Five healthy eating mistakes you're probably making
Lose weight. Quit sugar. Snack Less. Do you vow year on year to make healthier decisions when it comes to food? It’s not surprising dieting and healthier eating tops the lists of many New Year resolutions. Now that we’re three months into 2019 (eek almost four!), it’s a good time to check-in with yourself, reflect on progress and determine any obstacles in the way of you achieving them. And, the good news is, surprisingly winter is a great time to get healthy.
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From personal experience, I can stock my fridge full of colourful veggies, map out an ambitious gym schedule for the week ahead and buy clothes two sizes too small, but when I disregard the below, I always fall short.
Not being SMART
While cliché, it’s important to make your resolution to eat better ‘SMART,’ which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. A generic, non-specific, healthy eating resolution won’t hold up in the long run. Instead, turn it into a SMART goal like, ‘I will not eat fast food this week’.
The key to achieving your resolutions isn’t about willpower. Willpower is about depriving yourself and that’s not what positive goals are about. Also, deprivation gets old real quick and will likely lead to you bingeing and reverting back to old ways. Don't skip any meals or deprive yourself of your favourite treat – any goal that feels like a punishment will be a challenge to achieve. And yes, it's ok to succumb to stress eating occasionally or food cravings before and during your period! Make sure to remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place and focus on the positives: you feel better and have more energy when you eat healthy.
Not eating in moderation
Further to the above, eating healthy isn’t about quitting this or that, it’s about moderation. Swap out the block of chocolate you used to indulge in for a snack size bar, don’t cook big portions of food if you’re prone to overeating, don’t bring junk food into the house if you can’t resist bingeing and have plenty of healthy snacking options on hand for when you’re tempted. By the same token, while eating almonds may be a healthy snack, eating a whole bag is not. You can have too much of a good thing! We’re big advocates for portioning out the recommended intake of snacks into snack size containers or sandwich bags so once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Lack of exercise
There’s most definitely merit in exercise and healthier food choices. Trust us – the more you exercise, the more motivated you’ll be to fuel your body with the good stuff it needs. There’s nothing more frustrating than all the hard work and endorphins of a 60-minute sweat session going to waste for the sake of the 10 minutes of temporary enjoyment a Mcd’s cheeseburger combo brings. Because trust us, you’ll feel worse for it after. On those days where you just can't muster the energy to head to the gym, why not try an online workout at home? Or, make yourself accountable and work out with your partner. And remember even little changes in your daily routine, like taking the stairs, are a great way to exercise without even realising.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Variety is key – the same healthy meal every day will get boring, quick. You’re far more likely to fall off the wagon if your meals aren’t interesting. Plus, eating the same thing day in and day out isn’t actually that good for you! Dietitians recommend eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. For optimum nutrients, it’s important that your plate is balanced and contains food from the different groups. A balanced meal should contain a source of protein, a grain or starchy vegetable, fresh vegetables and a little healthy fat.
What's your biggest healthy eating tip for long-term success?