What is healthy eating?
My answer is eating clean and wholesome food that consists of lots of veggies, fruits, lean meats, and good fats, such as avocados, nuts and seeds, that has had little to no processing, refining, and adulteration (i.e. organic). Although the term organic can be abused, misused, and argued over its true meaning, buying organic is the closest thing you can get to actually growing your own food. This is why I try to buy as much of it as possible so I can satisfy my definition of eating healthy.
With that said, people forget that each and everyone of us has a different version, or standard, of what is considered healthy, in large because of the mainstream health gurus, such as Dr. Oz and others. I’m not trying to bash them, but their word is held as doctrine by many people which creates high subjectivity of what is indeed healthy. For instance, if you buy “organic” anything, such as cookies, cakes, chips, and other typical junk food, it is healthy for you. This is false. Junk food is junk food whether it has a USDA organic label on it or not. As a result, it is our responsibility to do our own research so we make the best informed decisions of what we put into our bodies with the food we eat. Let’s be smart!
Why is it difficult to eat healthy?
Many people say that buying organic and healthy food in general is too expensive and it just can’t work. I won’t argue with the expensive part too much (click here for tips for eating healthy on a budget), but if your health is truly a priority then you will find a way to prioritize what you spend your money on and invest in your greatest resource: your body. If you are healthy you can be able to work harder, recover faster, have clearer focus, and be happy with yourself because you don’t suffer from chronic illness that the average American faces (i.e. frequent colds, headaches, chronic fatigue, etc.).
I’m sure all of you have heard people say, “I need to eat healthy,” but when will they? Unfortunately, the answer most of the time is that they will only make a change when they reach a crisis scenario. I have the right to say this because I faced this first hand. I was a 255lb 16 year old kid who was on the verge of being completely obese and a path to nowhere. Only when I reached this crisis situation is when my eyes were opened and I realized change was absolutely necessary to improve my life. So, I started eating healthy and I made it clear to myself that I would never stumble that low again.
I know I’m making my situation a little dramatic, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to keep eating poorly. You may not be that out of shape or overweight right now, but poor eating habits will eventually catch up to you one way or another. Don’t wait until you reach a crisis like I did to make a change for the better because it’s not necessary.
So what now?
If you have a poor diet at present don’t fret! Big changes are the result of many small ones and that is exactly what needs to happen to you if you have a diet high in fast food, prepackaged meals, and junk food. The first step on your path to eating healthy is to be committed to it. A commitment to healthy eating will definitely take a lot of effort and discipline, but don’t be intimidated. You will fail, and fail often, but never lose faith in yourself that you can do it no matter the circumstances. Remember that you are in control of what you eat and you have the power to say “no” to any food that is not resourceful to you. Believe in yourself!
Now that I’ve given my pep talk (haha), let’s get a game plan going! A good place to start is by making a few SMART (specific-measurable-attainable-realistic-timely) goals to help you in your first steps on your path to eating healthy. For example, if you drink a lot of soda, replace one can of soda with a glass of water everyday. Do this for a week and then replace another soda with a glass of water a week after. Continue this until you don’t drink soda anymore, or if you do, only drink it on special occasions.
Drink lots and lots of water and remember that vegetables are your friend, not your enemy! When you go shopping, stick to the outer perimeter of store where all the fresh produce, meats, dairy, and all the good, healthy food you want to eat is located. All the the junk is centered in the aisles, so only venture in there if you dare (that was a joke, but you get my point!). Remember, if you don’t buy junk food to put in your house it won’t be an option for you when you’re hungry, so don’t buy it.
Please understand that I’m not expecting you to eliminate all the comfort food that you like. If you want a cheat meal have a cheat meal. Just don’t binge and eat the whole kitchen cabinet. Follow the 80/20 rule if possible, or any variation above that (85/15, 90/10, but nothing below 80/20), where 80% of your total caloric intake is as healthy as can be and the rest is your treat to yourself if you wish. Overtime, however, you may find that eating healthy makes you happy and forces you to be creative with how you prepare and cook your meals. This has happened to me and I find it fun to experiment and make so called “healthy” comfort food, such as paleo hamburgers. Food should be your friend and not your enemy and eating healthy has caused me to learn that lesson. Hopefully it can do the same for you.
Thanks for stopping by and please comment down below by sharing your thoughts. See ya next time!
Check out these links on eating healthy!