A Guide to Healthy Eating
Ever since I’ve hit the gym, my life has literally turned around. I’ve had a major reality check when it comes to my eating habits and timings. I’ve been feeling rather motivated to get my life back on track, in terms of streamlining everything from work and college to my workouts (and not to forget, a social life whenever I can fit it in!)
I’ve noticed how much attention I pay to what I eat and when I eat it. I’ve also seen that working out and eating right has resulted in a major change in the way I feel, both mentally and physically. My friends and I literally only talk about what we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as how our workouts went that day. It’s also amazing to be surrounded by friends who do nothing but support and motivate you.
So this post is dedicated to all those friends and to sharing how all you busy readers can end up eating healthy as well. Take a look at some of my guidelines and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to fit that into your busy schedule as well!
1. Plan it out:
Your eating plan needs to be decided on before you randomly pick up vegetables at the grocery store, cook them for one week and switch back to eating junk the next week. Chart out a list of items you will be needing on a regular basis (eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, etc). Then sit down and write your day timings — what time you wake up, your lunch hours, your snack times, your dinner time, etc. Ideally you should be eating small meals every 2-3 hours, and they should preferably be home-cooked. I personally love to see what’s going into the food I’m eating, so I’m very picky about eating out which ends up being a good thing. However, many a times I’m unable to prepare dinner right after my workout as I rush to work (the pain of night hours) and so I normally order something at work. I limit myself to salads with minimal dressing or a chicken dish that isn’t fried. So make a weekly schedule. And of course, throw in one cheat meal on a day you prefer! Remember to write down your meals and timings day-wise on a pretty paper and stick it up on your fridge!
2. No artificial food allowed:
A lot of people tend to only look into the calories they are consuming, and in the process, forget about the actual ingredients that go into their food. Choose ingredients and meals that are real and wholesome. Pure food is the way to go. It sounds rather obvious, but many people tend to overlook a lot of ingredients that are pretty bad for the body. Avoid anything with gluten, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, etc. These can seriously harm the body in the long run. Nothing in your diet should be artificial. Give your body real food and it will give you real results :)
3. Don’t skip on breakfast!
Your mothers have told you this throughout, and it’s not a lie. Your body spends plenty of time not being fed from the time you sleep till you wake up. So in order to kickstart your metabolism, it is important to eat something as soon as you wake up! Eat a protein and healthy fat-rich breakfast to store energy in your body for the rest of the day. Egg whites and avocado over wholewheat toast are some of the options. Make sure you eat 5-6 almonds and 2-3 walnuts too. If you start your day right, you’ll feel more motivated to eat right throughout the day.
4. Sweat it out:
They say a diet makes up most of the effort you have to put into losing weight and getting fitter. However, it is equally important to throw in a good workout at least 4 times a week. I workout 5-6 times a week, and the days I can’t go, I end up feeling terribly glum. A good fitness schedule will make you feel all the more healthier and motivated. The balance of working out and eating well will keep your mind at peace, and you will feel much more productive since your body will be nourished in and out. You may even start off with a short 15-20 minute workout, but don’t let that pull you down. If you are consistent, you will feel amazed with yourself and how much stamina you can build in just a week. It will help strengthen your muscles and feel stronger and more energetic. I feel the best after I shower post my workout and eat a good meal. So kick the laziness right out the window, even if that means throwing in a brisk walk at lunch hour :)
5. Go for healthy fats:
Loading up on healthy fats tends to make your tummy feel fuller for longer. Add a healthy fat to your 3 main meals and trust me, you’ll feel so much fuller and skip on the binge eating you probably might do if you crash through the day. Some healthy fats include avocado and salmon. Avocado makes a great dip with onions and tomatoes sans salt with carrots and cucumber, or even avocados stuffed with salmon salad. Include these with your protein rich meals and you will find yourself craving fatty foods way lesser.
6. Proteins are our best friends:
High protein diets help in fat loss while preserving the muscles you are trying to build on while working out. So increase your protein intake (egg whites, cottage cheese, chicken) and you will notice how much stronger you’ll feel. I may have to eat chicken and eggs every day, and that can get a tad bit boring, but throw in different herbs and vegetables and you won’t be so disappointed at how great your food can taste.
7. Drink up!
I mean water. We sweat a lot through the day, especially for those of us who are continuously on the move. Your body can feel rather drained and lethargic simply because it’s dehydrated. Most of the times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually only dehydrated. So my best bet is to carry a reusable water bottle along with you wherever you go (a half-litre bottle fits into any bag). You could even throw in some lime, cucumber and mint leaves to add some taste to your water. Turn up your water intake for a few days and you will notice the difference yourself.
8. Make this a lifestyle, not a phase:
I’ve heard a lot of people go on crash diets and adopt extreme food habits. This does more damage to your body and system than you could ever think. Fooling your body for a week or two may show you results, but as soon as you get off your temporary diet, your body will go back into its original shape. And the more you do this, the more disappointed you will feel. Remember – consistency is key! Eat wholesome meals and at hours that will suit you through the week and month. A healthy lifestyle should be one that you can stick to, not one that you wish for to get over quick! Your body needs time to raise your metabolism and establish a good one. So be patient, because you will definitely see results which will last long-term!
So there you have it! I hope you all at least give this guide a try to see how much of a difference it can make!