Tips I learned from my healthiness journey
People ask me often how I lost weight and while I very much remember being in that position where I just want someone to tell me how to lose weight, the only thing I can say is that I made it my own. I am unique. I am not a one-size-fits-all. I am not a diet or program and cannot expect any one else’s diet or program to work on me. What works for them won’t necessarily work for me. Losing weight for me meant figuring out what I needed. It meant figuring out how I worked and how to fit a healthy lifestyle into that.
Along the way, I found few things that worked for me.
Cut & freeze veggies: I struggle with veggies. I’m not a fan of canned veggies and cringe when fresh produce goes bad before I eat it. There’s a little discount grocery store around the corner from my house and they always have red and yellow peppers on sale for half the cost of buying them at a chain grocery store. Every couple of months, I swing by the discount grocery store and purchase five red and five yellow peppers. At home, I cut them into slices and lay them out onto a cookie sheet. I freeze them flat for a couple hours (to prevent them freezing to each other) and once frozen, toss them into a large freezer-safe container. As I’m cooking, I can just grab a handful or two and throw them into my morning scrambled eggs or pasta dinner. The same can be done for broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers and carrots.
Lukewarm water: I’m not a person of extremes. I don’t like my milk ice-cold and I detest coffee so hot it’s steaming. When I first fought to get my water intake in, I’d fill my water bottle up with water from the cooler (or grab a bottle from the fridge.) I’d fight to drink the water and cringe with each gulp. After a few months, it dawned on me that I drank the water faster after it had been sitting out. Now, when I fill my water bottle up, I fill it ¾ full of cold water and ¼ with hot water to get it to the perfect lukewarm temperature. I’ve found drinking water is so much easier now that I’ve found my perfect temperature.
Identify trigger foods: This one takes some work, and a lot of reflection. Identifying trigger foods helps so that when you are faced with the temptation, you know how you’ll react. I don’t ever deny myself foods, however I do limit purchases of foods I know trigger me. For example, I know buying a box of cereal is bad news for me because I never eat just one serving (I fill my bowl ALL THE WAY UP) and I tend to go back for more within minutes. I choose not to buy cereal and when I do feel like cereal, I eat it from the individual serving containers. I’ve also found on days when I eat a bagel for breakfast, I tend to crave more food all day long. While I love bagels, I’ve decided instead of eating bagels for breakfast, it’s better I eat something more balanced like toast with peanut butter. To identify trigger foods, journal your eating for a couple weeks and then review what you ate. Look for common meals and how you reacted later in the day.
Develop routines: I tend to be a person of routine, naturally but creating a routine helps healthiness because you aren’t leaving things to chance. If you know you have to work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it’s harder to skip because it’s become a part of your routine. Developing a routine helps so healthy choices become a habit and are actually easier to do, because they’re a regular part of your routine.
Consider not setting your alarm: OK, this may not work for everyone but on days when I know I’m going to have a tough time getting out of bed, I phone a friend who wakes up early to hit the gym. I prefer to go to the gym in the morning, so on days after I stayed up too late, I get a friend to call me at 5:15 in the morning instead of setting my alarm. Knowing I have to wake up and answer the phone mentally and physically wakes me up enough to get out of bed.
As you fight on your healthiness journey, look for ways to make it easy. Don’t let being healthy be hard. If eating veggies is such a difficult task for you, how can you make it easier? How can you break it down? If you aren’t good at drinking water, what can you do to help yourself? It sounds simple but making healthiness work for you is essential to your journey.