Dieting is pretty much against my religion. It goes against everything I believe in as a woman. I cannot stand the idea of counting calories or punishing my body to look a certain way.
One thing I do absolutely believe in though, is eating well.
Eating right or healthy was something I never ever considered before I had Harlo. When it was time for her to eat solids after she had been exclusively breast fed, I couldn’t imagine taking a bottle off of a shelf filled with who-knows-what and giving it to her perfectly pure 6 month old body. We got about 1 bottle in, (mayyyyybe 3 bites she choked down) and had days worth of constipation. I couldn’t.
One morning, I found myself googling “make your own baby food” and for me, that’s when everything changed. The Real Food movement hit me like a mack truck. It was exactly the answer I had been praying for.
Being a girl who couldn’t cook anything besides microwavable ramen noodles, making my own baby food was a big undertaking, but one I was happy to tackle. I loved it so much that I got bound and determined to learn how to really cook and I became a slave to Rachael Ray to show me the way. Home girl didn’t disappoint!
I would have never in a million years thought I would enjoy cooking, but as I’ve mentioned before, nothing fills my soul the way preparing a meal does. It is always my goal to cook every night, but as we all can probably relate.. sometimes life gets in the way. From about Sept-January I am working non-stop and shooting mostly in the dinner time area, so cooking on those days is usually out. This year was particularly hard because just as I had finished my busy season, I got pregnant and early pregnancy and cooking for me, just does not quite mix.
But as we know, this pregnancy didn’t quite have the ending I had envisioned and I was left with a broken heart plus 15 extra pounds that I now had to deal with.
Here is where dieting vs. eating well comes in.
To me, dieting is a dirty word for people who hate their bodies and want to change them. I don’t hate my body. I’ve written about body image before. Even with these 15 extra lbs and more cellulite than usual, I know my body has just gone through a lot and my goal is to take care of it, not force it into cooperation or punish it to be different.
This has been a good opportunity for me to look at what I’m eating, though. I don’t typically watch what I eat except that I try to eat real food whenever possible. With trying to get my body back into it’s normal, healthy condition, I have seen a lot of room for improvement. This last weekend, I made up a shopping list full of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner made up of high protein and high fiber foods. I’ve enjoyed the extra challenge in my meal planning and I’ve really enjoyed the feeling that I’m taking good care of myself. I’m not worried about the weight coming off, I’m just hoping to get myself back into eating how I’d like to feed this body of mine and feeling more like myself again.
I wanted to share this because I think sometimes eating better gets overwhelming. All you can see is the things you’re doing wrong and it seems like you need to change everything all at once. But that doesn’t have to be how it works. Eating well, just like eating crappy is something that happens gradually by habit. If you get into the habit of eating junk food for most of your meals, surely you can get into the habit of eating a little better, one small choice at a time. Like ordering an omelet instead of the pancakes, a salad rather than the pasta, a frozen yogurt in place of that sundae.
Here is how I started my slow and steady movement to a healthier eating lifestyle,
Meal planning – Planning each meal is so important! It gives you a different perspective on what you’re eating collectively and when you have a plan, it’s so much easier to stick to it. I will usually plan all my dinners 2 weeks at a time and add in a few lunches and breakfast stuff to grab leaving room for lunches out, etc. With trying to eat healthier though, I have planned out 2 weeks of breakfast, lunches and dinners and so far I am loving it. Here is an example of what I’m eating right now,
Breakfast: eggs and low fat cottage cheese scrambled. Hadn’t tried this before, but the cottage cheese gives the eggs such a good flavor and you can leave out milk and shredded cheese. Add ham for a little extra protein. ;)
Lunch: Rotisserie chicken lettuce wraps with hot mustard. These 3 ingredients are such a good flavor combo and perfect for a busy mama. Easy to grab and easy to clean up. Bonus is that it’s delicious and filling.
Dinner: Pesto chicken in the crock pot served with asparagus and caesar salad.
Splurging – I think it’s so important to splurge a bit. Remember we’re not punishing ourselves and we should absolutely enjoy what we love in this life. I also think this is imperative to sticking with your healthy eating goals. We’re not on a diet, we’re working to change our lifestyle and who wants a lifestyle without any sweets or pastas? Not me, for dang sure.
Finding your weaknesses and try to tweak them – This is where everyone will vary and also why I hate diets. Not everyone eats the same and not everyone has the same struggles. I know for me, I struggle most with not eating out and eating more carb type meals or fried foods. I love junk food! So I still need to find a way to feel like I’m not depriving myself, but see if I can find a healthier alternative. For instance, today I had a cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr, protein style. They make the cheeseburger exactly the same, except instead of bread they wrap it in lettuce. I had never tried it before but I was actually surprised by how much I didn’t miss the bread. It was delicious and totally made me feel like I was cheating even though I wasn’t. I love that! I’m not much of a sweets person, but sometimes I like eating a treat at night before bed. Instead of grabbing my beloved talenti (every night.. you bet I’ll splurge sometimes! ;) ) I mix myself a little cup of honey greek yogurt and frozen berries. It’s such a yummy treat and it’s full of protein and fiber, and since the berries are frozen, I feel like I’m eating ice cream. I try to find ways to tweak each meal just by simple fixes. Serving dinner with a salad or sauteed veggies, rather than mashed potatoes or rice, skipping the toast and opting for avocado slices with my eggs, making myself a salad instead of a sandwich. This to me doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, and I seriously like being able to see where I can make a meal a bit more healthy.
Cooking – If you would only want to do one thing to eat more healthy, I would say cooking is THE best thing you can do. There is so much added sodium in foods we eat at restaurants – even when we order the healthier things. By cooking your own meals, you know exactly what you’re getting. Make things from scratch! It’s not nearly as hard as you would think. If you’re confused by how to start: If it comes in a package on the shelf, it’s not good for you. If it spoils within a couple weeks, it’s good for you! Stock your fridge full of ingredients, plans some meals and get cookin’. And if you don’t know the first thing about cooking, check out my girl Rachael Ray.
For the next few weeks I am making a conscious effort to make healthier lifestyles. I’m excited for the journey! Wanna join me? :D