We all know by now that far more important than calorie counting is the quality, freshness, fibre and nutrient richness of what we eat. If we are eating a predominately plant-based diet and sipping H2O everyday, then calories really aren’t something that we even need to think about. However, for the vast majority of us, bread, pasta, wine and ice-cream feature in our diets, and that’s when we do need to learn a few ways to eat healthier and reduce some of those extra, nutrient-poor calories. Here are some super simple ways that you can do this:
Wherever possible, swap soft drinks, milkshakes and alcohol for water, mineral water or herbal teas like green tea. If you have milky coffee with two sugars each morning, could you maybe cut the amount of milk and sugar in half to start with and build up from there? Swap store-bought ice-cream for homemade fruit sorbet, pasta for veggies spirals, white breads for whole grains or rice cakes, fast takeaway food for fast fresh homemade food …You’ll cut calories, get a lot more healthy nutrients and fabulous fibre and be a lot healthier! Winning!
SLOW & STEADY WINS THE EATING RACE
Eat slowly and mindfully. This is easier said that done (trust me, I know). Many of us woof down our food down without even thinking or we eat for taste and comfort. By taking your time you appreciate the food more, fill up more quickly, are less likely to overeat and are able to identify any feelings coming up which may be underlying your overeating.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it. Some people can have one cookie, one slice of cake, one drink…and some of us (like me!) just can’t. The answer? Keep it out of the house and ask family members to respect this. Cinnamon donuts are my weakness. If they come into the house I turn into a Godzilla like wild, crazed eating machine and I literally inhale the donuts. It is out of my control. Seriously! I ask hubby and the kids to respect this and buy different donuts instead which I’m not tempted by. They respect this – most of the time!
DEVOUR COOKBOOKS NOT COOKIES
Scour through all your recipe books and online recipes and find healthy, simple, yummy meals. Keep a list of them handy so you’re never stuck for meal ideas. Dont forget the fab free site myfridgefood.com where you can enter all the ingredients you have on hand and it will give you a bunch of instant recipes! LOVE!
Have something or someone that inspires you. We all have those days (or weeks!) where we think ‘stuff it, let’s eat a large pizza and a 1kg block of chocolate’. I get it. But if we have something or someone that inspire us, then it’s much easier to stay on track and not overindulge. It might be a photo, a goal, an outfit, a health target, a fitness guru…For me it’s Jen of ‘Love Sweat Fitness’ (www.lovesweatfitness.com/) and Cassey Ho of ‘Blogilates’ (www.blogilates.com/). If I’m feeling ‘blah’, then I just go to their sites for inspiration.
Don’t have a someone or something yet? No problem. Make a list of positive quotes, mantras and affirmations that you can read and recite to yourself to keep you focussed, motivated and inspired. Some of my faves are: “If not now, then when?” and “Results or excuses, not both”. Find yours and print them out and place them on the mirror, fridge and anywhere that you’ll be reminded of them.
‘BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL’ – Benjamin Franklin
Meal prep. I think I mention this in nearly every post (I’m sorry :)) but I swear meal prepping makes everything so much easier. If you’re starving and tempted to eat everything, by having food and snacks pre-prepared and ready to go, it’s soooooo much easier. Get prepping my pretty!
Try to fill up with a big breakfast or, if you’re not a brekky person, then a big brunch. Oats are the perfect brekky food for many people so if you can incorporate these into your first meal you’ll be setting yourself up really well for the day ahead. I don’t do well with gluten but am good with oats with is quite common. A good, hearty healthy brekky keeps you fuller and keeps the cravings at bay. It also helps to minimise the ‘OK, now I’m going to eat the entire house’ mindset that often kicks in at 8pm. 🙂
WHAT’S YOUR WHY?
Know your ‘why’. If you’re wanting to lose weight, get healthier, reduce calories and/or fitter – know your why. Get specific. It’s not enough just to want to look ‘cute’. It might be something like “I want to drop a little weight so that I can feel better and more confident in clothing and swimwear or ‘I know that I’m overeating to push down my feelings and I want to get to the bottom of those feelings and deal with them rather than eat them’. Know your why people. 🙂
It sounds simple, but sometimes we forget – we need to fill up on healthy foods packed with protein, nutrients, fibre, good fats and goody good goodness to stay fuller, healthier, eat less and feel satiated for longer.
I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT
Food has the biggest impact on our weight and calories but exercise plays an important role too. So get moving. Find what you love and do it every day. High intensity interval training and weight training are two of the best for burning those calories fast – but most important is finding what you love. If you don’t love it, you won’t do it or won’t stick with it. Whether it’s walking, belly dancing, zumba, weights, jogging, cycling, swimming, the gym, pilates…find what you love and do it. Even if you just start with lifting small weights for five minutes while you watch a fave TV show. Anything.
Drink LOTS of water everyday. Add a little fresh lemon, lime or mint for an extra zing! Water keeps you fuller for longer, keeps you hydrated, makes you look and feel fab, flushes out toxins and keeps those pesky cravings at bay. Get a favourite water bottle and use it every day. When getting started, keep a record of your water intake to remind you to drink up. Our 365 Daily Planner is free to print and has a daily water tracker on it (get it at www.facebook.com/365simplified/posts/1844849968871497 ). If your going to have alcohol, always have a big drink of water handy and do a sip for sip.
KNOW YOUR NO NOs
Know the foods or drinks that don’t agree with you or don’t make you feel you best. Whether it’s an intolerance or sensitivity, most of us have foods that make us feel unwell or blah after we eat them. Work out what these are and look to remove or limit them in your diet. Often we find that these are the foods we crave and overeat and so by eliminating or reducing them we eat less and feel better. YAY! For me it’s dairy, eggs, alcohol and gluten (aren’t I just a bundle of fun to have at a party!?!). I never drink these days but I still slip sometimes and indulge in the others and pay for it with my physical and mental health. I’m working really hard this year on not succumbing to these foods as I just feel (and look!) so much better for not having them.
EAT THE RAINBOW
Fruit and veggies are your BFFs when it comes to healthy eating, calorie management and looking and feeling you best. Aim to have at least one big hearty salad per day, veggies with lunch and dinner and a few pieces of fruit throughout the day. Organic is great but not essential. You don’t need to calorie count fruit and veg – just eat up, enjoy and soak up all the benefits. Some folk will tell you that the sugars in fruit and the carbs in potatoes are to be avoided. I disagree. Of course we don’t want you eating 55 potatoes and 66 oranges everyday, but all fruits and veggies are your friends and should be gobbled up and enjoyed.
LET IT BE KNOWN
Let friends and family know that you are trying to eat better and to manage your portion sizes and ask them to support you with this. People who truly love you should understand and respect your decision and shouldn’t pressure you to eat unhealthy foods, overeat or overdrink. Of course, you also need to respect their decision to eat and drink the way that they want to.
We all get those sudden cravings or hunger pangs. Be prepared. Willpower simply isn’t enough. Have quick, easy, healthy snacks in the fridge or in your bag for those times. Cut up fruit and veggies, hummus dip, roasted sweet potato, unflavored popcorn, hardboiled eggs, leftover curry, trail mix, tinned tuna…Be prepared.
When we sleep too little our metabolic rate slows and we tend to eat more the next day. If you have difficulty with getting to sleep or staying sleep, try these things: no caffeine after the morning, sleep in a dark cool room, don’t take any technology into the bedroom, don’t eat too late, read a book before falling asleep, take a good magnesium supplement at bedtime, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, make sure that you have a pillow that is really comfy and supportive, put some lavender oil under your pillow and start counting those sheep! Also, chat with your GP if sleep really is eluding you so they can check if there is any underlying medical cause.
SENDING OUT AN SOS
Often times when we are trying to improve our health, eating habits, exercise routines and our lives…we need a little help. This could be in the form of a bestie, a personal trainer, a program like Weight Watchers, a dietician, a Naturopath, a GP, a therapist…whatever or whoever you need to help and support you on your journey. If time and money are short, have a look online for free help, info and advice (just make sure they are reputable).
NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL
Although things like nuts and avocados are more calorie dense than some other foods, it’s nothing to worry about as they are good fats that are sooooo good for you and keep you full for longer. A small bowl of ice-cream might have the same calories as a salad with avocado and nuts but I know which one I’m going for if I want to look and feel my best.
CONSIDER INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent Fasting describes an eating pattern that cycles between set periods of fasting and eating. Some people do this by only eating between certain hours (for example between 11am and 7pm) everyday or by having very low 500 calories days on two days each week (often known as 5-2). Personally I haven’t found great success with this but what I do like is that when I follow it, even loosely, it helps me to stop mindlessly eating through the evening. If it’s something that you’re interested in there is LOADS of info online. Here is one link: www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide#section1
LET IT GO, LET IT GO
We are all human and have bad days and days where we overindulge. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t eat quadruple your calories for the rest of the month just because of a bad day or two. Pick yourself up and get back on track with good food, H20 and exercise.
Hope this help guys. Feel free to send through any questions. Go grab an apple! Take care. Jen xo