Atkins Diet, calorie counting, low-carb diets, Weight Watchers (can’t completely knock this one because I know people this one has worked for), South Beach diet, Mediterranean diet…..I could go on and on. The problem is that diets are not sustainable for a long period of time. There is too much restriction, you should be able to eat and not constantly feel hungry. I especially hate calorie counting because not all calories are the same. For example, 150 calories from a piece of candy should not count the same as 150 calories of vegetables. Women’s Health writer Gretchen Voss said 80% of people who have lost weight on diets have regained it all, or more, within two years.
Healthy Lifestyle: Eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, and all natural or organic foods (not getting in to that one today). Deciding on a healthy lifestyle means you are planning on making this permanent. You want to consciously think about what is going in to your body and how it is going to affect you. I’ll be honest, some vegetables or all natural things can be pretty bland, but once you cut out the sugary and processed foods for a couple of weeks, they start to taste a lot better.
I’m just gonna cut to the chase: there is no quick-fix, miracle diet that will magically help you lose weight. It’s gonna take time and effort. If you really want it, you’ll do it.
As Spring Break is right around the corner, I’d like to share with you some tips on how to adapt a healthy lifestyle.
1. Shift your mentality.
Think about your body as a well-designed machine. You wouldn’t put anything other than some sort of fuel, would you? No, because it would break down. So why are you putting all that processed garbage in your body? Think of each food item as something that is going to fuel your body and give you the energy you need to have a productive day.
2. Slowly integrate vegetables into your diet.
If you up and drop all your favorite foods right away, it is very likely that you will cave and binge. The more you add to your diet, the better they will taste and the worse processed foods will taste (and feel).
3. Cut out artificial sugar and processed foods.
I’ve already said this about a zillion times, but I thought I would remind you again. Once you start searching for it, you won’t stop. It fascinates me and scares me all at the same time, I can’t believe how many foods I can find with added sugars. One of the easiest ways to spot sugar on a food label is the -ose suffix (sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, etc.). There are some sneaky ones that are easier to miss: Cane juice, Dextrin, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Fruit juice concentrate, Golden syrup, Turbinado, Sorghum syrup, Refiner’s syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar, etc.
4. Wake Up, Drank.
I had to make a Kendrick Lamar reference when writing this one. When you wake up in the morning, drink about a liter (or at least, two glasses) of water and wait 45 minutes before you eat breakfast. I know this isn’t conducive to most of your college routines (wake up and run to class) but it will help clean out the toxins in your body. After a week or two, it will help kick that sugar craving. Continue to drink water throughout the day. Add a lemon to add some flavor and help clean out even more toxins.
5. Do a cleanse.
I have participated in a few different cleanses over the years and each time I have felt great. The first cleanse I tried was the Herbalife cleanse. This one is very gentle on your system and you can still eat while doing it. I would not recommend a long or extreme cleanse right away, as it is very easy to give up due to headaches, nausea, or other side effects of the toxins trying to leave your body. These days I do a veggie/fruit smoothie, V8 (low sodium), tea, and warm water with lemon. Even one meal per day or one day a week can help clear out toxins!
6. Stop drinking soda and energy drinks!!!!
I can’t stress this enough. To me, drinking soda is just as bad as smoking or tanning; it’s slowly but surely killing you. I had an extreme Diet Coke addiction once upon a time so I know it’s hard, but I believe in you! If you like the carbonation, try Kombucha, it’s an organic, raw drink that is a probiotic, antioxidant, AND has electrolytes.
7. Don’t skip breakfast.
This is the meal that kicks off your day; it determines your energy level and how productive you are going to be. And stay away from those energy protein bars as a substitute, very few actually sustain your appetite.
8. Do a little research & make a food plan.
Many diets fail because people get tired of eating the same few things, don’t have time to make meals and/or don’t know how to make a clean meal. We are so used to prepackaged foods or pre-mixed foods like Hamburger Helper or Kraft Mac-n-Cheese. If you are busy like me, find a few recipes that you can make at the beginning of the week, split the meals into individual containers and ta-dah! Meals are done for the whole week.
9. Swap out that coffee for green tea.
Green tea boosts your metabolism and is a great antioxidant. It contains caffeine but not enough to make you jittery like coffee. Add a lemon for additional flavor.
“If the red light on your dashboard lit up to warn you that your car was running low on gas, you wouldn’t buy a gallon of tomato juice and pour it into the engine, would you? Of course you wouldn’t — that would be ridiculous. Cars don’t run on tomato juice. They run on gasoline, diesel, and electricity. Your cells also run on fuel, and just like your car, it’s important to give your cells proper fuel for optimal performance.” – Cameron Diaz in The Body Book
WATCH THIS: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; Hungry for Change; Forks Over Knives; Food, Inc. (These are all available on Netflix, which I know you have).
You really are what you eat. Don’t diet, just start living healthy. :)