Working Towards Healthier Nutritional HabitsWed 23 Jan 2013
Story by Alix Rech
New Yearís resolution 2013: Goodbye perfection, hello human!
I used to go on a diet before Christmas or before summer every year because I thought I was a little too big and didnít want to show my chubby legs to the world. And every time, I said to myself: this is it. I am quitting sugar for good! From now on and forever, I will not eat sweet foods any more.
When I started to study and kept on working, I realised I needed more energy if this was going to work. Because believe me, working and studying at a degree level is not only something to be proud of, but it is also stressful, tiring and very challenging! At times I felt so tired that I almost couldnít get out of bed to go to work or to university. Back then I was looking after 2 year old twins almost full time, I needed to raise my energy level NOW!
But I was so busy that I would reach for a quick fix made of chocolate or biscuits, often both in fact. And in the evening, when I could finally sit down, feeling exhausted and ďbrain-deadĒ, I would eat the easiest dinner possible: pasta and cheese.
So, yes, twice a year, I would go on a diet in order to get that extra weight off and feel good again. It was my routine. And every time, the 1st things I noticed when eating well were that I slept better and I felt more energetic.
Finding a healthy balance
However, ultimately, this wasnít a healthy lifestyle and that is why, my resolution for 2013 is to put an end to this routine and find a healthy balance. In order to achieve this, I will need to make a few changes to my current lifestyle. What is important to know is that a radical change, such as going on a diet, cutting down carbs, fat, calories altogether, taking on exercising, and going to bed early is just too much! Living Ďon a dietí is not realistic in the long run, and itís not always healthy!
Healthy and tasty - not skinny, not boring
Therefore I am changing ONE unhealthy habit to a healthy one. That is all for now. I am cutting down carbs (fewer carbs, not no carbs), including my afternoon sweets or evening treats and adding more veg to my plate instead. And I do have occasional treats, because when you have healthy habits, occasional treats arenít enough to disturb that balance.
A while ago I stopped adding sugar to my tea. Of course at first it didnít taste that good to me, but I got used to it and guess what? You would not make me drink a sugary tea today! I just donít like it. Itís funny isnít it? But your tastes change. Thatís why you should always try again a certain food that you tried a while ago and didnít like, because you might like it now (also very true for children).
Iím giving myself a goal that I know or think I can achieve. I know that forcing myself to do something I donít enjoy will not last long.
Another thing to focus on is that changes should be made according to your needs. I find it important to be aware of my bodyís reactions. For example, I have noticed that I tend to feel sleepy in the afternoon after eating carbs for lunch, so Iím still eating carbs, but in smaller quantities and go for wholegrain rather than refined.
Now, Iím not the only one having a busy life and Iím not feeling overly excited by the idea of cooking a salmon fillet and ratatouille tonight, a chilli con carne tomorrow and Jamieís butternut squash, curry and chorizo soup on Wednesday. I love all these recipes but itís just too much work! So, at the weekend if I have enough time, I will cook that chilli and that soup, make huge quantities of both and freeze in individual portions. I also buy salmon fillets and chicken breasts in bulk and separate them in portions and freeze them too. And if Iím missing an ingredient, like I did with my chilli, I swapped red peppers for carrots. Who cares! As long as Iím cooking!
Itís such a time saver to not have to worry about Ďeat-by datesí and not having to shop every day, but just reheat whatever you pick from your home made frozen food, and also convenient to take for lunch at work. Big salads work well too for lunch, you can mix anything you like and itís quick to make.
When I eat well, I feel less tired and happier (yes nutrition impacts on your mental health too!) and therefore I need less of the sweets I would tend to go for in the old days. I also have lots of different kinds of tea for afternoon indulging.
Iíve got a few more tips on how to make this New Yearís resolution work and will be happy to share them and hear yours for inspiration!
Happy eating everyone!
About the author: Alix Rech, 30 years old, student, nanny and freelance image keyword editor, London. I was born and grew up in Lyon (France) and moved to the UK four years ago. Overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting advice on nutrition, I decided I wanted to find out for myself. Thatís why I am now doing a degree in nutrition and health. I want to make Ďhelping people with their health and weightí my career.
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