Everyone automatically assumes that if you are skinny, that you must be healthy. This is not always the case. As a matter of fact, being too thin caused me to pick up some really unhealthy eating habits.
I grew up constantly hearing how underweight I was, and believe it or not, I hated it. I did everything I could to try to put on weight, including devouring large amounts of junk food. Since I did not have to watch my figure, I really had no use for pesky little things like fruits and vegetables. My worst time of the day was midnight snacking. I would literally wake up the next morning with mounds of food wrappers on my night stand.
After being on a medication that increased my midnight munchies and caused a significant weight gain, I finally realized that I needed to do something about my unhealthy habits. Whatever your reason for wanting to get healthy, the remedy is the same for everyone, having a well- balanced, nutritional diet and being active.
Everything in Moderation
Like I stated before, my absolute worst time of the day for snacking was late nights. It became such a habit that I would munch and watch TV late at night when I wasn’t even hungry. I began to see eating as relaxation and a sleep aid. I soon realized that this was the first habit I needed to change if I was going to get healthy. Instead of trying not to eat anything late at night, I now allow myself one healthy snack. I will usually eat a small bowl of cereal before bed; the tryptophan in the milk is relaxing and helps me get to sleep.
Another important realization for me, was that it is okay if I do not finish everything on my plate. In America, we are served such huge portions, sometimes we do not realize that it is actually double or triple the amount recommended. It feels wasteful if you do not eat it all, but I have realized it is okay to save half for later. I have retrained myself to just eat until I am full.
You Cannot do it on your Own
Eating healthy is nearly impossible if those around you do not share your new found commitment. It really helps if others in your home are also eating more nutritionally. I have also found that if I do not buy sweets at the grocery, I do not even miss them. Start off small by incorporating more nutrient-dense snacks such as fruits and yogurt. Do not try to completely deny yourself or it will not last. It is okay to still eat some of your favorite, not-so-nutritional snacks in smaller quantities. My main weakness is soda and I could never drink just water all day. However, instead of buying a super- sized Polar Pop every day, I now just have a can of coke with my lunch.
Accountability Helps Keep You Motivated
I tend to start a new project completely committed, but then quickly lose motivation. It helps to have someone or something to keep you accountable. There are many apps that help keep track of not just calories, but nutritional content as well. There is just something about having to right down that 800 calorie dessert that makes you rethink it. I use My Fitness Pal and love that it not only allows me to track my calories, but lets me see the nutrients (or lack thereof) in my food choices. It has helped make me more aware and more capable of making smarter food choices. Not only is accountability important in diet, but it is also very helpful in keeping you motivated to exercise. I have found that if I work out with friends, I am much more likely to stick with it. It’s pretty easy to talk myself out of exercise on days when I am tired or busy, but I have a harder time disappointing others.
Make It Fun
Being active is just as important as proper nutrition. Your body needs a balance of nutrients and exercise to keep it at its prime. When exercising, it is a good idea to incorporate something that you enjoy so that you will want to do it. I love dancing and have found that going to Zumba class does not even feel like exercise to me. The important thing is not what you are doing, but that you are physically active every day.
Don’t Give Up
Remember to not be hard on yourself if you mess up. This is a process, it took you a long time to pick up these unhealthy habits and you will not change old habits overnight. It takes twenty-one days to break a habit. Each day you are one step closer to being fit and healthy. Keep trying and whatever you do, don’t give up. There was a reason you decided to make this change; I promise it will be worth it.