It’s week Four of the Let’s Talk Blog Challenge already! Sarah of one of my favourite blogs, At The Beauty Desk has challenged bloggers to blog about different topics every Monday for the next 6 weeks.
The topics covered thus far have been A day in the life of a blogger, Summer Essentials and our ideal birthday box. This week is the very open and potential versitile topic of “Survival Guide”.
As I am studying for a qualification in Sports Nutrition, I’m very much in the mindset of fuelling your body in the right way at the moment. I thought I would use my own experiences and newfound knowledge as a nutrition student to present readers with a Survival Guide to eating healthy.
“Healthy Eating” is a term used rather loosely these days. Most people are concerned with healthy eating in terms of loosing weight, rather than fueling their bodies and providing them with the nutrients they need to function. Some people say they are “eating healthy” when they are cutting down on portion sizes and skipping meals, but common sense will tell you that this just isn’t true. If you need to lose weight, eating the right food, and plenty of it, will help you to achieve that goal. The only problem is, it’s so difficult! With temptations always at arms reach and cravings lurking in the back of your mind, it is hard to keep the habit. Add to that the many myths and countless “lose Xlbs in Xdays” diets being shoved down our throats everyday, a Survival Guide would actually come in hand. So here it is,
The Musicandeveverything.com Surival Guide to Healthy Eating
Always be Prepared
Ah The Scouts; they know everything! The key to keeping in the habit of healthy eating is planning and preparing your meals. If you’re not in this habit, you will simply reach for whatever is convenient and eventually what is convenient will not be benefical to your body.
At the start of every week or before you go shopping, plan the healthy meals and snacks you are going to eat every day. I use Google Keep to plan my meals and make a shopping list of the things I have to buy.
Every night prepare the foods you need for your planned breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so you have no excuse for not sticking to the plan you set yourself, no matter how tired you get or how hectic your day turns out to be.
Carbs aren’t the enemy
I abhor, and always have abhored, this idea that carbs are the enemy. If you want to lose weight you are going to have to partake in some kind of activity and good luck surviving it without carbohydrates in your system. Part of surviving a healthy eating promise to yourself is embracing “good carbs”, namely oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruit. These will give you the energy you need to sustain exercise and pretty much just to make it through the day! Through the day and throughout exercise your body uses Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats to maintain energy levels until the day is out, that’s why it is recommended that you have a slow release carb-heavy breakfast like Porridge in the mornings.
Your metabolism will also thank you for providing with the fuels to get working, and we all know what happens when we have a fast metabolism! Carbohydrates will also stop you from getting the halotosis that’s associated with cutting all carbs out of your diet, which is as good a reason as any.
Count Nutritional Value, Not Calories
One of the most valuable things I have learned when it comes to nutrition and weightloss is that while calories are somewhat important, they are not the most important thing. Consider the nutritional value of food rather than the amount of calories in it. This will help you out in two ways:
1. You won’t get frustrated and obsessed with keeping tracking of the calories you are eating everyday.
2. You will feel fresher and healthier from eating the right foods, and that will make you want to keep it up.
Think about your daily snacks. You might be tempted to go with a 90 calorie snack bar because we’ve been trained to think that things lower in calories are better for you. Look at the ingredients of that snack bar below; it’s packed with artificial sweeters, sugars and hard to digest carbohydrates. The general rule for eating clean, aside from avoiding artificial additives is avoiding foods with anymore than 6 ingredients. This definitely fails that test!
Your body actually has to work harder to digest this snack rather than a handful of nuts or a bowl of strawberries, which incidentally provide you will much more nutritional goodness that your sticky low calorie snack bar.
Fad diets and er… diets that make money off people, shall we say, often work for a while, but they are not long term and they are hard to keep up with. The zone, atkins, the cabbage soup diet; they all deliver quick weight loss but they can be harmful to your body and they won’t help you achieve long term, permanent results. Throw away your Lose 30 in 30 days books and just concentrate and giving your body the food it requires to function.
Don’t Deprive yourself
One thing that bothers me about people on “diets” is the moaning about how they wish they could eat certain foods. You should never completely deprive yourself of the food you love. Instead, promise yourself that you will allow some indulgence at the weekend of your favourite food, be that a bar of chocolate or a slap up meal.
When I’m doing intensive training and vigourously trying to reach a goal I allow myself a cheat meal of the things I have been craving most, it makes eating “good foods” that little bit easier in the beginning, and trust me, soon you will stop craving sugary and fatty foods on a regular basis.
Make clever substitutions
Many “healthy” food stuffs have similar properties to the bad foods we crave. If you are craving sugar in work or school, keep some cherries or grapes in your bag. If you want biscuits, try oatcakes with peanut butter and coconut shavings. There are always healthy and equally tasty substitiutions for the thing your mind is telling you that you want.
One of the things that makes people hope off the healthy eating wagon is boredom when it comes to food. If you keep a log of recipes on your bookmarks bar, in google keep or on a board on pinterest, like my one here, you will be more likely to try out new recipes that are just as easy, probably tastier and which will keep you involved in your meal planning.
Think about your energy usage
If you aren’t using a lot of energy up in your day, you don’t need to eat as much as someone who does. If you are active in terms of sport or exercise your body requires a little more energy from food than someone who doesn’t.
It really is as simple as that. Without getting bogged down in calories, you need to consider the level of activity you are involved in before you plan your meals. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be restrictive, it just means you have to consider certain foods with lower sugar and fat contents.
If you are quite active either in work or by way of sports and exercise, you’ll need to consider the level of activity (low, medium, high intensity) and the timing of the food you eat. Higher sugar foods like bananas should be consumed after exercise, rather than before in order to replace what you have lost during the activity or event.
Don’t be restrictive
What I would eat for a snack now is what I would have eaten for my lunch this time last year. I got know physical benefits from eating rice cakes and cottage cheese for my lunch; I didn’t lose weight and I certainly didn’t get any kind of energy boost.
This is me before I educated myself about food! Source
Instead of resticting what you are eating, choose your food more carefully in terms of nutritional value and quality and most importantly make sure you are full after eating your meals and snacks.
Be productive when bored or in a bad mood
I know I’m not alone in eating to excess when bored or miserable, but that’s just undoing the work you had done. Yes, we should indulge from time to time and even take a couple of weeks off if needs be, but binging on unhealthy foods because you can’t think of anything else to do or because you are down in the dumps is a mentally unhealthy thing to do as well as physically.
Instead, look up recipes of healthy snacks you can make, which will satisfy the craving as well as the boredom. Or do something that will lift you mood better than a chocolate biscuit and a packet of crisps, like going out for a walk, catching up with your friends or doing some work you enjoy.
I hope this gave you some handy tips and inspiration! To the comments
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