10 Ways to Stick with your Healthy Eating Habits
The winter is in full swing, the sun’s starting to come out and summer doesn’t feel too far away. Perhaps you’re starting to think about how to eat well pre-summer or you’re eating well but getting side-tracked. Either way, we know that eating well makes us feel not only good on the inside but also on the outside. So once you’ve thought about healthy eating, how do you make it happen and how do you stick to it? I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways/tips to help inspire you to eat well and to stick to a good routine…
1. Plan ahead
It may seem like the most obvious one on the list, but the saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ really is true. Make sure you prep your breakfasts and lunches in advance if you know you’re going to be out and about or at work. Check out our high protein, low carb recipes for some inspiration here.
Some people like to do food prep for the week in one go and do a big batch cooking session on a Sunday, but it’s equally just as easy to cook double or triple meals during the week in the evenings to enjoy the next day. Make sure you have enough ingredients and portion out your food evenly before tucking in to your dinner. Alternatively, if you know you won’t have time to cook and have a busy week ahead, there are lots of healthy pre-order meal services out there.
2. Get your Protein in
A healthy diet to me involves eating high protein foods and ensuring that each meal contains it, is vital! High protein foods are great because they take more time to digest in our bodies, giving us the feeling that we are full for longer. Because they take more time to digest in our bodies, this means that our bodies have to work harder to process them, meaning our bodies burn more calories to digest them. Keeping protein high in our diet will also help retain as much muscle as possible which is important if you’re working out in the gym too. Using the protein bread co.’s products is a convenient and easy way to keep your protein high and carbs low too.
3. Eat enough Greens
You need to ensure that you’re eating enough greens in each meal (ok maybe not breakfast – we’ll let you off) to give you energy, fibre, vitamins and volume. This is good for regulating digestion, managing weight and aiding your bowels. You can eat as many greens as you like in your meal and are a good way to eat until you are full.
4. Build a realistic routine
Don’t set yourself up for failure - make sure you choose a sustainable and realistic eating routine. If you tell yourself you’re going to eat no chocolate, ever, when you know that actually this will be near impossible, don’t try it - it will stress you out and make you feel like you're failing. I would never advise to cut your favourite foods out anyway as food is there for enjoyment.
Equally, if you tell yourself you’re going to stop drinking alcohol but know you have a friend’s birthday coming up, tell yourself you will stick to vodka and soda all night rather than pretending to yourself that you’re not going to drink at all. It’s all about making slow and sustainable changes and smart swaps.
5. Set yourself a goal
Firstly, ask yourself why you’re trying to eat healthier and look beyond the short term. Be specific when thinking about your goal, rather than thinking broadly e.g. ‘I want to lose weight’. A good goal will be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. So make sure your goal fulfils all of these criteria.
6. Identify harmful patterns
The best way to stop yourself veering off track is to catch this before it happens. For example, if you know you’re going out drinking, and usually end up ordering a pizza when you get in, get yourself prepared and grab some healthier ‘post night-out’ foods that you can snack on when you get in. (Or make a protein bread co. pizza in advance instead). Or if you know you love something sweet after dinner, grab some Greek yoghurt and fruit to stop yourself reaching for the chocolate bars – or check out our 5 Guilt free desserts posts here
7. Be consistent
Consistency is key. There is no point having a great week of healthy eating if you’re going to go mad the following week or even the weekend. If you fall off the wagon and have a bad day, wake up the next day and get back in the game. Don’t let a bad weekend turn into a bad week which in turn may make you turn back to bad habits. Try and be as consistent as possible and you will reap the rewards.
8. Think about food as fuel
We all have different relationships with food and how we feel about it can often affect how we eat it, and how much we eat. Sometimes, we need to remember that food is actually fuel. Food will fuel our bodies, help us to think properly during the day and move in the gym. If we eat more than were spending, we will store some of that fuel as fat. Sometimes it’s as simple as thinking – do I really need that? If you start thinking about food in this way, you might start thinking more mindfully.
9. Don't be too restrictive
If you attempt to cut out foods that you enjoy but that perhaps you’re trying to eat less of, e.g. chocolate, it might lead to binge eating and things could spiral out of control. Food is for enjoyment, and if you want a little piece of chocolate, have a little piece of chocolate. It’s all about the 80/20 rule, eating well 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time. And now that we know dark chocolate is low carb, click here to read more... (Add link to 20 Surprising foods that are low carb).
Last but not least, and for no reason at the bottom of the list - hydration. We know that nearly 2/3s of our bodies are made up of water and drinking it has many benefits. It can help to remove waste, suppress appetite and lubricate joints – to name a few. Although it differs for all body types, aim to drink around 3L of water a day. You can also set up reminders in your phone to remind you to drink at certain times if you forget!
In reality, it’s about finding what works for you, your daily routine and what works for your body. It may take a lot of trial and error to find this out – but it will be worth it. My advice too would be to change things up gradually, don’t try and do/change everything at one. You can do it!