Diet. I’m not particularly a fan of the word diet. But it’s an easy way to sum up your way of eating. So if you’ve come to today’s post and think I’ve sudden taken up dieting, don’t fret. How to get back on track with your healthy eating lifestyle is a bit wordy and doesn’t work well for SEO & blog titles. But it’s really what today’s post is all about.
I’ve said it a million times before but I’m all about building a healthy lifestyle. Over the years, I’ve learned that saying I can’t do something only makes me want to do it more. And building a lifestyle that allows for the occasional cookie is really my best bet. But recently, I’ve found that my healthy lifestyle had a bit more indulgence than I realized. There’s a new video up on my Youtube explaining it today. So if you want to know what I learned about my diet after food journaling for a week, head over there. But for now, let’s chat about what I’m doing with everything I learned and how I’m using it to help me get back on track.
Acknowledging Where I’ve Been
Before I can make tweaks and changes, I think it’s important to acknowledge the habits I’ve let creep in. For me, keeping a food journal was a great way to do that. It wasn’t about feeling guilty or making myself feel bad for having chips. I wanted to take stock of the habits I’d created and to acknowledge how they were making me feel. This meant making notes about my energy levels, my skin and my workouts. If I want to use my diet to help me live my happiest & healthiest life, I first need to acknowledge the choices I’ve been making.
Acknowledge My Goals
If I wanted to maintain my current weight, there’s not a lot that I would change. A few small tweaks would probably do the trick. But my body & energy goals are still a bit off from where I’m currently am now. For me, this means I’d really like to not feel so tired or maybe I’d love to see more definition in this area of my body. I like to use my goals to guide my choices. This will also probably mean adding in other workouts or switching up my meals a little bit. But defining my goals forward helps me to make the changes I need to get there.
Cutting Back My Sugar
I try my best to not eat refined sugar. And for the most part, I’m okay at it. But keeping a food journal helped me see that I wasn’t doing as great as I thought. And I had far more sugar in my diet that I realized. With my goal of getting back on track, I’ve made it a point to really cut back on the sugar. For example, instead of having as much fruit in my morning smoothie, I’m opting for one fruit. I realized I was feeling rather tired after breakfast instead of energized and it’s because I was eating way too much sugar. It also means I’m opting for a dash of almond/coconut milk in my coffee out instead of a full latte. Most places use non-dairy milk that is sweetened. So all my lattes on the go are packed with way more sugar than I want in my diet. Again, it’s a small change but even cutting back a little on sugar helps my energy levels & skin tremendously.
Adding More Fats & Proteins
When I’m writing this, it’s day one of getting back on track. So this morning I decided to test out my too much sugar theory and go for a breakfast filled with protein & fats. And it worked! Instead of feeling tired after breakfast, my energy was good and I felt ready to work. Am I ready to give up my daily smoothie bowls? Probably not. But I know that making it a point to have meals that are packed with proteins & fats will help balance my body and keep me from crashing mid day.
Less Snacking, More Meals
Ever since I read Kelly Leveque’s Body Love*, I’ve tried to be more conscious of my snacking habits. But my food journal showed me that my snacking habit had come back strong. It’s a lot easier for me to indulge too often if I’m snacking. What seems like a little bit here or there becomes a small sugar habit in my life. One of my big goals kicking off my week of getting back on track is to focus more on my meals. I’m making a big effort to focus on fun, full & fulfilling meals that will make me want to avoid snacking and wait to eat. Again, it’s a small change but every little bit counts.
Tracking My Water
I was really good with this habit a few months ago but I haven’t been as consistent lately. My Water is one of my favorite apps for tracking my daily intake. And I know when I focus on getting my water in I’m more likely to snack less. This includes tea, coffee & sparkling water as well. I just want to make sure I’m eating because I’m hungry and not because I’m thirsty.
Giving Myself Other Healthy Options
When I’m focusing on eating full meals, I know I do a lot better with snacking. So I don’t tend to keep healthier snacks around because I don’t tend to need them. But I know that getting bored or feeling limited can be a challenge. Which means I try to make sure I have an option on hand for those times. Last week I made sure to stock up on my favorite peppermint tea & fresh berries. Now instead of feeling like I have nothing and making something sweet after dinner, I can have a hot/iced tea and fresh fruit. I know that having an option to turn to helps keep me motivated towards my goals. And it’s a lot easier to stay motivated once I start seeing progress.
Giving Myself Flexible Rules
And the last but probably biggest thing I’m doing in my journey to get back on track, I’m giving myself flexible rules. I know if I put myself in a box it will backfire. Telling myself I can never have chocolate or wine again isn’t realistic. But saying I can have it if I’ve eaten a well balanced meal for dinner rather than as a snack works for me. Or in the instance of my coffee, I can have a latte if the non-dairy milk is unsweetened. If not, I need to opt for a black coffee with a dash of milk. I try to set rules that encourage me to make healthier choices rather than feel limited by my options.
I imagine this all seems like a lot. And if I’m honest, it’s all about a lot of little tweaks and redirecting my daily choices. I can definitely say that keeping a food journal really opened my eyes to my habits. It helped me to be honest with myself about the things I’ve let slip into my diet and the changes I needed to make. And I’m excited to see how these little tweaks help me get closer to my goals!
Photography by myself & Alaina