*This is an update post for the “12 Months to a Healthier You” Challenge. To read more about this challenge, why I’m doing it and how you can participate, click here.
I bet you thought I ditched the Healthier You Challenge.
As tempting as that is…
No, really, I’m still here, taking one step at a time toward better health.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was about to participate in a 28 day detox challenge. That pretty much means we ate super clean for a while to give our bodies a chance to rest and restore. It was a pretty cool experience, one that I plan to repeat in the near future. The timing turned out to be not so great, so I missed out on some of the personal- discovery and spiritual aspects. I’m looking forward to participating again so I can get the full experience.
But I did learn some things along the way and experienced some success. For the first time ever, I’ve managed to go without Dr.Pepper for more than one day at a time, and I’ve eaten almost nothing with added sugar. How did I do that when I’ve struggled before? Here are a few truths that helped me this time around:
**I learned that keeping a food/mood journal is extremely beneficial.
By keeping a journal you can see things like;
- Am I eating enough of the foods my body needs? (For me the answer was no; huge problem for someone with Adrenal Fatigue.)
- How do I feel emotionally and physically after eating the foods I choose?
- Where are my week spots: What part of the day am I getting the munchies? What kinds of foods am I craving?
You can use this information that you record to learn more about yourself, how food affects you, and how you can make healthier choices that will work for you.
**Everyone is different, but for me, “all or nothin” just wasn’t going to work. When I decided to cut back on Dr. Pepper, I decided that this time I’d still allow myself to have one when we went out to eat, or when we eat a meal at home that only seems to go with soda (like pizza or Mexican). Something about the idea of totally dropping it had kept me from succeeding in the past. I now have a couple a week instead of one a day and sometimes two. To me, that’s progress.
**I realized that for the most part, my morning Dr.Pepper was jut a habit. I’ve been noticing in the past year or so that sometimes I don’t even like it. I rarely finish it, but yet I always want it right after breakfast. It’s just a habit. So, I traded the soda for water with strawberries, or sometimes ginger tea. And it worked.
**Food is energy, not entertainment.
So, when I’m hungry, I need to choose foods that will give me the energy I need in order to live the life I want to live. It doesn’t mean I have to eat gross food, but it may mean that the snacks aren’t quite as yummy. But I’d rather get my joy from a life lived with health and energy than from a cookie. Even if it has three kinds of chocolate chips!
**Give your cravings ten minutes. ?I don’t know if this would work for everyone, but it consistently works for me. Whenever I’m done eating a meal, I typically want something sweet. I discovered that if I will wait at least ten minutes after eating a meal, that my cravings for sweets almost always disappears. It must have something to do with the natural sugars in your food needing time to catch up and satisfy your cravings. I don’t know but it works for me.
**Brush your teeth and drink some water.
It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Try a glass of water before giving in to that snack that wasn’t part of your plan. (Actually, rehydration isn’t that quick, so make an effort to stay hydrated all day. You’ll be surprised what that will do to your cravings.) Oh, and the brushing your teeth is just a little mind game. When your mouth is freshly clean, you will have less of a desire for sweets, and you will want to avoid getting those beautifully clean teeth all full of sugar again.
**And my most valuable lesson learned: Have a plan.
I discovered while doing this challenge that many times, I had the appetite and the self discipline to eat super healthy food. But I still found myself reaching for foods that were less healthy because they were more convenient. I hadn’t been grocery shopping early enough in the week, or I hadn’t taken the time to do some prepping ahead of time. 12:00 in the afternoon is no time to make a big salad. Make it in the morning and you can grab it when you’re hungry.
Even now that the challenge is over I’m finding that planning is my number one biggest asset when it comes to eating healthy. It just has to be done. Planning what you’ll eat, getting to the grocery store, and preparing some foods ahead of time will go a long way toward your healthy eating goals.
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