I noticed the other day how things just suddenly change. Seemingly overnight, but I know better. For example – with my workouts – what used to be tough is now much easier. At one point I couldn’t hardly do a burpee to save my life. Now? I can do a one arm burpee! Of course this doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something you work on for months. Then one day? You just can do it and that is that. I found the same thing to be true with nearly all my physical fitness endeavors I have attempted. I would struggle to run a single mile at a certain pace. Then you meet that pace and set a new goal. It’s incredibly satisfying and it’s something that keeps me motivated. I love to set these little goals and move the bar higher the next time.
I tell this story because the same has been true for my eating habits. Let me preface this by saying I am FAR from perfect and would never claim to eat healthy all the time. I do believe in moderation and I don’t “not allow” something to eat or drink. I am currently not drinking this month in an effort to get back to basics and get to feeling better about myself. I am “not allowing” booze as a challenge for myself. If something would come up where I needed to celebrate (or drown my sorrows) so be it. It’s not an end all. However, it is so satisfying when I do meet these goals I set out for myself. I think a lot of time people, including myself, sometimes use the excuse of – well not every day can you celebrate X, Y or Z. But, that is kind of a bad excuse. There is a reason to celebrate every day. Every day is new and one you will never get back. Sure – have cake on your birthday. But don’t use it as an excuse, after all every day is SOMEONE’S birthday. Instead you should tell yourself today is special to be here, feeling healthy and good about myself and fueling your body properly. I realize that sounds a bit hippy but I’m a lover not a fighter.
That said, it isn’t easy to eat healthy every day especially if you are used to eating fast food, processed food and fried foods daily. I’m here to tell you that your preferences can and will change. Your taste buds also change. My advice to you is to take one step at a time. If you try to leap from fast food to organic, vegan, blah blah blah you will likely fail. I would recommend to quit with the fast food. One of the best things about moving to Hazen is there are not fast food restaurants. We do have a Subway and I enjoy eating there on occasion. Sure Subway has options that aren’t healthy, but they do have a lot of healthy options. So if you can’t go cold turkey on fast food – try eating something better for you off the menu. Most restaurants have nutritional info on hand or on their website. Forgo the Big Mac and get a grilled chicken wrap or salad or even a cheeseburger instead.
I have found that people are extremely opinionated on food and they food shame easily. I don’t food shame anyone. I have ideas of what is healthy but I really mostly go by what makes me feel good. Now, the brownies I posted last week really made my mouth feel good. However, if I eat 5 of them I’m not going to feel good – not in my stomach or about myself. Below is kind of a ladder of how I gradually changed from eating to what I eat now. Below that is a snapshot of all the food I ate one day – What I Ate Wednesday. I’ve said it before but I always try to keep it healthy during the week and loosen up a bit on Saturday and Sunday. My snacks during the week are usually popcorn or pretzels with hummus for the time being.
This is kind of the progression I have gone so far: Greasy fast food > healthier fast food > packaged frozen healthy meals > packaged frozen veggies with sauces on them > low fat or low calorie foods > fruit with sugar sprinkled on top > fresh veggies cooked with butter or olive oil > burgers made at home > fresh fruit blended with yogurt for a smooth > fresh fruit > fresh steamed or lightly sautéed veggies > lean meats > fresh vegetables
Another example would be yogurt – started out with sugary yogurt > less sugary yogurt with add ins such as fruit or cereal > Greek yogurt with cinnamon and add ins > Greek yogurt alone or with fresh fruit
Food is a journey and I am constantly trying to improve myself, just like with fitness. Don’t be ashamed if what you are eating isn’t what the person next to you or pro athletes are eating. Do the best you can with what you have – taste wise, money wise, etc. I don’t think you should eat frozen Lean Cuisines forever but I do think it is better than eating a Big Mac meal every day. I’m not a dietician but it makes sense to me.
Here’s what I ate last Wednesday. You can see I still have work to do – but I am trying.
First breakfast, eaten at home after I workout: protein pancakes (made with a scoop of vanilla protein powder, one egg, some egg whites, some almond milk, cinnamon and almond extract), served with a half a banana and sugar free syrup (which some people would deem unhealthy). 2 Liters of water.
Second breakfast during morning break at work: 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt with 1 cup strawberries and the other half of the banana, another 3 Liters of water.
Lunch at noon: I call this a Mediterranean salad. It’s about 2 cups romaine lettuce topped with red and green onion, shredded carrots, tomatoes and parsley. My “dressing” is 2 Tablespoons feta cheese and 2 Tablespoons hummus. The meat topping is lean ground beef (I drain and rinse my beef – an idea I got from the Beef Commission at the ND State Fair) seasoned with onions, garlic, cumin and fresh parsley.
No photo for this snack. I ate it too fast.
Afternoon snack: 2 rice cakes with lean turkey, mustard and Sriracha hot sauce / often times on Wednesdays I will also have popcorn – I work out twice most Wednesday’s and don’t feel guilty for having this extra treat.
Dinner: I eat after spin class (7pm or later) and often times my husband cooks or warms up something I prepped in advance. I prepped boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in a honey/mustard mix (I got these great assortment of mustards from a friend – these are legit German mustards he gifted me!). It was above 10 degrees so my husband expertly grilled the chicken and it was served with mixed veggies I had blanched earlier in the week and a half a sweet potato I baked earlier in the week. Cooking a bunch of food ahead of time really saves me hassles during the busy work week. I remember still being hungry and ate a bit of cottage cheese.
On these nights I am usually pretty tired from spin class and am in bed by 8:30 or 9. That really helps me to not snack!
So there is a snapshot of my current eating habits and what I’m doing to break my horrible eating habits.
I’ve touched on it before but I also do a lot of food prep on the weekend when I have a few extra hours. I remembered to take a photo of my fridge on a Sunday evening (I think it is so ridiculous how much food two people have and I always thing it is SO much) and the next photo is Thursday evening. My fridge is almost empty. Ha!
Restock and do it all over again!