What does it mean to eat healthy?
Like most weekends, I went out hiking with the dogs this weekend. I got them out of the car, put on my favorite meditation, and we were on our way.
As we were walking, I started thinking about how things have changed over the years. I used to do more running and weight lifting. I used to go two days without sleeping. Oh, and I drank a lot of beer.
The life of a college student, right?! Haha.
There was a point though that I was not happy with myself. I was not happy with that person I saw in the mirror. I was working three jobs, but I felt that I needed to work harder. I exercised everyday, but I felt I needed to run farther. I always felt that I needed to do better and be better. That’s what all the magazines say, right?!
Then there was my diet.
When I lived at home, the junk food drawer was always full. Afternoon snacks were more like meals. Since I always had friends over, our diners were huge!
Do you realize that eating healthy has been taken to all different extremes? Cutting calories. Eating only protein. Eating only plant based foods. Fasting. There was even the one where you only ate fatty foods.
There are all sorts of different diets out there. You find one you want to try, and promise yourself that’s all the food you will eat! Then after 30 days, you realize that you miss french fries or ice cream.
Habits are hard to break, and it’s even harder to create a new habit. The worst thing that you can do is dive in hard, because when you hit that brick wall it’s even harder than you thought it would be!
So what do you do?
When I first started college in 2005, I was eating and drinking everything that I wanted. Campus life had LOTS of foods, and when I am stressed I feel the need to eat. I soon realized that I either needed to buy new clothes, or change what I was doing.
I parked my car in the farthest spot. I walked to ALL my classes and work. I told myself I was only eating salads. After a while, I could needed those french fries and sour cream. I started putting the weight back on. Then I decided I would start running and going to the gym. I was driving myself into the ground.
Luckily, a friend of mine decided that she needed to go on a diet too. We supported each other at breakfast, lunch and diner. We kept each other going to the gym. But we also realized that we could not throw everything out completely. So we decided that french fries and sour cream made a great food for celebrating passing a tough test!
We had found a method that worked well. Guess what?? We still ate junk and we still drank beer.
We followed the 80/20 rule instead.
That meant that we stuck with salads, grilled protein, and cut out sauces on our foods 80% of the time. The other 20% we could eat (or drink) what we wanted. I went from 150 lbs down to 120lbs.
Why did this work so well for us?
Of course we reminded each other of the things we needed to stay away from. We also reminded each other when it was OK to eat the things that we enjoyed. We kept it fun! The more you enjoy something, the more you want to continue doing it.
If you have been struggling with creating better habits, you need to find a way to make it more fun for yourself.
To this day I still follow basically the same habits that we created back then in college. The only difference now is that I actually enjoy those healthy foods much more than I used to. I’m 5’5″ and 125 lbs and I still have a love of french fries that wins on the weekends. I don’t like ice cream or candy as much as I used to, but hot chocolate has become one of my favorite things. At 33 years old, I’m not as active as I used to be. I also love sleep a little more than I did when I was in college, LOL. I found a product that has helped me keep my muscle tone and keep my joints from aching. You can check it out here.
Start with small changes in your habits and routines. Find a way to make it enjoyable. You could even reward yourself with your favorite food once a week to celebrate.
Until next time!