ahhhhh! it's a salad. RUN. RUN to McDonalds!
Another EAT VEG AND DRINK WATER post? Not quite. I thought I'd write something that I wish I had read when I just wanted to get a little bit healthier, feel better within myself and get a bit fitter! I didn't want to read about macros, protein or be completely overwhelmed with jargon making me feel like I almost wasn't intelligent enough to get healthy! I wanted something simple and that would ease me into it. I'm a naturally skinny girl but I was the most unfit out of everyone I knew. I could barely walk (let alone run) without being to of breath and I constantly felt tired. In all honestly, it was the tiredness that made me want to sort out my diet. I slept constantly, when I was awake I couldn't concentrate and all I did was just sit around and do nothing because I didn't have the energy to do anything else. I was known for living off of Dominos or microwave pizza and snacking on all forms of fast food throughout the day. I once had took two McDonald breakfasts' to my lecture which happened to be on nutrition... (oh, the irony)
This post is a post for anyone that wants to ease into healthy living for the same reasons as I did. Not to be some super green god, have abs of steal or to run around with bundles of spinach weaved within my hair. Just a normal person wanting to eat a little better, feel a bit better and perhaps lose a bit of that belly. I've tried to break it into different sections as I know the information may not apply to everyone. I'm also no professional, but that if anything was what I was looking for when I decided to be healthier. This first post will be on healthy eating and drinking. I'll do some more posts in the future on fitness, motivation/keeping on track and other bits and bobs. I don't want to do it all in one post as I do go on a bit (this is a long one, get yourself a cuppa)!
As I mentioned before, I was the queen of pizza and take away. I lived for anything fried or greasy. I'm lucky in the fact that I've never been an avid fan of sweet food (no, not even chocolate) so that was not too much of an issue for me but eating vegetables definitely was.
I think the main bit of advice I can give is it is a transition. Please don't think that that Sunday night where you are like 'okay, healthy eating starts tomorrow' means you will never touch chocolate again and you will fall asleep cuddling Kale. I've tried to be healthy doing that route before (minus the Kale cuddling) and it was useless, I became irritable and pissed off almost straight away and the 'healthy-ness' lasted all of a couple of days.
The most effectively way I have found was to do it gradually.
What do you mean gradually? One night a week where I eat everything fried in sight?! No. What I mean is I decided at the very beginning that I would just make sure that one out of 3 meals a day was healthy. Then once I had gotten into this as a routine I went to 2/3 meals being healthy. Eventually I ended up feeling lethargic and put off by the unhealthy meals instead of craving them and ended up eating healthy throughout the day without even really realising. Of course if I went out for food with friends I'd have whatever I wanted but by the end of it you get to a place where you feel so shite after that giant pizza that you kind of wish maybe I'd ordered something a little better for me (but that comes in time - and sometimes you can throw carrots to the wind and indulge just because-).
But I really struggle to find healthy meals I like? All the recipes are complicated or just aren't my cup of tea? Exactly what my issues were. I am such a fussy eater. Well, I was. I'm better now... I must be growing up. Anyway, all the recipes I found were either expensive, complicated or just sounded bloody awful to me. I decided to sit down and make a list of all the healthy or 'reasonably' healthy fruit and veg that I actually enjoyed or didn't mind. (I warn you this list was incredibly short). Once I had that I wrote a list of all the meal that were unhealthy or snacks that were unhealthy but I adored (this list was a lot longer). By doing this I just knew what I had to work with instead of taking advice from the internet telling me to eat stuff I hated.
Okay... I've made my lists... now what? That list of healthy foods, google. Google recipes until your hearts content but include the individual food names in that search. Instead of being bombarded with stuff you hate you'll end up narrowing the search more to your tastes. That list of glorious fried meals? Google again (other search engines are available, har har). What I mean by that is google better alternatives to it. So my obsession with pizza? I googled 'healthy pizza alternatives' and ended up putting those few healthy items from the other list as toppings to that pizza. I decided to ditch my beloved life long love of cheddar cheese for mozzarella and feta cheese (I had to ease into this too... the addiction was real) but now I choose those voluntarily over cheddar all the time, I've just gone off of the taste of it! (I never thought I'd say that...)
As I said just start with one meal a day, make that the healthy alternative and then gradually work on the other meals but I will make the process so much easier and you'll be far more likely to stick to it as you haven't just taken away everything you love. I enjoy all the healthy meals I eat now because I made sure to ignore all the 'eat plain chicken and broccoli everyday' crap and only chose food I enjoyed even if it had some more calories in it. Oh, one more word of advice for that healthy list. Keep adding to it. There are so many foods I hated only a few years ago which I'm now obsessed with (aka avocado, rice, hummus). Your tastebuds change so be brave and try things you thought you didn't like, you may be surprised! Keep a drink with you just incase you still aren't a fan though...
Just get the food in that you know is not awful for you and work with that at first. See how it goes. But for the love of grapefruit do not pressure yourself to eat things you simply don't enjoy. Food is great, eating is great! It should be something you enjoy not dread. At first almost every meal I had that was healthy involved having a shit ton of salt or mayonnaise on it... Yes that completely ruined the health benefits of that meal but over time I cut them both out. Now instead of mayo with every meal (well, not breakfast.. I'm not mad) I probably have it once a month? If that. Just do whatever works for you. Throw ketchup all over your salad for the first few times if that will help you, then slowly take it away. You'll end up almost training those taste buds of yours to not want that unhealthy add-on. Just throw those healthy ingredients on your work top and make some magic with them (add some herbs and seasonings to give them a kick). It's your bloody meal, do what you want...
Just so you know I'm not talking out of my arse and I'm sat enjoying a glorious cheesecake (have eaten a fair bit of them recently though I won't lie) I've put my lunch pictures in below. I never thought I'd enjoy this meal but using the approach above I now thoroughly enjoyed my lunch and I know that it was good for me! (definitely better than a pizza at least!)
grab those healthy foods (or not so bad for you) foods you like and stare at them until you think of a concoction. (or just google one... y'know)
...cook 'em. I'm no chef, I need simple so whats better than grilled chicken for simple?? throw some herbs on it, good to go.
Admire your work. Just take it all in and wait for that stomach to flatten... (sense the sarcasm). One meal aint gonna do it guys.
Throw on some favourites, I love feta and hummus so thats my meal ready to go!
I realise that to someone just starting who hates healthy food, that meal may be your worst nightmare. It would of been mine. I would of laughed in the face of your salad. But now I genuinely enjoy it. It just took easing into it, trying different things and experimenting to get there. Obviously that takes time. But it was definitely worth it!
Okay. Drinking. So when I was a student this was a massive issue for me, I went to University in Newcastle so basically I was drunk for 90% of the time. I was also addicted to Coke. Nope, I haven't just revealing a dark past of mine. It was Diet Coca Cola I was addicted to. Oh those bubbles, I couldn't get enough. But I realised that my constant bloats may be because of that addiction. I started to cut it down. I was obsessed with cups of tea so I would have a cuppa instead of Coke every now again. Eventually it ended up that I felt sick every time I had Coke. The sugar just didn't react well with me and now I will only drink it if I'm very drunk and someone has bought me one with some vodka in it. (Not an advocate for alcoholism by the way, its pretty bad for you and our healthy lifestyle. I'm definitely classed as an occasional social drinker now! My student days are no more).
Now I don't like milk, so I drink my tea black (yes, weird I know, I've been told a few times). I then started having the odd glass of water here and there. I don't hate water but wouldn't say I'm a fan. But I gradually worked this in daily until yet again, I reached a stage that I was ordering it voluntarily at restaurants because I actually wanted it not because I felt like I had to drink it to not feel guilty. Water isn't exciting at the start, so throw some frozen fruit in it and buy yourself a cute glass to drink it out of (sad, but works). Just do it gradually, theres no point just cutting out your coffee or fanta because we all know you'll just feel like crap after a few days then go straight back to it.
What about this green tea lark? So my mother drank green tea. I tried it once... it was the stuff of the devil. It was awful. I vowed to never drink it again. I found it so bitter that I just wanted it gone gone I tell you! But then I was watching Karissa Pukas from youtube. She mentioned Green Tea and how she was once also not a fan for the same reasons as I. She continued to say that she had heard that putting the tea bag in the cup followed by a little cold water before adding the hot water took away that bitter taste and now she loved it! I was sceptical but I had acquired a couple of free green tea tea bags so I thought there was no harm in trying this method. Well my friends, she was right. I now barely drink any black tea and basically live off of green tea. I can also drink it normally now (I ain't gonna ask the guy at Starbucks to follow my method of madness, I will accept regular old hot tea bag style). Again, it worth trying things you thought you hated or see if there are alternative ways to make it etc. I drink green tea all the time now and my skin has improved quite a bit. So if it is something that maybe you just found a little bitter, give that a go and see if it works! There are loads of different fruit teas available, just open your mind to the possibilities out there (I hope you read that last part with a very whisper-y, soft voice. Maybe with a little echo to it).
So, those are my random ideas you may or may not find useful to trying to eat and drink a little healthier. It worked for me, it may work for you. I personally just think easing into things will help a lot more than just cutting yourself off. But if I can do it, I assure you you will find a way! I was the queen of pizza after all?
Any tips or things that you find useful leave them down below for me and others to see! Always good to help each other out.
Overall, just don't stress yourself about it and pile on the pressure, its not gonna help anyone!!