“The only way to be healthy and fit is to go on a diet.” So many people make this mistake, (me included)…you try multiple fad diets and juice cleanses, which ultimately leave you feeling deflated and uninspired. The truth is, a sustainable healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult and doesn’t take too much change. It can be a little daunting to start with, but once you get into a routine it becomes a lot easier. I have also learnt that cooking can be fun; I used to default to cooking the same basic meal time and time again, but with a new healthier me; I can honestly say I regularly experiment with new flavours and food. What once was a laborious task is now a new hobby!
I was really lucky that growing up my parents always cooked their food from scratch and made me like vegetables from a young age. Unfortunately, when I went to University I became lazy with my meals and I ate really large portions which didn’t help my weight gain. I would binge on chocolate and I loved bad carbs. Having fast food after a night out became a regular occurrence which was a hard habit to break. Luckily, I broke these habits and managed to change my lifestyle to a new, happier healthier me. Although at the start it was hard, I’m SO happy I did and I want everyone to know it is totally do-able! I’m going to share a few tips that really helped me when I started to eat clean – and hopefully it will help you too!
TOP TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY
- Cut out processed foods
- Try and buy fresh when you can
- Don’t have fizzy drinks
- Cut out refined sugar – within moderation
- Allow yourself occasional treats – otherwise you’ll probably end up having a massive binge
Think of your body as a rulebook and like any set of rules they need time to get used to a change. In this sense, your body needs time to get used to your new way of eating. This is a gradual journey, not a sudden departure; don’t cut out everything all at once – it can be a shock to the system so you need to give your body time to get used to a different way of eating. Sugar is probably the hardest thing to wean yourself off of. Start slowly, for example, if you have sugar in your tea and coffee, cut this out first. You learn to find healthier alternatives of the foods full of fat/salt/sugar that you used to have. I had no idea but things like sauces are FULL of salt. Try and cook everything from scratch and experiment with new flavours or recipes – you might surprise yourself!
STOCK UP YOUR FOOD CUPBOARD
It may seem like an expensive change, but after you do one big shop, things like spices will last you a really long time. Here’s a few staples that I would always have:
- Spices – my staples are cumin, coriander, paprika, chilli flakes
- Coconut oil
- Honey/maple syrup – alternative to sugar
- Brown rice/noodles
- Cans of tomatoes/kidney beans
- Soy sauce
- Apple cider vinegar
- Almond butter – not a necessity but SO good
There is no need to make it really expensive. Of course you could go crazy and spend loads of money on superfoods, nuts and pre-made healthy snacks – but there is no need for this! You have to find what works for you. Eating well isn’t like a diet that you do for a short amount of time, it’s something that you want to become part of your lifestyle. So, if that means you need to have a few treats a week then DO IT. Eating clean does not mean you have to deprive yourself from all of the things you love. I drink alcohol, I have chocolate and desserts when I go out – but it’s all in moderation and that’s the key!
People who are promoting to eat MORE food have done such a great thing for the fitness industry. I love the impact Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) has had on society. He created fitness and meal plans that focussed on eating more of the right type of foods, combined with exercise to help lose weight. For a while, I couldn’t comprehend how you could lose weight by eating more, but I can tell you now, IT WORKS!
For all of my meals, I try and keep them as balanced as possible. I usually look at what I’m eating and think: do I have enough protein, carbs, healthy fats and vegetables in this meal. If not, for my next meal I’ll add more of what I’m missing in. I don’t track my macros, I just try and eat intuitively.
MY FAVOURITE RECIPE IDEAS
When you first start out, it can be a little daunting with what to make and what will work together, so here are my favourite blogs/books I follow that have some great ideas:
- Deliciously Ella – all round
- Madeleine Shaw – all round
- Livias Kitchen – sweet treats
- Joe Wicks – quick, simple meals
- Hemsley and Hemsley – all round
I hope this proves that changing your lifestyle to a healthy one is not impossible, and you don’t need to follow a fad diet to lose weight.