The dreaded season of diet mania has approached us. The time everyone decides to refocus on their health with eating better and exercising more. The time when the latest diet and exercise trends are experimented with. The time when “nutritionists” come out of the woodwork to tell you what you should and should not be eating. Guess where this “time” leads to 90% of the time? You got it- nowhere!! “Why bother?”, “There is no way I can do that.”, “I’d rather be this size forever than eat that!” A lot of the messages that we are sent are about making these grandiose changes to have a healthy lifestyle. That can be so overwhelming, that people will tend to go into a “why bother” mindset.
Focus on the little things, the little changes. If you only get to the gym twice a week, try to find one more day to go or to be active. This can even be walking outside, go cross country skiing, have a 20 minute dance party with your kids. It counts!!
If food needs to be improved, remember protein is the “trump card.” Protein stays with you longer because it takes longer to digest. So if you find yourself hungry a lot, check in to see if you are getting protein at each meal. Subtle changes can be adding Greek yogurt, a hardboiled egg, deli turkey meat (I recommend Boars Head), a protein bar or powder (whey) or a handful of nuts. You will notice a difference. If you feel you need to increase vegetables, find a spot in your day that it is the most realistic to get it in. Ideally, it’s at least 2 out of 3 meals, but that may not be where you are at. Throw a small salad (this can literally be greens with some dressing) in at lunch or carrot sticks, or some other veggie. My husband would literally chug a V8 because he hated the taste of tomato juice and chase it with lemon water. His college days coming back to help him. If dinner is the only spot it may happen, maybe try doubling your serving.
Also, remember that it is normal to be hungry every 3-4 hours. So you need snacks. Snack are a great time to squeeze in fruits or veggies. The afternoon time is typically people’s hardest time of the day. So having an apple or piece of fruit with a handful of nuts or 1-2 Tbsps. of peanut butter or any other nut butter, veggies and hummus, a fruit and veggie smoothie with yogurt or protein powder, half a pb&J, or if it’s on the go-find a protein bar you like.
The key is to listen to your body. It will tell you what is working and what is not. So in the morning, are you starving an hour after you eat that bowl of cereal or oatmeal? Try adding a couple Tbsps. of nuts or seeds and see if that makes a difference. Or see if adding some other protein helps. Your body will always tell you- you just have to be connected to listen. How do you feel energy wise after a meal? An hour after a meal? Are you starving at the end of the day? How are your bowel movements-are you constipated or have diarrhea frequently? This IS YOUR BODY TALKING!! LISTEN to it!!! Diets make us ignore our bodies and when we are retaliating against the diet we stop listening too. So step one is to just be aware. Connect into how you actually FEEL. That is the framework to honoring your body and creating a better relationship with it.