I know what you’re thinking… how can going on a diet save me money? This technically is not a diet, but a lifestyle change, and a fairly easy one at that. Think of all the money you will be saving by not buying as many cakes, chips, soda, takeout and fast food! Think of how much money you will be saving when you don’t have to fix as much food.
You do not have to eat “oober healthy”. You do not have to buy special foods. You do not even have to buy organic. You just have to make better choices than grease and sugar all the time.
This is a
diet lifestyle change that I created that has 10 simple rules. You do not have to do them all at once or in order. You can choose how long it takes you to ease your way into following all of these rules. The best way is to write them all down and then put them in order of what you want to start first. #1 & #4 are really good ones to start.
#1 AMOUNT– You have a plate of boiled eggs, wheat toast, and fresh fruit. Now cut that in half. What do you have left? Eat that amount, wait for 15 minutes, and if you’re still hungry eat a bit more. Do this every day until you find what your real portions should be for your body. Many people fill their plates and feel that they have to eat until they can’t eat anymore. In reality, you only need to eat until you’re not hungry. If this means you eat 5-6 times a day, that’s fine. Even 12 times a day is fine, as long as they’re small meals/snacks. Snacking all day is not always unhealthy! As long as you get plenty of fruits, veggies, protein and fiber, snacking all da can actually be pretty healthy. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not hungry NOT when you’re full. Being full is your body’s way of saying “NO MORE!” You’re stretching your stomach out, which means you need more to fill it up the next time, which stretches your stomach even more until finally you’re eating 2-4 times the amount of what you should be eating.
#2 SPEED – Eat slowly. You will get full quicker. This is not a way of “tricking your body.” It is simply allowing your body to adjust to the food and let you know if you need to eat more. If you eat fast, you’ll overfill before you realize it. Chewing your food more is proven to make it easier to digest. Your saliva starts breaking down foods before you even swallow. Let it do it’s job first. Again, stop when you are NOT HUNGRY anymore, and not when you feel really FULL. Eat a small snack like an apple or carrots in between meals if you get hungry. Remember that your stomach is supposed to be the size of your fist. If it’s any bigger, it’s because you have stretched it by overeating. Focus on getting it back to normal size.
#3 SODAS/CAFFEINE- Cut out all/almost all sodas. If you MUST drink a soda because you just don’t want to drop your coca-cola, I’m right there with you! Drink a can or about the equivalent a day or less. Treating yourself at dinner is the best way. Do NOT drink diet. Artificial sweeteners can hold the fat in and is really unhealthy. All soda is unhealthy, but you don’t even want to know all the horrible things artificial sweeteners can do to your body! Coffee is fine, but watch how much sugar and creamer you add to it. Some doctors even say that black coffee in the morning is good for the digestive system. However, coffee and soda are both hard on the kidneys and bladder. If you like a lot of cream and sugar, try to limit yourself to only one cup a day. Black coffee is fine 2-3 times a day, however you should only drink one cup at a time. Hint, hint to all those “chain-coffee-drinkers” out there (like me and my husband). :)
#4 WATER- Drink your eight 8oz glasses a day (64oz). Most glasses are actually 12oz. I usually recommend six 12oz glasses (72oz). That is actually nine 8oz glasses. However, seven to eight 8oz glasses, that’s still great. I know you’re thinking that’s a lot of water, but if you do exactly as I tell you, it won’t be hard. I promise. Glass #1- Make yourself drink a glass as soon as you get up before you do anything else (unless you have to visit the John first, of course). Glass #2- Drink a glass before Breakfast. As soon as you sit down with your breakfast, drink the glass of water first. Glass #3- Drink a glass before Lunch. Glass #4- Drink a glass before Dinner. Glass #5- Drink a glass before bed. Where’s glass #6? Well according to the eight 8oz glasses rule, you’re only 4oz away from meeting your goal. However, I recommend another 12oz. So when do you drink it? Whenever you like. Pick a particular time that you want to get that extra glass in. Do you work out? Drink it then. Drink it with a snack. How about on your rid to or from work? Find a time and squeeze it in. If you drink the 5 glasses, great. If you drink 6, way to go!
#5 SWEETS- If it’s sweet, like ice cream or cake, eat it sparingly and half the amount you normally would eat at a time. Some things you may not think of that are sweet are some tomato based foods like BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup. Others are yogurts and certain cereals. Yes, this makes sense but most people don’t think of these things because yogurt is considered “healthy” and it’s not like cereal is cake. But think about it before chowing down. Some sugar is OK, but eat sparingly.
#6 GREASY FOODS- Do the same for greasy foods, as Rule #5. Some foods to try to avoid are: pretty much all fast food, deep fried french fries (baked french fries are better), hamburgers or anything with hamburger meat, bacon ( sad moment ), sausage and pepperoni or most other pizza. This does not mean you have to cut this completely from your diet. DO NOT DO THAT TO YOURSELF!!! If you love any of these greasy foods, don’t torture yourself by eating a salad while others are eating a hamburger. You’ll just make yourself miserable and you won’t stick to it.
#7 FIBERS & PROTEINS- Try to balance your fiber and proteins. You can find some great lists on Google with the amount of fiber/protein in some foods.
Fiber rich foods: Fruits- Prunes, pears, mangos, apples, raisins, berries
Legumes- Lentils, split peas, beans (lima, pinto, light kidney, dark kidney, navy, black) **Chili!**
Grains- Wheat bread, rye bread, bran bread, granola, anything wheat, wild rice, oatmeal, barley
Nuts & Seeds-Almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, pecans
Vegetables- articokes, soy beans, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, peas, spinach, greens, okra,
turnips, corn, carrots, potatoes, cabbage
I got most of this list off of Dr Oz’s website, but many websites list more. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/50-fiber-rich-foods
Protein rich foods: Meats- pretty much all meats, but especially poultry & fish, pork loin, lean beef, veil
Dairy- Cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, soymilk
Beans- White, Lima, Fava, Black, Mung, soy
Nuts & Seeds- Almonds, pistachios, sunflower, flaxseed
Again, for this one I used Dr. Oz’s website. Love this man! http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-highest-in-protein.php
Do your own research to get a general idea of your own diet.
Just try to keep a general balance. Also make sure to drink plenty of water with fiber rich foods. To make this easy, just drink a glass of water with every meal like Rule #4 suggests. Then you won’t forget. This seems to be the hardest rule but it’s really not too bad when you realize what foods are loaded in proteins and what foods are loaded in fibers. People usually naturally balance them anyway, like broccoli and chicken or peanut butter and wheat bread without even realizing it. Chili is already pretty balanced. A handful of mixed nuts has both fiber & protein. An egg salad sandwich (or tuna salad sandwich) on wheat. You get the point.
#8 DROP THE WHITE BREADS- No, you do not have to eat everything wheat and nothing “white”. However, if there’s an opportunity, use it. Switch out the bleached flours for wheat any chance you get! Don’t like wheat bread? Have you tried honey wheat? I personally don’t usually care for regular wheat bread but honey wheat isn’t so bad. Shop around. Some brands are better than others. We like Roman Mill whole wheat pretty good. It actually surprised me on how good it was. You may be surprised too if you shop around. Having spaghetti? Try wheat noodles. (Or veggie noodles for that matter). Bet you can’t tell a difference. I can’t, honestly, in most dishes.
Oh and speaking of spaghetti, try turkey burger or chicken burger instead of hamburger for meat sauce. If you don’t like that, get the hamburger with the least amount of fat content. Spaghetti sauce is loaded in sugar, so try the no-sugar-added kind. (see #5) I know I said no “sugar-free” products, but that only applies if there is an artificial sweetener taking it’s place. You may like the no-sugar-added sauce. If not, fix it with regular sauce but eat a small amount with a salad on the side.
#9 STRESS- DO NOT STRESS if you slip! Stress can cause you to gain/retain weight. If you want that pizza, GO FOR IT! Seriously. Just compromise. Say you’ve been doing great and then the guys/girls at work ordered pizza. DON’T TORTURE YOURSELF! Eat one slice instead of three slices, and just add a salad. Eat the slice of cake and ice cream at the birthday party. It’s not going to hurt you. As I said before, just half your normal portion. Just make sure to be a little more strict the rest of the day and the next day. But DO… NOT… STRESS over it! Another thing that people stress over is the typical “healthy” logos. Look on the labels. You will be amazed at how many things aren’t too bad and how many self-proclaimed “healthy” foods aren’t really that healthy at all. Didn’t drink any water today? Don’t sweat it! As long as you do good most days, an occasional day isn’t going to ruin it for you. Just don’t make it a habit. Don’t “treat yourself” with bad foods all the time. Instead, treat yourself by doing something you love that you normally don’t get to do. Get yourself that shirt you’ve been wanting with the money you saved by halving your portions! Brag. Go for it. If you’ve been doing good, tell your friends and family. 9 times out of 10, they’ll tell you that they’re proud of you and you’ll keep doing better. Just remember not to let the critics get you down. They’re either one of two things: jealous or ignorant. Either way, stay as happy as possible.
#10- THE DEVIL IS IN PROCESSED FOODS- Processed foods are everywhere. From TV dinners, frozen pizzas, hot pockets, to canned soups, you can’t go to a grocery store without being surrounded by them. You do not have to cut out all processed foods, but try out as many as possible. If there’s a chance to make your own fresh chicken noodle soup, take it over the canned junk.
BOTTOM LINE (COMMON SENSE)- Use your common sense. This is the biggest thing. You don’t have to be a health food junky. But ask yourself, “How unhealthy is this?” and “When was the last time that I ate something really unhealthy?” Assess the situation before you dig in. Treat yourself now and then. If it is really unhealthy, just eat less of it and substitute the rest for something that is healthy. If it makes sense, it’s probably just fine.
I am not always like this. As a matter of fact, right now (November 7, 2013), I am having a downtime in my life. I just had a child almost 4 months ago and I let myself go big time. I will be trying this again starting today. We all have those times in our life. Do not feel embarrassed at all. Just do something about it! Young or old, good health or bad, it’s never too late to start thinking about what’s going in your stomach.
So here’s my challenge to you. Try this for 4 weeks. That’s it. Just 4 weeks. Then report back to me on the comment section and let me know how you feel and what your experience with it is. Here are the steps, again, that you need to do to be successful:
#1 Write down the rules and then put them in order of what you want to do first.
#2 Access your pantry and fridge. Go shopping for healthier choices. Lean meats, beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains.
#3 Ease yourself into the it.
#4 Don’t stress over the small things.
#5 Have fun with it!