After losing 17 pounds through strict dieting and intense workouts (read the story here), I realized that living that strict of a lifestyle was unsustainable. I needed a new plan. I wanted to keep the weight I had lost off for good.
I knew I needed to find ways that were easily incorporated into my lifestyle in order to maintain my weight. After some trail and error, I figured out the healthy eating habits that worked for me. This journey taught me that working out is not enough, you have to also eat clean. These are the 7 healthy eating habits that have helped me maintain my weight loss.
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1) substituting bad for less bad
What I mean by this is making healthier choices when it comes to foods that are not good for you. For instance, I rarely ever eat white bread or white rice anymore, instead I eat whole wheat bread and brown rice or quinoa. I won’t lie to you, I love carbs, so this was not an easy substitution at first. I craved white rice, especially at Chipotle! But after dieting and forgetting the flavor of white carbs, I don’t crave them anymore.
Another good substitution I make is when it comes to snacks. Instead of eating greasy deep fried chips, I eat kettle corn. My favorite one is Angie’s boomchickapop, which I am now addicted to. There is now even a healthier ice cream option from Halo Top. There ice cream packs a large serving of protein to help meet your goal for the day with the same amazing taste as ice cream without the high amounts of sugar! I love the red velvet!
There are always healthier options out there that taste really good too!
2) cutting out soda + sugary drinks
This one is pretty straight forward. Soda and other sugary drinks, even sports drinks, add unnecessary calories and sugar to your diet. Most of these calories are “empty” calories which mean they have no nutritional value. Knowing this, I cut out soda almost completely from my diet, except for the occasional alcoholic beverage!
To tie in the previous habit, I have now replaced soda with a carbonated water. I am now addicted to La Croix which I drink once or twice a day. I figured out that They have zero calories so they are guilt free!
3) eating healthy 75% of the time
There is no way that anyone can eat healthy or “clean” all day everyday for the rest of their life. I let myself have cheat meals but they are not the majority of my meals. Out of the 21 meals (3 meals a day) I eat a week about 4 of them are allowed to be “cheat” meals. That does not mean all that this number is set in stone, sometimes I only eat 2 “unhealthy” meals a week and other times I eat 6. I just try to stay as true to the 75% rules as I can!
In order to do keep my meals healthy 75% of the time I used to eat salads for lunch at my office. The salad was pretty much the only thing I brought to eat so I wasn’t able to cheat at work because there were no options! Out of sight, out of mind. For breakfast I would stay healthy by eating almonds (these are my favorite, so yummy!) and a banana after my morning coffee.
4) finding the healthy foods that I really like
There are plenty of healthy food options available now! So there has to be at least a few things in the grocery store that will satisfy your taste buds. Personally I love carrots because of their amazing crunch with some hummus or sweet cherry tomatoes by themselves. After eating healthy for so long those are now my go to snack.
Also I now have a love affair with salads that have a lot of flavors and ingredients. I am so in love with them that when I’m traveling, I actually start to crave a salad or veggies. Eating out day after day loses its appeal quickly and all I want is some lettuce in a bowl! I never thought I would be that person!
5) being mindful/CONTROLLING my portions
This is something that I have struggled with my whole life. If food is in front of me I will keep eating it until I can not eat anymore or it is all gone. Now I make sure to only put the portion that I should eat on my plate. I also try to just be more mindful while I’m eating. What “mindful eating” means is being present with you food. Sounds silly I know but I realized how I much I eat without realizing I’m doing it. I’m sure that you have heard this somewhere before and it really does work.
I used to just shove food in my face as I’m watching TV or talking to someone. When I should have been focusing on my food, enjoying the flavors, and paying attention to the amount I was eating.
6) Remembering I’m bored not hungry
This is one of the factors in why I have always gained weight. When I am bored and there is nothing to do I tell myself I am “hungry.” Am I really hungry? 99% of time, no I am not hungry. My mind and body are just looking for something to do. Food is so accessible that it is the easiest thing to cure your boredom. It also gives you instant gratification so you feel good while eating.
Now I try to find other things to do when I’m bored. I stay away from the kitchen when I have nothing to do and lock myself in my room (not literally). I know if I wander in there it is game over and I’ll see a snack and start eating it. Now I stop and ask myself if I’m really hungry, which usually does the trick.
7) Not Using Food as a reward or comfort
I think I read on Pinterest a quote that said “you are not a dog, do not reward yourself with food.” Dang, I thought, whoever said this is right. There are hundreds of other things you can do to reward yourself. Buy yourself something nice, hang out with friends, let yourself spend the night in, get a manicure, or go on that trip you’ve been planning. There are so many things that you can do that do not require food as a reward. This is something that I am definitely guilty of.
I was also guilty of (And still am) of using food as a source of comfort. Like I said before, food is an easily accessible. It also makes you feel good instantly! Those two are the worst combination for your weight, when you are feeling a little down in the dumps. Now, I try to do something active to feel better like go on a walk or a hike. Or if I am really tired, I watch a stand-up comedy special on Netflix to inflate my mood.
We have really programmed some bad habits into our lifestyle so it may take some work to reprogram them. That is totally okay because you can fix it! Some of the habits I use are easy to incorporate into your life and come are a little tough but they are all working for me. Hopefully some of them, or maybe even all of them, can work for you too. Just make sure to try out different things and don’t get discouraged if one doesn’t work!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by leaving a comment below.
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