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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Staying Healthy in the New Year: Eating Right

With the New Year right around the corner (as in a few hours...haha) I thought I would share a bit about the changes I've made to help me lead a healthier life.  First up, Eating Right!
A few months ago I did my first "cleanse" ever.  This wasn't a crazy starvation cleanse filled with juicing and all that hardcore stuff, it really was just a week straight of eating the healthiest options.  Since doing that cleanse I have no desire to fill my body with junk,  my physical results weren't magical (I certainly had some though), but mentally I was ready to change the way I ate.  
Sometimes we focus too much on physical changes, when really it's our overall health that matters most.  I finally have the right mindset where I want to eat healthy.  I've always been slim, so for me eating healthy isn't about losing weight, it's about being healthy and happy for my kids and hubby.

Here are some key points that are going to keep me eating healthy well beyond the New Year!

Small changes bring big results:
Don't try to change everything at once, if you do you're so much more likely to burn out.  Quite often once as you take the first step towards eating healthy the others quickly follow.  I started by substituting whole grains for white flour, next I upped my fruit/veggie intake, and everything else followed from there.

You Don't Have to Count Calories, but you should be aware of them!:
I can't be bothered to count calories, but I like checking nutrition labels every now and then.
Not long ago I was eating a salad, thinking I was being all good and healthy, then I looked at the nutrition label, and was in for a big shock!  So if you're lazy like me and don't want to keep track of you daily intake, at least do yourself a favour and check nutrition labels every now and then.  Now that I know the very high amount of calories (and fat!) in the delicious creamy salad dressing I slathered on my lettuce, I'm much more likely to either put less on, or choose a much healthier dressing option.
Another good idea is to count calories for a whole week, you will quickly become aware of where the extra calories are sneaking in, and how to control portions for a future of never having to count calories again!

Skip the processed, eat the whole: 
 A few weeks ago one of my friends asked me what the difference was between whole grain pastas (whole wheat, brown rice) verses regular white pasta because the calorie count and most of the nutrition amounts were pretty similar.  I may not be a health expert, but I do know that the way your body breaks down whole foods is completely different from processed/refined.  White flour may have the exact same calorie count as whole wheat flour, but whole wheat flour actually fills you up faster, meaning you'll end up consuming less...and that's just one of many benefits.

Don't Deprive Yourself:  
About a month ago I really wanted to eat a mini Mars bar left over from Halloween.  I told myself that I should eat something healthy instead, so I ate a couple whole grain crackers, I wasn't satisfied, I "needed" something sweet, so I ate a few strawberries next...I still wasn't satisfied.  Finally I gave in and ate that tiny little 60 calorie Mars bar and was immediately satisfied....the only problem was that my 60 calorie snack ended up being closer to 200!

Treats are rewarding: 
 I love treats,  if I were to completely deprive myself I think life would be pretty boring..haha!  I can do without chips and pop no problem, but sweets are always a welcome treat.  I found that if I allow myself one small treat a day I will be completely satisfied, and I actually enjoy that small treat so much than a whole plateful of junk.  It also makes it much easier for me to eat healthy all day knowing that I'm going to get a small reward sometime that day.

It never hurts to try something new:
I'm not going to lie, I'm the pickiest eater ever!  About a month ago I found a recipe for a Green Detox Soup on pinterest,  some of the ingredients I'd never tried, others I wasn't too crazy about, but I figured I'd give the recipe a try anyways, and it's now my favourite meal for lunch.  I make it in big batches and freeze it into lunch size portions, so now instead of making a quick unhealthy lunch (my usual go-to was pasta) I just grab a soup out of the freezer and reheat it in the microwave.

If you're looking for some healthy meal ideas be sure to check out my pinterest board!
What are some of your tricks to stick to a healthy diet?

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