How often in life do we try to do too many things at once? I am completely guilty of this. I will start multiple projects, decide to change multiple aspects of my life at once, and end up throwing in the towel way too early. Then I end up getting frustrated with myself rather than acknowledging what I have done to succeed, regardless of how small that success.
Here’s my point: Too often, (we as women especially), tend to try and tackle diet and exercise simultaneously. How often do you start a new diet and exercise program cold turkey on a Monday morning, convinced that you are going to make some SERIOUS changes? For some people, this approach will work. However, I have never had success with this approach. I will inevitably stop working out, or get lax on my diet, and end up feeling like a failure.
As many people are told, diet is the majority of the battle with forming a new, healthy lifestyle. Exercise is great, because it can help increase lung capacity, decrease resting heart rate, make you have more energy, etc. But if you are eating garbage, and not changing your eating habits, you will never be successful with long-term, sustainable weight loss and overall health.
As someone who suffers from an autoimmune disease, it is important for me to alleviate my symptoms through diet. I have cut out all grains, but continue to eat dairy and nuts. My personal goal for the next few months is to adopt the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP diet, to see what my body is not responding well to in terms of food. Once I have completed a 30 day AIP diet (completely eliminate dairy, nightshades, grain), I will slowly start to incorporate those foods (except for grains) back into my diet to see if I truly have a food allergy or sensitivity to something I wasn’t aware. After doing this before with grains, and then trying to reintroduce grains into my diet, I had some TERRIBLE repercussions (nausea, stomach cramps, stomach bloat, fatique, lethargy, migraines, etc.)
While I begin a new overhaul of my diet, I will continue to do light exercise, but I first need to focus on healing my body from the inside out. Once I begin to feel better, I will start to incorporate more intense workouts.
So now you’re probably wondering, “What is the right diet for me?” First off, let me start by saying you should consult with a doctor before beginning any weight loss program. Get regular blood work to see what your baseline numbers are. Then, start slow!!! No one has ever had a negative reaction from eliminating grain in their diet, so that’s a good place to start!
For me, the easiest thing to do when I wanted to change my diet was to cut out all grains. This includes bread, pasta, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt, corn, rice, etc. Give yourself two weeks following this way of eating before throwing in the towel. I promise you will look and feel better. You can find so many recipes on Pinterest that cater to a grain-free lifestyle.
Drink more water. I know it’s easy to say, hard to do. You need to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of water per day). One of the techniques that helped me drink more water was to purchase a 30 oz Yeti tumbler. I know they are expensive, but you just need to find ANY bottle or glass that is visually appealing, keeps your water nice and cold, and encourages you to drink more.
Increase your intake of healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, olives), protein, and vegetables. Limit the amount of carbohydrates that you consume per day (aim for 45 grams or less per day). Berries are great in moderation (no more than 1 cup per day).
Here’s an idea of what a perfect day of eating for me looks like (keep in mind, everyone’s caloric needs are different. I strive to get between 1400 and 1600 a day to maintain my weight):
- Breakfast: Two eggs, cooked in butter, with two pieces of bacon. Hot sauce for flavor. Coffee blended with a tbsp of unsalted butter and a tbsp of coconut oil, with a dash of cinnamon on top (it’s like a latte, honest to God!!!)
- Lunch: Typically, leftovers from the night before. OR, I will do a can of tuna fish or other serving of protein, vegetables cooked in coconut oil or butter, and a cup of iced tea (no sugar)
- Snack: Handful of raw nuts OR a handful of Whisps (parmesan cheese crackers) OR a yogurt
- Dinner: Meat of choice and vegetable of choice (always cooked in a healthy fat or butter) –LOAD UP on the veggies! Fill your entire plate if you want to. Especially dark leafy greens like sauteed kale, spinach or swiss chard.
- Snack: Small serving of berries and a cup of decaf tea
What are your goals for gaining a healthy lifestyle? How are you going to take the first step? Is there a particular diet you are going to try, vitamins/supplements you want to incorporate, an exercise regimen that you know you can stick with?
Please comment and let me know! Let’s go on this journey together!