I am a firm believer that diet culture is one of the most damaging things that is a lot of the time forced onto young girls. I know I was 11 when I went on my first diet, and I’ve either been “on my diet” or “off my diet” ever since. If I’m eating an unhealthy meal, chances are you’ll hear me say “it’s cheat day”.
I’ve tried keto, low carb, atkins, paleo, CICO, clean eating, low calorie, vegan (which is not a diet but for me it was), I’ve done cleanses, fasts, tried appetite suppressant pills, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it. This has resulted in nothing but weight gain, disordered eating patterns, and issues regarding binging due to always restricting myself.
I’ve recently given up diets all together. I eat what I want, when I want. It’s really weird, because I’ll go through phases where all I want is fast food and sweets, and then I’ll go through phases where I want fruits and veggies. I find if you listen to your body, it will always tell you what it needs.
However, there is a part of me, and probably a lot of you, that would like to try to eat a little healthier.
Here are some easy ways to eat healthier without dipping your feet back into diet culture
(this also works on picky husbands and boyfriends, like mine)
Use swap outs
I’m not saying to eliminate carbs because that is too restrictive, but what I am saying is you can easily switch out white rice with quinoa, or spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash. I also like to swap white bread with ancient grain bread, not only because I feel like it is a bit better for you, but I like the taste.
Another thing I will swap from time to time is ground beef with ground chicken. Ground chicken is a little leaner and a little less greasy. There are tons of stuff you can swap out that won’t sacrifice taste. I know personally, I don’t only eat for nutrients. I truly enjoy eating and consider myself a foodie, so swap outs need to taste good.
Buy fresh fruit and cut it up immediately
I know if I have a whole watermelon or a whole pineapple on the counter, I’m not going to cut it up when a sugar craving strikes. However, if you buy it and slice it all up and throw it in the fridge, it’s there for when you need a little bit of sweetness. I know pineapple, when ripe, is about as sweet as anything else you could want. If I have the choice between fresh pineapple from the fridge and cookies in the pantry, I will choose pineapple every time.
Simply, cook more veggies!
I have a hard time with just cooking them and eating them. Danny is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Specifically, chicken and French fries/roasted potatoes. He is extremely picky but will choke down whatever I make most of the time. It’s just easier to make fries with every meal, but the last week or so I’ve been BBQing veggies instead of making fries every night and I’ve felt so much better. Not so much potato bloat is a welcomed situation.
Make your own cold treats
Where I live is in the middle of a heatwave right now. I’m talking humidex values of 37 degrees Celsius (that’s about 98 Fahrenheit) and all I want is freezies and popsicles. I’m trying to still get that cold treat satisfaction without all the sugar by making my own. Here’s a recipe I found online but can’t remember where (sorry!) I’m sure if you looked up Greek yogurt popsicles it would come up!
– 12 ounces Plain Greek yogurt
– 2 cups Fruit of choice (I like berries but almost anything would work)
– ¼ cup sweetener of choice (honey works great)
– Vanilla extract (you could alternatively buy vanilla Greek yogurt)
I’m going to be trying another variation where I loosen the mixture with almond milk to stretch it out more.
Buy those handy dandy popsicle molds and boom, you’ve got some healthy popsicles for a hot day!
Ditch sugary drinks and drink more water
I’m a sucker for diet beverages, which are their own type of evil. However, if there’s juice of any sort in the house, consider it gone. I have a hard time drinking water, mostly because I forget about it but also because there’s no flavour. I like to set water goals every day. I don’t exactly know how much my water bottle holds but I would say probably about 3 cups. I try to drink at least 3 of them a day. I still drink pops and juices but drinking more water tends to curb my appetite for tasty beverages.
Get out and move, without trying to meet a goal
What I mean by this is go for a walk with your partner or your kids, take your dog for a nice walk through some trails, go outside and play with your kids. Get outside and move but do it because you enjoy it, not because you think you need to.
Don’t limit yourself
Okay, this doesn’t exactly make you physically healthier, but it can definitely make you mentally healthier. If you want a burger and fries, go get it. I’m trying to get friendlier with my body and giving into cravings every once in a while, is something I need to allow myself, and you do too! “Everything in moderation” is something we all hear right? Well I know it’s easier said than done. There’s going to be days when you accidentally restrict and days when you accidentally binge, but don’t let that get you down! If you want a treat, have a treat. You can have more veggies tomorrow.
And remember guys
Take care of yourself