So, as promised we are going to get right into it! Here is a little pic of my son enjoying a delicious peach to inspire you! Hehe!
However I bet some of you might be overwhelmed. Maybe you have some questions and you are thinking of this in more of a diet-mindset. Let me be really clear here. I DO NOT advocate for diets. What I do is NOT dieting! DIETS DO NOT WORK. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.
What I am talking about is your lifestyle. This means, its a commitment. Before I loose anyone who is intimidated by commitment, its not hard! We are just going to take it one step at a time. That is how I stepped into my now vegetarian, almost vegan, plant based healthy eating lifestyle, or at least that is what I like to call it!
This is about being healthy, so stressing about this, is honestly the opposite of what we are going for. This isn’t meant to be stressful or hard. You should not be depriving yourself, instead substituting old (unhealthy habits) with new healthy exciting alternatives that will become your new staples! Easy right?
Food should be exciting, fun, happy, colorful, delicious and so much more! So lets go!
Step One “Don’t overwhelm yourself, take it one step at a time”
This is supposed to be fun like we talked about before, so don’t rush it. It takes time to make any sort of change in life. Do not expect this to be an overnight thing. It takes research, trial and error, and time to implement the things you learn. I certainly did not get to where I am overnight. I just started doing things differently one step at a time. Remind yourself what being healthy truly is about. Its about giving your body what it needs to be at its best, and this is going to be a big change for some of you. Your body will need to adjust to the new way you are eating. So do yourself a favor and take it slow!
Step Two “Start eating the fruits and veggies you already know you like!”
So this is easy! Maybe when you go to the store you have to keep yourself in budget right? So instead of buying those sweet treats get some fruits and veggies that you already know you like! I like to try and keep myself in the outer isles of the grocery store. I actually stick to mainly the produce section and then only grab a few other items from the other parts of the store but we will get there. So ask yourself, what do you already know you like? Maybe you love bananas? Or peaches? Maybe you really enjoy celery? Whatever it is, get yourself some of those things you already know you love! Don’t go overboard thinking “IM GOING TO BE HEALTHY” and buy a bunch of produce you never buy and never eat. We all know good produce can be expensive and you have to stick to things you know first. Your health is definitely worth investing in but lets make sure you aren’t going to waste it. So make a list of produce items you are familiar with and go from there. Pack an apple in your lunch tomorrow instead of those chips, or have a banana on the way to work. This is easy and will get you going in the right direction.
Step Three “Eliminate as many processed foods as possible”
Now this step may be a little harder. Believe me, I know it was hard for me at first. I can reassure you though, now I HARDLY crave these things I have eliminated. Let me clarify what foods I am talking about. I am referring to, wheat, corn, sugar products. Cookies, Chips, crackers, snack bars, candy, white breads, muffins, cakes, desserts, and things like that. I am not saying you should eliminate these things all together right off the bat, just try and substitute. Remember the last step we talked about, the fruits and veggies you already know you like? That is what you should be replacing these items with. Skip the poptarts and have some bananas in the morning. Ditch the greasy potato chips and try some carrots and celery with hummus. Kick the packages pastry treats and try some dates, or figs. I know this is easier said than done, you might have to take this one slow and keep at it. Our bodies become very used to what we eat. If we eat sugary, salty, starch processed food products, our body will crave them. The more fresh healthy hydrating produce we eat, the more our body will crave that. So its all about introducing your body to new things and making those things into new habits. Your body will understand and know what to predict and crave the right things.
Step Four “Stay Hydrated! Water Water Water Water Water”
I cannot say this enough. Did you know that roughly 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Did you know dehydration has been shown to cause so many health issues including digestive problems, poor circulation, headaches, mood swings, joint issues, extreme fatigue or dizziness and so much more… (Read more about dehydration HERE)
If you can start your day off with a big beautiful glass of water, you will be doing yourself more favors than you even realize. You will have an easier time throughout your day, concentrating, not craving those sugary processed foods, detoxifying your body and so much more! Better yet, start your day with a water and add a slice of lemon and you will be releasing even more toxins from your body! What a delicious and refreshing way to do your body a service, who doesn’t love lemon water? If you can have a glass of water before every meal you will prevent yourself from eating more than you need, hence you may even see some healthy weight loss if that is something you are trying to achieve. Staying hydrated is just a no-brainer!! When I decided I needed to drink more water, I went out and bought myself a HUGE reusable water bottle and I bring it everywhere I go. I make sure I fill that baby up at least twice a day but most days more than that! Sugary drinks are not hydrating for your body and actually leave you craving more junk. The best solution is to kick those drinks and stick with water. If you find it hard to eliminate those drinks, atleast limit the amount you have more and more with time. Try drinking a glass of water before reaching for a soda or bottled juice, that way maybe you won’t need it. This is such a simple yet important step and it will help you with the entire goal of being more healthy over all!
Step Five “Find someone to join you, a support system”
So this one can be tricky too, but if you can accomplish it, your journey to healthier living will be so much easier. I hear all the time from couples “My husband won’t eat healthy, I cook these healthy meals and he doesn’t like them” or “My kids won’t eat the healthy meals I make for myself I am the only one in my house eating this way.” This is such a shame because working together for this healthier goal is so much better. My fiance and I decided together we were going to make this journey to better living. We have been on the same page every step of the way. We watch documentaries about food together, we shop together, we have made all these decisions together. (I chose this goofy photo of us above to represent this step) This has honestly made this transition so much better. We support each other, congratulate one another on making healthy decisions, and never put the other down if we had a rough day and couldn’t make all our goals. If you can find a friend, a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member, anyone who will support you, even if they don’t want to make these same changes, at least someone to share your triumphs with. These triumphs may seem small but with time even the smallest changes you are making are actually huge to your overall health and wellness. Over a years time you will see so much positive change, over a few years, you will never want to go back.
Step Six “Plan your healthy meals, get into the habit of eating healthy”
The next few steps are going to be a bit similar. Step six is about planning on what you are going to eat so you aren’t reaching for junk. This can include being at home or out and about where as step seven is about finding recipes you will like to try and step eight is about trying those recipes and cooking at home more often.
So planning your meals is not only a great way to keep yourself on track with making healthy decisions but it also helps you stay on budget. For us, planning usually consists of thinking about what we might like to eat this week and planning our grocery list based on that. However, we do go out to eat as well, not often but to celebrate birthdays, special events, meet with clients, or once in a while just because we deserve it. We have made a habit out of making really healthy choices to the best of our ability while we are out also. Now the world does not make it easy to have a healthy lifestyle and dine out, but we do our best. If we are going to a restaurant someone else has chosen, we look up the menu and make sure they have options for our lifestyle needs. Its just like if you had a food allergy or maybe lactose intolerance, you would plan ahead to make sure you could be accommodated. Well we do the same with our healthy eating. We skim the menu to make sure we know the options. If the restaurant has not been chosen yet, we suggest one of our favorite places where we know we have healthy options that will keep us in check with our healthy lifestyle. This may seem silly but its really important not to derail yourself because your body will get used to what you are eating and crave those things, give your body the things you want to crave. We make a point to know the restaurants near by that serve really fresh delicious foods we enjoy and try to go to those places when we are going out. We have actually been known to turn down a social event if everyone is going to a place that serves food we know wont be a good idea for us. Some places make it very hard to eat healthy and because of that we do not go there. Some people may think this is extreme and we certainly don’t expect that other people do this or even understand but its just the way we choose to do things. So plan ahead and make sure you are comfortable taking your new lifestyle out to dinner!
Step Seven “Find new healthy recipes that you are excited to try, anticipate eating healthier”
Lets be excited about eating healthy!! That is what its all about. Changing your lifestyle is never going to work if you constantly think you are just depriving yourself of the things you love to eat. Instead remind yourself that you are actually giving your body the good stuff. Remember that eating healthy is going to make everything better and the more you do it the easier it will be!
A great thing to do is use this amazing tool, the internet, to find recipes that you are excited about! Scour Pinterest and find some meals that incorporate those veggies you love, or find some cool ways to get more fruit into your every day life. There are so many resources online to help you accomplish this! I will be posting LOTS of recipes on here and you are not going to want to miss them! My trick is I make Pinterest boards for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, I pin a bunch of recipes and once I try them, I print the recipe if I like it and put it in my cook book! Now I have a beautiful book filled with meals I know I love! Easy way to make sure choosing your meals for the week is not a struggle! So invite some friends over, try that new recipe, make eating healthy a fun and social experience!
Step Eight “Cook at home more often”
Last but certainly not the least. The KEY I would say to maintaining the new healthy lifestyle you are going to create for yourself is cooking at home! I know life is busy, you families with multiple kids, parents both working, its hard I know. It is possible though. Single people not sure how to cook for one? Invite those friends over, cook together, what a wonderful excuse to have a good time and eat some awesome food. With some meal preparation at the beginning of each week this step can become a reality. Let the kids come help, delegate jobs, “You wash the spinach, and you get out the veggies for the salad” Let it be a fun experience, put on some music, enjoy it. Use those new recipies you pinned on Pinterest, be excited about this meal you are going to prepare, and know that cooking at home and making healthy choices is going to do wonderful things for you, your family or friends. Cooking a meal at home and sitting down as friends or as a family to eat is not only important for eating right, but its a great way to connect with one another too. After all isn’t that just as important to us?
So there you have it. Eight steps to start this journey to a healthier lifestyle. I might have more tips and steps down the road, but this is an excellent beginning. Even if you do one of these steps a week until you are getting the hang of it that is okay. Like I mentioned a few times in this article, I want to stress the point that this is supposed to be enjoyable. This isn’t about counting calories, or weighing yourself daily. This is supposed to be fun, food is fun. Try new recipes, take photos of your food, post it on Facebook and Instagram, who cares what other people think. I am totally that girl who takes a photo of her meal before she eats it, to me, food is exciting. Good food is worth sharing even if its just a photo online. I hope this is helpful to some of you looking for a starting line. Please do not hesitate to ask a question, make a comment, or share another helpful tip you thought of! I would love to hear it!
As always thank you for following me! -Alexa-