“Paint your nails so you can’t open a chocolate bar wrapper” this is the kind of crazy I used to hear when I attended a diet group at the age of thirteen. Is it really any surprise I was confused for so long?
Let me be clear when you are going through a binge and want that chocolate – your nails take second place. There’s always nail polish remover!
So, yes from a very young age I listened to many grown women talk about their weight goals, what they had binged on and watched them step on a scale eager to see whether they had ‘done enough’. This diet club taught me a lot of bulls*t that I had to slowly replace with new strategies and healthier habits.
Over the past four years I have created strategies that keep me feeling healthy, stress free and successful. These are not strategies that require a calculator, scale or nail polish, but simple steps I have taken to ensure each day I am committed to my health.
These FIVE strategies are my daily health commitments
Your body needs water, it really is that simple. It’s not an ‘old wives tale’ like eating carrots will help you see in the dark, your body requires proper hydration to function properly.
The human brain is composed of 95% water, blood 82%, the lungs almost 90%. I talk about balancing your mind and stress, well water will help balance your body’s internal systems.
Here’s the reason drinking water is often suggested in extreme dieting – it can be a natural appetite suppressant. You know the theory “you’re not hungry, you’re thirsty”?
“The easiest way to stay hydrated is to drink 8oz water each hour that you are awake”
This is a great idea, but remember, if you are not drinking any water, don’t start driving yourself crazy trying to remember how much water to drink if it then impacts your other choices. Be mindful of it, but don’t let it overwhelm you!
[Avoid The Triggers]
Now this one isn’t for everyone, but for those of you have found yourself binging on diet sweet products more than once – we are in a similar group my friend. I cannot eat cakes/cookies/sweets every day and not trigger a craving. I used to go on Weight Watchers and buy the products, then because they were in the house I’d eat them. I would bargain myself into having more than one, and I learnt very quickly that diet cake, is still cake.
Certain foods trigger cravings for us, and I wouldn’t have a giant chocolate cake hanging around the house just because it’s a Tuesday, so I just don’t go there.
Finding the foods which trigger your cravings is a process, a lot of the time you will find yourself going through the craving when you realise what has caused it.
- Do you find yourself looking through the cupboards wondering what to eat next?
- Do you find yourself overeating at the same point each day e.g. when you get home or whilst watching TV?
These are the kind of triggers I ask my clients to look out for, journaling for a minimum of two weeks will really help you get to the bottom of this.
[Read The Labels]
The first thing I should point about before the ‘clean food’ police show up – if you buy less processed/convenience foods there will be less reading. Whilst this might be true – I live in the world where we are busy, and some convenience foods are not so bad. Pick your battles [which is also tip 5]!
The manufacturers have tried to make it easier for us by colour coding the labels – but I have found that even the big RED section on a jar/packet/box is often overlooked. So here’s what I look for:
- If a product is marketed as ‘low fat’, does it even contain a lot of fat in the original version? I have noticed this a lot with tomato based sauces. They make a ‘low fat’ version which is more expensive, but the ingredients are limited – tomatoes don’t have fat in them.
- What’s the serving size? The label looks good, but how much is it suggested you eat versus how much would you really eat?
- Does it contain fiber? Fiber is a really important part of a healthy diet, and whilst you can get most of your intake from veggies and grains – checking it on a label will keep you mindful.
- Does it have added sugar or salt? I prefer to stay away from products with added sugar or salt – I am a big fan of looking for ingredients in local health shops or green grocers.
You’ll notice I am not so worried about the calories on the label, i’d glance over them but sometimes healthier snacks made from nuts and fruit will have a higher calorie content than you’d normally pick. Just be mindful of the serving size.
This one has always served me well, I carry healthy snacks with me wherever I go – then I’ve always got something available that I enjoy.
My go to snacks:
- Bounce balls
- Quest bars
- Nut butter
- Dark Chocolate
- Boiled eggs
- Veggie/Fruit sticks
I tend to have the packaged ones in my bag, and the fresh snacks I will take to work with me or have available at home. This has helped me when I am out with my husband [Mr Sweet Tooth] and he wants to grab ice cream or doughnuts – I don’t want to get into a length debate with myself about whether or not I want something I don’t even enjoy. So I am always reminded that I have something I love in my bag.
It keeps me mindful that there is always more food.
[Pick Your Battles*]
This last tip is one that I have created over the years based on all the information we are given about what ‘healthy’ looks like. If you were to stick to the government guidelines of every healthy eating tip they provide, you would be over consuming calories.
Pick your battles.
You do not need to do everything you ever heard was healthy. You don’t need to go raw, vegan, grain free or dairy free – unless you want to, right? No one is going to think less of you for committing to your own nutritional needs.
Towards the end of last year I decided to give myself a few ‘extras’ in my diet that I could have on a regular basis if I wanted, you may have seen my list before:
- Cream in my morning coffee
- Salad dressing
- Dark Chocolate
- Nut butter
I did this entirely on purpose and I am still getting fat loss results. I am mindful of the serving size I have of each, but knowing these are available to me each day puts less pressure on them. They are no longer restricted or ‘unhealthy’, there is always more available.
*and of course this last step also works in other areas of your life – is it really worth all the energy?
These are my daily health commitments, and I follow these steps each day. I ask my clients to consider this during our coaching, because I think its important to start creating ‘fall back’ strategies that keep you focused and consistent. These strategies will adapt as you lose fat and find what works for you, but they are what will help prevent you from having to start over.
My 12 week coaching program The Four Pillar Formula is currently open for registration until Friday July 8th 2016. I created this program because I want women to get the results they crave, and get healthy at the same time. No rules. No calorie counting. Just straight forward steps to a healthier future. You can grab your spot on the Four Pillar Formula today!