With our busy lives, eating habits can fluctuate. Many of us swing wildly between not getting enough calories steadily throughout the day to the opposite end of the spectrum of over eating.
Eating habits can fluctuate within the course of a week as well. From under eating to over eating or just not eating the right things, it’s easy to get confused from low-fat to sugar-free to gluten-free until it’s hard to know how or what to eat at all. I’ve put together some tips that can help make your eating game strong.
Remember, eating for beauty in strength is a lifestyle
One of the biggest reasons people quit is because they make unrealistic changes to their diet because they’re only looking for a quick fix rather than sustainable changes. Here are some examples of things I’ve seen, some solutions, and how to adjust these goals so you can stick with them.
Unrealistic Nutrition Goal: “Starting Monday I’m never eating chocolate again!!”
Solution: Instead of saying never, allow specific days you can have chocolate. This allows you to have some occasionally and will prevent you from bingeing later on. For example, I love peanut butter. It would be nearly impossible for me to completely cut it out. Allowing yourself to have your favorites occasionally will help you maintain a good relationship with food and keep you accountable at the same time while teaching you self-control. Slowly purge all the bad foods out of your pantry and regular eating schedule one at a time, and replace them with better options.
Sugar is sugar
This is something super basic to keep in mind. Being cognizant of all the sources of sugar can be a huge game changer—you may not even realize how much you’re sabotaging yourself. I see people having a healthy breakfast that includes a banana-strawberry-orange smoothie. Keep in mind how much sugar is in fruit, and when it comes to fruits, lean more towards berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or huckleberries). Berries are fibrous and will digest slower than other fruits like bananas and oranges. Don’t get me wrong; I eat a banana a day at least, but when you’re having an all-fruit smoothie for breakfast and whole fruits as snacks throughout the day you’re consuming easily about 100 grams of sugar without even realizing it. And that’s JUST fruit!!!
Problem: Assuming that all fruits are equal and a great low-fat way to start the day.
Solution: When picking out breakfast, try to eat protein with fat! This is why I love eggs and why WHOLE eggs are so good for you. I will typically eat two WHOLE eggs and 1-2 additional egg whites. Add sliced tomato, 1/4 avocado, and some diced sweet potatoes as breakfast potatoes, and there you have it: a breakfast that will nourish you and keep you satisfied throughout the morning. If you need to add some complex carbohydrates, try plain, unsweetened, steel-cut oats or whole grain, minimally processed breads.
Eat all day
If you don’t plan out your meals and make sure you’re eating throughout the day, you will go all day without eating and then come home and want to eat everything in the fridge. How do I know this? Because this is my life too! Recently, my days have been so busy that if I don’t make it a point to not only have my meals packed but also to pause for 10 minutes to eat my food, I will be so hungry by the time I get home that I’m less likely to make good choices. Some people think that by not eating or restricting calories will help with weight loss. That is incorrect. What you’re doing is actually damaging your metabolism and causing your body to go into starvation mode so that when you do eat, your body holds on to everything you consume and stores it.
Problem: Cutting calories drastically in order to achieve weight loss and then consuming a large amount of calories at the end of the day.
Solution: Keep food with you. Store non-perishable snacks and pre-portioned protein powder in your desk at work and in your purse for emergencies. Keep the fridge stocked with some pre-cooked food like diced sweet potatoes and boiled eggs for quick breakfasts and snacks. There are several brands of handy meal management bags on the market to help you keep multiple meals ready to go for especially long days.