How to stop struggling and eat healthy already!

Eating healthy can feel overwhelming and complicated and challenging. I found an article on the Team Beachbody Blog that pinpoints the 7 most common struggles when it comes to eating healthier and I wanted to share with you today. Hope it helps!

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We are inundated with options on how to eat; low carb, organic, whole grains, Paleo, vegan, keto, body type…and so many more it can make you give up before you begin. Which is the best option and why are there so many? You’re only interested in what works and you want results sooner than later, right?

Let’s first understand that it isn’t going to be a “quick fix” or temporary change; it’s going to take some effort but once you get over some of the struggles and create your own balance…you’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes!

Let’s start from the beginning and keep it simple, ok? First of all, we are going to visit the 7 most common issues when it comes to healthy eating and how you can make it simpler to start now.

Issue #1: How do I eat healthy anyway?? 

I know it can seem overwhelming to start the healthy eating lifestyle if it’s something you’ve never done before. Which foods are healthy? How do you cook these foods?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. You are definitely not alone in this area. When you start eating healthy, it’s normal to feel a bit unsure about some of the food choices and how they will taste. Will you like them? Will it be difficult to do? Where do you get the best products and how do you eat healthy when you’re eating out? It’s about starting slowly and taking it one step at a time. This is always the best practice to long term habits; as you have time to learn as you go and lessen the feelings that can overwhelm us when we are in a rush to do it all at once.

Start with a basic list of foods you can stock up on. (For my FREE 7 day Slim-Down grocery list and meal plan, click HERE) Then, each week, just add one new item or try one or two new healthy recipes until you start to find your groove. You’ll notice that you gravitate towards certain choices and once you eliminate (or cut back) on processed foods and sugary foods, your taste buds will be more interested in the natural flavors that healthy foods provide. I like to watch the cooking channel to gain some new ideas and browse through Pinterest or google for new recipes. The secret is to never get bored with your food selections so you don’t start to crave the unhealthy foods that you used to turn to.

Issue #2: But healthy eating costs so much more!! 

I know you’ve probably heard it before, or even said it yourself, “Fresh fruits and veggies spoil so quickly. Buying organic foods costs so much more. It’s just so expensive!”

Right? If you can’t afford to buy all organic foods, that’s totally fine! Be picky about the ones you spend more on.  Check out the clean/dirty produce list to help guide you to the best options. If you can’t afford to buy organic at all, choose the produce from the clean list instead.

Buying produce in-season can always help save money; and it tastes so much better too! Frozen fruits and veggies can also be easier on your budget and are just as healthy fresh choices (they are flash frozen at their peak of ripeness). Instead of using crushed ice cubes in your Shakeology or smoothies, use the frozen fruits instead. If you are tired of dealing with wilting raw spinach or kale leaves; add them to soups or use frozen spinach or chopped frozen kale instead.

I have a client who lives in Alaska and struggles getting in enough fruits and veggies because they have to wait for shipments to come to their area and purchase the foods before they are all gone from other shoppers! Talk about real struggles! But she gets it done with the frozen options and on a really bad period of low or no veggies/fruits, as long as she gets her Shakeology in – she is certain she is feeding her body the right nutrients to stay balanced. When there is a will, there is always a way! 😉

Issue #3: I hate grocery shopping! 

I totally understand this issue but have since come to terms with it as I’m a crazy coupon lady now! 😉 But for those of you who really do hate shopping, you have many options now! There’s online help to the rescue. Grocery stores deliver more frequently now and it’s easy as choosing the items from the online website. Amazon now provides a service with Prime Now and you can order on your phone or computer and schedule your groceries to be delivered at a time that’s best for you. Need I say more?

Issue #4: Unhealthy food marketing is everywhere now!! 

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All you have to do it scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll see crazy food recipes and pictures of double stuffed cookie dough pie dipped in chocolate or slutty brownie bars oozing with marshmallows – and so much more. The temptations can almost hypnotize us into feeling as though we need these items. There is never a shortage of candy, doughnuts or cookies at the office either. So what to do?

Why not start a new trend in your circle? Be the change you want to see in others. I find it so ridiculous the choices we continue feeding ourselves and the ones we love and yet, complain about our lack of control or our growing waist lines. We can take back control and provide healthier solutions in the office, home or at events. You can find healthy baked items online to take with you to the next birthday celebration, that next early morning meeting or during special get togethers. It gives you the option to eat better and not feel like you’re depriving yourself; and it also helps someone else make a better choice along with you.

Issue #5: I don’t have the time to eat healthy! 

This one is one I hear so often that I’m surprised it isn’t listed as #1! I know the thought of driving through the fast food chain drive-thru seems so much simpler than coming home and figuring out what to eat and how to make it. But can I share how much easier my life is (for me and my family) now that I’m meal prepping for the week on Saturday or Sunday? I even save so much money because I have all of the items I need on hand for the week in my weekly grocery store visit; instead of rushing back and forth when I realize I need one of this or that. All it takes is an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep and it saves you hours of time during the week. No more rushing around trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

I create my weekly meals and write out the recipes, ingredients and head to the store. This all takes me about 2 hours max. I then spend time putting the foods away and posting my weekly menu on the refrigerator so I (and my family) know ahead of time what’s available and what’s being served. Need more help? Healthy meal planning is easier than you may think. In order to get started, Beachbody has some meal plans here to provide some great ideas.

Click here: Meal Plan Ideas

Or here: 90 minutes meal prep from start to finish

Issue #6: What if you make a recipe that doesn’t work for your family? 

This has happened more times than I’d like to admit but it’s true. I’ve made a recipe that I was sure was going to be a hit with the family; and even though I might love it, either the hubby or kids (or both) said otherwise. First of all, the ego is hurt but what about the food that’s left? It’s tempting to just go back to the choices they prefer and forget about cooking healthy forever! (melodramatic music, playing in the background)

But I have to tell you to stay strong and keep going. Try different foods or cook the foods in different methods. If you find you (or your family) won’t eat steamed broccoli, then try roasting it with some olive oil and salt sprinkled over. Just making some simple changes can do wonders for your taste buds.. and theirs!

Issue #7: You are fearful of missing out on the the decadent foods you love! 

When we feel deprived of foods (or anything, really), it makes us want those things more than ever. I recommend allowing your favorite foods every once in awhile; or at least a few times each month. If we focus on the feeling of being restricted, we cannot enjoy the healthy habits we are gaining. Eating healthy does not mean being absolutely perfect. That’s not possible. Choosing to eat healthy 80% of the time – allows us to enjoy some treats and “cheats” 20% of the time.

You can eat your pizza and brownies and cookies…just not every day!

What is your favorite treat that you don’t want to live without?

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Diet is a 4-Letter word!

 

So, it’s the weekend, right?

I know too many people who take that as a free for all in terms of eating and doing anything they want. I totally get it cuz I always did the same thing before…and then for some reason couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t seeing my results! :-/

hmmmm…seems pretty obvious but maybe not.

I want to share exactly what and why you probably have heard this a zillion times and the reasons they are critical to our body’s success.

We have gone through our entire lives learning from the media. Learning from the diet industry. Learning from other people that share their “thoughts” and “opinions”, right?

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I know from the young age of 11 years old, I thought I had to be on a “diet”…at ELEVEN YEARS OLD!  It was a constant up and down battle with myself and listening to the media, reading magazines and hearing my peers talk about their thoughts and feelings about what the best practices were and what products and secrets would help with the weight loss.

I went to Weight Watchers at 15 and learned how to portion my foods out but I know at the same time I was still filling voids in my habits with the frozen treats that the company provided for sale. I’d eat great for breakfast and lunch and then “earn” a Weight Watchers frozen chocolate brownie cake for my after lunch as a “treat”. Then the same thing for after dinner with another “treat”. Some days, I’d even warm up a frozen Weight Watchers cinnamon roll and eat it with a serving of cottage cheese as my “breakfast”.

Now these are not terrible habits, as I was able to lose 20 lbs initially doing just that. But was it healthy? Could my body sustain this way of eating long term with no negative effects later down the road?

Honestly, it wasn’t ideal in terms of nutrition. This was a simple and effective weight loss system that kept me in the “diet” phase. I could not be in the best shape; inside and outside by following this plan. I mean, think about it…we can always lose weight doing anything that cuts out any food groups or is restrictive in any way for a short time, right? Losing weight is not the issue…keeping it off  and living our healthiest lives possible is where the battle lies.

There are a zillion plus one diets out there at any given time…and counting. Just google the word “diet” and a plethora of calorie and nutrition restrictive programs will pop up. Drink juiced veggies and fruits all day and lose weight! wow! Surprising? Not really, you’re cutting out every other food group that exists so why wouldn’t you lose weight doing this? But could you do this for the rest of your life? Would you want to?

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How about the diet where you eat just protein, veggies and fats? Sure, you will lose weight because you cut out a whole food group! No carbs/grains so that must mean that they are “bad” for us, right? WRONG!! Our bodies require carbs for certain times and energy needs; so in terms of sustaining this way of eating…probably not! (just give it a try long enough and see how grumpy and lethargic you start to feel over time)

How about drinking a “Quick Slim” diet shake 3 times a day and eating a salad for dinner? Of course you’ll lose weight! That’s not the dilemma here either! Have you read what’s inside those “diet” drinks and shakes? Do you know what half of those ingredients are or where they come from? Why would you put that into your body just to lose weight when losing weight is not the issue? Keeping the weight off and feeling good about ourselves is the problem. Get to the root of the problem in order to find the solution. Diets are just bandaids. They temporarily “cover up” the problem but never deal with the solution. So the yo-yo cycle continues..and we call ourselves “weak” and feel we have no real “willpower”.

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Is what you’re doing now helping you long term? Fast forward 5-10 years from today and imagine you practice the same eating and fitness program until then. Will it benefit you more or less in the long run? I’m not saying to get rid of everything we enjoy; heck, I eat cake, cookies and candy regularly and am not interested if someone tells me I can’t have them! What I am saying is that we need to stop pretending that the issue is in losing weight. We can lose weight over and over and over and over again….and you know what? Some of us might be okay with that process. But think about the body and how it takes a beating each time with the weight gain and the weight loss repeatedly done over the years. We break down lean muscle tissue and we replace it with more fat stores than we began with before the word “diet” was introduced into our lives.

So today, in honor of this weekend, choose to treat yourself kindly to 1 or 2 foods or drinks that you enjoy. The rest of your meals and drinks should be chosen based on good nutrition. Stop buying crappy diet foods. Make sure any drink, shake or food you choose is filled with only the best ingredients and fulfills your body’s daily requirements of vitamins, minerals and full nutrition. If you’re overdoing it on the weekends, only to go cold turkey again on Monday…something is off balance.

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It’s not your “diet”…it’s your habits and mindset. I would love to hear from you if you agree or disagree with this! Please feel free to comment below. 🙂

 

Did Someone Say, “Special Brownies”?

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to me!! Haha!

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Seriously, I have been following my Clean Eating plan religiously after completing my Body Beast program and now starting up with P90X2.  I have started this program once before but wasn’t quite excited about the stability training it started off with, since I was hoping for a more challenging and crazy workout.

Do you ever go through phases like these?  It’s interesting how I chalked it up to needing more “burn” for the hour of fitness at that time.

Now? Like I mentioned earlier, following my 90 days of Body Beast and building some major muscle definition and mass in my body; I’m quite excited and eager to take on X2 this time around.  For starters, I get to rebalance my focus to my core, primarily, at this time in the plan.  That wasn’t the main focus in the Beast; although don’t let that fool you into thinking he doesn’t focus on the core enough!  Contrary, my friend!

Anyway, I have somehow lost my original focus in this post.  I wanted to share about how committed I’ve been to my Clean Eating and portions.  Not as easy to do again; after getting used to bulk up eating!

I saw a recipe post for these amazing, gooey, chocolatey brownie-like treats.  I had to have them!

In reading the first ingredient; I was a bit thrown off.

Yams.

In brownies?  I guess…

So, off I went to the store to purchase the items that I didn’t have on hand and on the top of my list was a bag full of yams.  (My current stock was depleted!)

Since I’ve now made them (and enjoyed my portion for today, thank you, very much!); I thought it’d only be kind to share with you and hope you can enjoy them just as much as I.

In honor of Mothers’ Day and mothers everywhere; here’s a healthy and clean version of our most sinful foods in chocolate form!

Put 1 medium-large sweet potato in the oven at 400*
Cook it for 30-40 minutes. Remove the skin and place it in a blender.

Then add: 3 eggs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp rice malt syrup or raw honey
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract

Mix in a separate bowl:
2tbsp coconut flour (for a more fudgy feel, use less)
5 tbsp cocoa powder or cacao
1/4 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt

Combine the sweet potato mixture to the dry ingrients and then add 3 tbsp cacao nibs if you like a bit of a bitter crunch.
Pour into a lined 8×8 baking tray and put into a 350* oven for 30-35 minutes.

Simply delish!!! Even if I have to say so myself!

Now, note to my family; I don’t need chocolates as gifts, but I’ll gladly accept gifts in all other forms!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!