We have all been on and off a fad diet or two. You may have tried to survive on smoothies and salads to fit into a wedding (or worse – bridesmaid) dress by a certain date…to get your ideal summer body…to achieve your “revenge body”.
Whatever you have done in the past, chances are if you are reading this post, it may have failed you.
Healthy diets are for HEALTH. Whatever size and shape you are, health may look different on you than the next person. So don’t take some Instagram model’s skinny tea too seriously. Chances are it’s not as healthy as it’s hyped up to be.
First off, what is a healthy diet?
Generally speaking, it is a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins (many coming from plants). Each plate you fill is going to serve you best if it is half veggies or fruits. Get a protein at each meal and snack/s, especially proteins like nuts, seeds, beans, or peas. Eat plenty of whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, or oats.
How do you stick to a healthy diet once and for all?
1. Stick to a healthy diet…not the next big thing.
This means you keep doing you, boo. Forget keto, paleo, Whole30, Herbalife. I just unlocked the chest of secrets above – you know what a healthy diet is so don’t get squirrely on me with the next shiny diet that comes swooping over social media.
2. Don’t worry if you aren’t perfect.
You’re thinking “I thought this post was going to teach me about sticking to a healthy diet, so why would I not be perfect all the time?” Well, no one really is. I recommend you stick to your healthy diet 80% of the time for good balance and sanity. Even if it’s only 50% of the time for a week or a month, it is probably better than most and better than what you have done in the past! Don’t throw in the towel and go bananas (no pun intended) if you slip up and eat a pint of ice cream or three. Get back up and on track the next time you eat, it’s all good!
3. Set goals for yourself.
If it is weight loss, inches lost, clearer skin, lower blood pressure, faster mile run, whatever. Goals give you something to look forward to.
4. Keep a food diary.
This can help hold you accountable. It becomes a lot more real what you are eating when you have to report it to your phone! This way you are facing that you are going to eat or already ate some stuff that wasn’t as healthy as what you would expect. This can educate you so you will know better next time. There are countless apps for this at the tips of your fingers. If you decide to use a app, you can learn nutrition facts about food over time as you log and see the nutrition info! Journals work fine too if tracking by writing is more your thing.
5. Manifest your best self.
Whether it’s in a journal or in out loud affirmations. Manifest, manifest, manifest.
6. Make small changes.
If you get a burger, enjoy. Do you really enjoy the cheese and bacon? Or could you maybe do without one or both and enjoy the other ingredients that make a burger so delish. Could you live without the fries to accompany it? Is a veggie or chicken burger available instead of beef (bonus – better for the environment too when you pass on red meat)? The little things add up and lead to a healthier you. Don’t guilt yourself out of the occasional burger though, even if you want cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, jalapenos, mayo, triple patty…sometimes you just have to do it. Don’t deprive yourself.
7. Tell your friends and family about your health goals and why a healthy diet for life is important for you.
Social support is a game changer. It can help or hinder you infinitely. If you are alone in your efforts to eat healthy, you may want to lay down the line with others around you that you want to stick to your healthy diet as it is a goal for you and you are all about achieving your goals this year (even though it’s already May 2019!). Bring a veggie side dish to the next summer cookout and help others get on board with your healthy diet too! If nothing else, you will for sure have something to eat.
8. Plan ahead.
Pack some carrot sticks, nuts, seeds, yogurt, raisins, or apple before heading out for a long day. Maybe you need to have meals planned and prepped. Look at a menu before you get to a restaurant if you plan on eating healthfully when you get there. Being prepared makes your chances of giving up your healthy diet much less. Be prepared to be prepared!
9. Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
When we get super hungry, we eat anything in sight and often don’t stop until we have over eaten. Like me every time I skip breakfast. Or if pizza is involved. It’s not good for our waistline or GI tract.
10. Treat yourself, but not for a whole day.
Rather do it a meal or snack at a time. A whole day of shoveling anything and everything in your mouth usually won’t make you feel so great the next day and could even reverse some of the healthy eating you did during the prior week.
11. Try new healthy foods.
Cook with friends, try a new vegan restaurant, buy an unknown vegetable at the farmers market, organize a healthy potluck, take cooking classes… If you constantly eat the same healthy foods you are bound to get burnt out. Keep your diet evolving and you will never abandon it.
12. Align your diet with how you picture your life.
You want to feel good all the time – well a healthy diet can definitely help with that. This kinda goes back to manifesting. If you don’t want stress in your life, eliminate those not so healthy foods that pose some physical stress on your body from the inside.
13. Don’t make excuses.
Even if it’s just adding extra lettuce and tomato to your burger, you can always make your meal a little healthier. If it’s not your cheat/planned “unhealthy” meal (that you should enjoy 100% guilt-free and happily) then try to make that food or meal the healthiest version of it possible (this pertains more to eating out or when a meal is served to you).
Life is a journey and so is healthy eating. It doesn’t have to be a destination. You can eat healthy most of the time and still be healthy overall. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t always eat healthy either. Any little change you make to try and eat healthy is going to be better than no change at all!