So this time round I thought of writing something different 🙂
Being a foodie and having a passion and a deep appreciation for the cooking/baking arts, makes maintaining a healthy lifestyle quite a challenge. Am not saying that treating yourself once in a while to “junk foods” such as that slice of red velvet cake (yum!) is a crime.
As much as people say that it is just the quality of food that matters, I believe that quantity (how much) and frequency (how often) also matter. Moderation is key. You see, having a slice or two of pizza once in a while is not bad. In fact, it gives your body variety. But what is your “once in a while”? If you ask me, it should neither be daily nor weekly. Once in a fortnight or once in a month seems reasonable.
I am no nutritionist, nor am I a health expert, but from my experience I highly suggest that a low frequency with low to medium quantity is favorable. For instance, once in 2 months I can decide to have three scoops of my favorite chocolate ice-cream, which is low frequency with medium quantity. No harm done.
Kudos to those of you who are on the right track. But there are those who are still having a few challenges here and there. Hear me out. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle does not mean you stick to eating greek salads for the rest of your life and cut out all the “bad” foods till kingdom come. No, on the contrary, it is all about BALANCE.
So, how do you achieve this balance?
Apart from the tip of balancing frequency and quantity, here are a few more tips of my own that I hope will be helpful to you as you tackle those challenges.
1. Change Your ATT
You need to have a positive attitude. Phrases like “I can’t do it! “This is hard!” actually have a significant psychological impact on you more than you realize. So clear your mind of all negativity. Take deep breathes or meditate if you have to. When you look at the positive side of eating healthy, your journey will not only be smooth, but it will be enjoyable too.
2. Eliminate What You Can Do Without
There are many edibles that you can go without for a whole month or 2. Or a year! No withdrawal symptoms, I promise 🙂
Let’s focus the spotlight on soft drinks. It is said that a 300ml bottle of Coca Cola has over 13 teaspoons of white sugar. Imagine all that sugar in your body. Okay, you can have it as a treat once in a while (at most once a month), but if your “once in a while” is literally every single day, then there is a problem.
I personally was almost addicted to Sprite some time back, because no matter how much I took, I never fully quenched my thirst! I got thirstier every time I drank more of it. So, what did I do to stop this? Well, to be honest, I just decided to stop. Yes, I went cold turkey. I didn’t like the after-feeling of thirst left behind every time I drank a soda. Believe it or not, it was all in my mind. I changed my perception from “nothing can quench my thirst better than a cold glass of my favorite soft drink” to “If I’m thirsty and I decide to take a soda, I will be thirstier. Thus I prefer a nice cold bottle of water.”
If you feel that this won’t work, you can try gradually reducing your intake, and even switching to tonic soda, then to soda water in the long run. You can spice up your soda water with slices of your favorite fruit e.g. lemon, orange, strawberries etc.
3. Not 1, Not 2, But 3
If you are planning on shedding some pounds, or want to maintain that awesome shape, you need to eat at least 3 meals a day. Make sure you eat a balanced diet for each meal (proteins, carbs and vegetables).
Eat more whole grains; white meat such as chicken & fish; plant proteins such as beans; and also include a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can spice up your meals with natural spices such as black pepper, curry powder, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, etc. Use Extra Virgin Olive oil instead of Corn oil.
Shortcuts such as skipping a meal don’t work. If you eat breakfast but skip lunch, there is a high probability you are going to over eat during dinner. And because you are going to sleep after dinner, you don’t need all this energy, so the body stores the extra energy as fat, and it will probably put it where you don’t want it… around your belly. Really wicked, right?
4. Water, water and more H20!
Water is life. I like to call it the healthiest beverage. There are many benefits of taking water such as weight loss, reduced cravings, smooth & glowing skin, improved energy levels, reduced fatigue, prevents dehydration which leads to headaches and migraines, just to name a few.
So, to maintain a healthy lifestyle and her now slim figure, Khloe Kardashian apparently takes 5 liters of water a day! Now, I don’t know how true this, but that’s A LOT of water in a day.
Let’s be realistic guys. I can barely manage over 3 liters a day.
The recommended water intake is usually around 2 liters / 8 glasses, depending on your weight. The heavier you are, the more water you should take. I take between 2 and 2.5 liters every day. Again, don’t jump into it. Start by increasing your daily intake gradually. For instance, if you are currently taking one glass a day, take 2 on the next day, etc and you will definitely get there.
Plus, there are water intake apps you can download on your phone to keep track of your intake and also give you frequent reminders. Now, how awesome is that? 🙂
5. Processed or Refined Sugar
This is an ingredient in most foods and drinks, from soft drinks, fruit juices, to pastries like cakes, pies, cookies and white bread. Majority add sugar in their coffee, tea and porridge in the morning. On the other hand, there are healthy sugars such as those found in fruits, which are actually essential for the body.
While sugar adds sweetness to whatever you are eating, it is highly discouraged by doctors, fitness experts and nutritionists.
Obesity and Diabetes are some of the lifestyle diseases resulting from high sugar intake.
Sugar is the major cause of cravings. That’s why when you only have a soda for lunch, you will want to eat a packet of cookies later on due to sugar cravings.
So, how do you reduce your intake? Well, if you start increasing your water intake, your cravings will reduce tremendously. You can also opt for natural sweeteners that you can add to your tea or coffee. As for people like me who have a sweet tooth, and love those fluffy muffins and chocolate chip cookies, occupy your mind with something like reading a book, taking a walk (don’t forget your water bottle) around the neighborhood, or dialing-up a friend.
Alternatively, grab a fruit high in fiber like an apple , which will definitely reduce your cravings and keep you full longer. The first few weeks may be challenging, but when you have trained your body on how to handle cravings, it will be much easier in the long-run.
6. Move that Body
Fitness is also important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Depending on how active you are, working out between 3 to 4 days a week for 1 hour will keep you fit and in good shape, be it Zumba, Aerobics, Salsa, yoga, jogging, or brisk walking. Working out also reduces stress levels, improves your mood significantly as well as your general cardiovascular health. So, keep moving!
Use these tips to achieve balance.
I do they will help you out in your journey to living a healthier and longer life as much as they are helping me. Feel free to share your thoughts on this, and if you like, add more of your own tips.
Do have a healthy day! 🙂