Happy Friday friends!
I'll make this intro short and sweet, because I think I'm about to break the Sinful Nutrition internet with the word count of this post.
There's so many food rules, fad diets, and magic pills that come and go, that it's hard to keep up with what is actually healthy. Myself included, and it's kinda like...my job as a dietitian. But there's always guidelines or bits of info that I always stand by.
Which is why I crafted my own 10 Commandments of Healthy Eating that I use to help me, so feel free to adapt for your own personalized version!
Thou Shall Not Skip Meals
You know how the saying goes..."Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" But in reality, every meal is.
You may think that skipping breakfast or forgoing lunch will shave off some extra calories, but the opposite effect may be true. Sure, you skipped out on the 400 calories worth of eggs and toast this AM, but come noon, you are ready to not only polish off a $5 foot long, but a bag of chips, and that chocolate chip cookie you didn't plan on getting in the first place. But hey, you didn't eat breakfast , so you earned it right?!
Skipping meals can actually cause you to eat more calories than if you ate when you were hungry, and stopped when you were full. Waiting until you're ravenous can also cause you to make less healthy decisions, and eat everything and anything the light touches.
Eat when you're hungry, and avoid skipping meals to try and lose weight. You will only end up a hungrier, angrier, and all around miserable person to be around.
Thou Shall Not Eat To Excess
Eating too much chocolate cake is directly correlated to an increase in yoga pant purchases. Easy peasy math equation, right? Riiiiggghht.
Sure, it's a cake walk (haha...cake) to eat an entire bag of movie theater butter popcorn or an entire sleeve (box) of samoas, but even too much of a good thing can be harmful. Even (gasp!) WATER.
Which is why I always go back to Michael Pollan's simple, but so encompassing words. Eating or drinking too much than your body needs can be bad for your health, so having a little bit of everything is a far better tactic than drinking your body weight in green tea or eating a "fun for sharing" sized bag of salt and vinegar chips.
Everything in excess can potentially harm you. Eat reasonable portions of the things you enjoy and that make YOU feel good for a happier and healthier you.
Thou Shall Not Label Foods In Vain
"I'm only eating salad because it's healthy."
"Don't you know those are BAD for you?"
"Aren't cookies the devil in sugar coated clothing?!"
Labeling foods as "good" or "bad" is all kinds of wrong and unhealthy. In my post about when eating a salad could be unhealthy, simply labeling a food sets you up for disaster. The mind is a powerful thing, and your mindset towards a particular food sets the stage for how it will impact your body. Food is food. Broccoli is just as much food as is a brownie.
Eat what you are craving, without an ounce of guilt. Simply enjoy the moment, every bite of it. Treat every food like every food wants to be treated, regardless of its sugar, fat, or dietary fiber content.
Remember Meal Prep Day
Oh, meal prep.
Kinda like your annual teeth cleaning, or cleaning out the backseat of your car. You know you should do it, and you'll feel so much better when you do, but you put it off and then complain about it. Been there, doing that.
Setting aside one or two days during the week to shop and prep meals, snacks, and the like for the week ahead makes such a difference though. I know if I stock my fridge with salad already made, hard boiled eggs ready for snacks, and cooked chicken waiting to be devoured straight out of the container after a long work day.
The couple hours spent cooking and prepping on your otherwise uneventful Sunday, can keep you from that afternoon vending machine run, or shelling out another $10 every time you forget to pack your lunch.
Set aside an hour or two during the weekend to chop and wash veggies, make a couple meals for dinner and lunches, and put together snacks for the week. Make your lunch the night before, so you'll have no excuse not to have a healthy meal.
Honor Thy Hunger & Cravings
Along the same lines as not skipping meals, eating what you want, when you want is another key point to healthy eating. I always say, the more often you eat something, the more often you'll crave it.
So if you eat more junk food and sugar, you'll crave more junk food and sugar. But if you eat more veggies and whole foods, you'll crave more veggies and whole foods.
Not to say I never crave a warm brownie or all the pumpkin during the fall. I am human, and a white girl after all. And as much of a dietitian answer as it is, my favorite meal of all is a salad. Loaded with some form of protein, lots of avocado, and all the toppings, but a salad nonetheless.
Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full. Eat what your craving, and what makes you feel best. That could be a salad on Tuesday, and a steak bomb on Friday. Do you, boo!
Thou Shall Not Eat What One Can't Pronounce
If your food's ingredients list resembles that a movie credit roll, you're gunna have a bad time.
If reading a food label feels like you're solving the algorithm to Einstein's theory of relativity...
You're. Gunna. Have. A. Bad. Time.
As the saying goes, "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
The same rule applies to food. If something is labeled as calorie or sugar free, it's almost guaranteed that it doesn't actually contain real food. Count chemicals, not calories my friends.
Stick to foods that contain more food than packaging, and have an ingredients list that resembles the amount of people still on MySpace. About 5.
Thou Shall Focus on Real Foods
Simple as that. If you haven't been hiding under a snuggle for the past couple years, you've probably heard the acronym JERF, for Just Eat Real Food. And if not, you're welcome.
If you can pronounce it, it doesn't come in a bag that makes an obscene amount of noise to open, and comes from something in nature, you're probably eating "real food". It's unfortunate that this point has to even be discussed with what we eat, but neon orange cheese flavored and red dye #40 infused food "products" exist.
Shop the perimeter of the store, focusing on fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, fish, and poultry..or tofu if you swing that way. Just eat food, not food products.
Thou Shall Not Eat With Distractions
Electronics make the worst dinner guests. They never shut up, don't compliment your cooking, and never return the gesture.
Eating a meal free of TV, computers, phones, or the latest issue of Teen Bop takes a lot of work in our tech-saturated world, but makes a big difference. You can focus on how your food actually tastes, when you actually feel full, and be grateful for the food in front of you.
Try to eat at least one meal a day free of any distractions. Take your time, and enjoy each bite, and honor when you feel satisfied.
Thou Shall Enjoy Thy Food
Whether it's a kale and quinoa salad, or a convenient store hot dog, if you're not enjoying it, don't eat it. How many times have you said "I don't even want this, but I'm eating it anyway..." Treat yo self hunnie!
Eat what you enjoy, and savor it. If your Nana makes the best fudge at Christmas time (like mine), let yourself have it, and enjoy every rich, melt in your mouth creamy bite. Or if you apples. Bite it, chop it, slice it, put it in an apple crisp. Eat what you enjoy and be satisfied.
Don't deprive yourself or eat something you truly aren't happy with eating. If you want a burger instead of a salad, get it. Enjoy every bite, and you'll be surprised how much more satisfied you'll be.
Thou Shall Not Covet Another's Body
Today's society sucks. Literally sucks every last bit of confidence, self worth, and respect for your body right out of your un-airbrushed and pre-photoshopped chest.
Comparison is the thief of happiness, and a pretty good crook at that. When we're not bombarded with messages on how we SHOULD look, we are hating ourselves for not looking like Susie Six Pack, who happens to have 3 kids, a full-time job, and can still run a sub 4 hour marathon.
Susie's not me. Susie's doing her, but I'm not doing me by wanting to be Susie. What I can do is treat myself with love, and so much gratitude for all I have been giving in my life, and in this body. Bumpy skin, cellulite, killer collar bones, and all.
Aim to be the best version of yourself, and not fall victim to the comparison game. Treat your body right, ad with respect, and it will do the same for you. Do you, boo!
Make it a great day!
Do you follow these commandments of healthy eating?
Which one is the biggest struggle for you? Eating without distractions!