After roughly 25 years of eating in a certain way, it was hard to make sustained changes. It’s taken me over a year and only now is I beginning to find things easier, possible and even enjoyable. I even rebelled against my own decisions, which was silly yet all part of the journey. I actually would even encourage falling off the waggon sometimes as re-experiencing the consequences, can remind you why you are on this journey in the first place.
I never smoked, drank very much or even ate a lot of fast food, so discovering that some of my small guilty pleasures in life were contributing to my overall ill health felt harsh and unfair. Toast, tea, cake and biscuits needed replacements and this at the time was very hard to take on board.
However, I’ve actually found tastier, lighter and more nutritious options that I wouldn’t swap back (apart from for ease) and now want to help others experience the benefits and delights of these discoveries!
The purpose of this post is to talk about eating better and making healthier choices. It is not about elimination diets and removing entire food groups. You should seek professional help in order to do this. (If you have been advised to cut certain food groups, then this could help you form a strategy in order to do so).
So how do you start?
Never go cold turkey. And never eliminate 10 things at once, unless you thrive on such challenges. My advice would be to do some reading and research first and identify some of the things you will need to do – for example finding the foods you can eat instead and where to buy them from. Or perhaps find some new recipes that include certain changes. Set in your mind some goals and when you’d like to achieve them by, and then simply focus on ONE DAY at a time.
1. ADD in one thing at a time. The best way to start is actually by adding in things to your diet. You’ve got a long way to go, so you may as well start slowly and sustainably. So for example if you wanted to cut down on caffeine and drink herbal and green teas instead, don’t stop drinking coffee, but add in 1 green tea everyday. If you want to eat more fruit and vegetables, add in one piece of fruit before that afternoon biscuit. Gradually your body will begin to prefer the more nutritious foods and if you do it for long enough, you will begin to choose the better options over the bad ones, no really!
So one of my goals was to start drinking warm lemon water in the mornings instead of tea, but I still was very much in the habit of drinking black tea. So I set a goal to drink 1 cup of lemon water in the morning and then allowed myself to have a cup of tea afterwards. I now prefer to drink lemon water and drink a pint of it in the morning and have a cup of tea later in the day.
I began doing this in lots of different ways. I now prefer sweet potatoes to white potatoes. I prefer brown rice to white rice and enjoy herbal and green teas just as much as black.
2. Focus only on today! If you want to lose 10 kgs, don’t think about the huge end goal. Think about the mini goals that will get you there. How can you lose 0.5 kgs this week? Go for a swim, just this week. Do a 2 minute plank just today. Skip desert just tonight. It’s so much easier to do!
3. If you have been advised to go gluten or dairy free for example, I would simply start with one item and find a replacement for that (e.g: Almond / coconunt milk instead of cow’s milk) and make that change.
As I began to swap things out, my tastes changed and again I began to prefer them. I then moved on to cut out cheese, ice cream and so on. For gluten I began cutting out bread, then pasta, then crackers until I’d found tasty alternatives for each. Eventually, it will become manageable in your mind and at that restaurant dinner table.
So if there was one thing I would recommend you do to improve your health today it would be:
1. Drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.
Boil the kettle and allow the water to cool. juice 1 lemon with a squeezer and pour into a cup of warm water. Add one slice of lemon to the drink and then serve.
You could also add a sprig of mint for flavour and extra benefits.
This drink is great for the following:
– Helps to alkalise the body and blood, reducing your risk of cancer
– Boosts immune system
– Improves skin tone and quality
– Vitamin C
– Aids digestion by loosening toxins and other material in the digestive tract
– Aids weight loss by helping with hunger cravings. Pectin has also been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption from food and bile.
– Cleanses and hydrates the lymphatic system and helps with elimination.
Get going with this today, see the benefits and then set some more mini goals!
Enjoy and be good to yourself x