Quite a few years ago, I stopped fad dieting.
I stopped counting calories and points, I stopped eating low-fat and I definitely stopped eating anything found in a box labelled “healthy”. It took a long time to shift my thoughts and my approach to food, however now I focus on simply eating whole foods. All of them.
Yes, I might currently be restricted in the type of whole foods that I can eat due to my autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s) and my current gut infection (SIBO), but what I can eat are foods that make me feel good, and in turn do good for my body while it heals. My future plan and hope is to one day re-introduce all those wonderful whole foods back into my life … one day.
Yes, my weight fluctuates almost daily due to the ups and downs of my thyroid (and I’m not talking about a bit of bloating here), but I’m slowly coming to accepted my body for what it is. It’s doing an amazing job and I’m so grateful for it. No it’s not the body you will see grace the covers of magazines, however it’s pretty bloody brilliant all the same.
The reason to all this mumbling, is that I’ve discovered I have a few non-negotiable boundaries when it comes to my health and my view of my body, and I thought I’d share.
Don’t Diet | As a former lover of being on any and every diet, when I stopped, I felt this immense freedom, especially from counting calories. I never say never, but in this instance, I will never go back to that way of living! Constantly thinking about food as either a number or as being good or bad was exhausting, and to be completely honest, a huge waste of time. In the end, it never produced the results I wanted. Now, I keep it simple and eat whole foods. As clean and as natural as possible. My body loved me for this change (and so did my sanity).
Nutrient Density | One of the biggest tips I learnt from doing both the I Quit Sugar program and the Autoimmune Protocol, is to focus on nutrient dense foods at each meal. Meaning, filling up on the foods with the biggest nutrient bang for your buck. For example, there are so many more nutrients in zucchini noodles, than in a grain based noodle. They do the same thing, but my automatic impulse these days is to reach for the zucchini. Not only do these foods fill me up and keep me sustained between meals, they make me feel bloody good.
Cook Once, Eat Twice (or more) | To keep things super simple, I cook at least one extra portion at dinner time (or whenever I cook) so I have lunch ready and waiting for me the following day, or an extra meal to pop straight into the freezer for another day when I’m tight for time or not in the mood to cook. It’s a great money and time saver and is so much quicker than ordering take-away!
Weekend Planning | Spend a little time on the weekend planning meals, shopping and prepping food for the week ahead. For me, this can include chopping veggies, poaching fish or chicken and boiling eggs. Personally, I don’t focus on making full meals as such, but will cook up a range of ingredients to store in my fridge for the week, ready to be thrown together when needed. I ALWAYS have a protein cooked and ready to go, along with sautéed greens and roasted veggies.
Be Consistent, Not Perfect | I’m human and there are days when the last thing I want to do is cook, and that’s ok. I do try and have extra meals ready in the freezer for these moments, and 9 times out of 10 I reach for those, however sometimes all I want is a big bag of Sweet Potato Chips for dinner. Nothing more, nothing less, and that’s more than ok.
Now over to you. What are you non-negotiables for healthy living?