Ah 2020! It’s a New Year, which means it’s also get your ass to the gym and on a diet season.
I seriously hate the connotation behind the word “diet.” I don’t really believe in the concept of self-deprivation to reach our goals. Health and fitness is a way of life and healthy habits need to be part of your day-to-day. Dieting culture makes us obsessed with food, makes us think about it more thus making us hungrier. I’ve written about my struggles with food and diet many times on this blog. When I finally overcame my issues with food, I was able to easily lose weight because food did not become the center of my world. I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I was full. There was no such thing as “bad” food; a salad and a cookie were equal. I learned to listen to my body and what it needs. All that being said, I do try to incorporate healthy habits into my day-to-day that have helped me.
I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. These are things that work for ME and might not for you. A few of these tips are indeed backed by research. That being said, if you’re not sure, always consult with a doc or a professional. Always take “diet” tips with a grain of salt.
Remember the “no-fat” fad of the 80s? exactly.
Here are some tips to get you started on your 2020 resolutions!
1. Drink A LOT of water first thing in the morning
I wake up every morning and drink two LARGE glasses of water. After a full night of sleep, your body is obviously dehydrated when you wake up. Drinking water before you drink your coffee/tea is key to get your metabolism going. Sometimes our bodies confuse being thirsty with being hungry. When you drink water in the morning, it fills you up. Water is SOO important when it comes to healthy living and diet, so having at least 8 cups of water will do wonders for you! For your skin, metabolism, toxin removal, and more. Water flushes you out, literally! So if you’re going to do anything, start by those two large glasses in the morning.
2. Eat a protein heavy breakfast
If you follow my blog and social media, you’ll notice I eat pretty much whatever I want for lunch and dinner. But for breakfast (unless I am hungover), I stick to 3 different breakfasts. It is my healthiest meal of the day and keeps me full until lunch, and sometimes until dinner (on busy days).
High protein breakfast is key. Eating cereal and milk will go right through you. These are my go-to breakfasts.
- 2-3 hard boiled eggs and fruit. I got this device on Amazon.com and it changed my life. I put in 2-3 eggs and they come out perfect every time. I eat this and I am super full. Eggs have both protein and fat. Fruit is high in fiber and good for you. #winning
- Vegan Protein Smoothie. I make this 2-3 times per week. Click the link for the recipe. It’s high in protein, good fats, fiber. Keeps me super full and is so incredibly healthy.
- When I am late for life, I will eat an organic low sugar protein bars for breakfast. READ THE INGREDIENTS. If you don’t recognize the first 2 ingredients throw it in the garbage.
3. Take Your Vitamins
I’ve read many conflicting things about taking vitamins and supplements, but when I take them, I feel like I am getting whatever I need. It’s almost impossible to get all the nutrients and vitamins in the foods we eat daily. Sometimes we crave certain things because we aren’t getting it from foods we eat. I find taking vitamins def helps with my cravings.
4. Strength training is your friend
I can’t stress this enough. Any workout is good for you but if you want to be lean AF while also be able to eat the things you love, lift weights. Lift heavy. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is. This was KEY for me and my transformation. I used to do cardio literally every single day and ate only salads, and was 20 lbs heavier then I am now (I am only 5’0 so keep that in mind). Now I barely do any cardio, I eat pretty much whatever I want when I want and I am in the best shape of my life. Wanna know why? I lift heavy. 3 times a week. I lift to a point where I also get my cardio because my heart rate goes up. So it’s a win0win. For all the ladies who are scared to lift because you think you will be bulky, do I look bulky to you?
5. Don’t drink your calories.
The only things I drink are water, coffee, and the occasional cocktail/alcohol. When I’m feeling super healthy, I drink tea. Sodas and juices are bad for you, I don’t need to tell you this because you know. Even when it’s diet soda. The sweeteners in sodas are cancerous and can trick your body into craving more sweets. When I worked an office job and had an unhealthy relationship with food, I’d fill up on diet sodas to curb my appetite. It ended up making me want to eat more food. Once I cut it out of my diet and stuck to water, I definitely felt a difference. I will have the occasional soda, but on a day-to-day basis, try to stay away. When it comes to coffee, if you’re getting a grande macchiato every day with three pumps of caramel and whipped cream, that’s a problem. With how many calories it has, it’s a whole meal. I’d rather eat two slices of pizza than start my morning with a sugar bomb. I think cutting out sugary drinks is a great diet hack because it’s much easier than cutting out foods you love. Substitute whole milk with plant-based milk to cut the calories. Again, drink a ton of water.
If you’re trying to lean out, then yeah there are certain things you need to take a break from or cut down on, like drinking. It’s fun but that shit CREEPS up on you. Especially the sugary cocktails. Depending on the drink, the calorie content could be upwards of 300-400, which is like a slice of good pizza. I prefer eating my calories than drinking. Enjoy that first cocktail, then switch to clear liquids. Also for each alcoholic beverage, drink a glass of water. Alcohol is dehydrating, so when you get the munchies at 2am and go to Stella’s for pizza, that’s your fault.
On that note, when out drinking, maybe try to stay away from the late night eating spots. Those are Ab Killers.
6. Stay busy/passionate
When I worked in corporate at a desk job, I remember counting down till snack time, then counting down till lunch time, etc. Yeah I was busy, but apparently not busy enough. Now, since running my own business, some days are a total whirlwind. I never thought I would become that person that “forgets to eat” or doesn’t have time. But this happens when you’re BUSY af; when you also ENJOY and are excited about what you do, food becomes less fun. I know this is tough for those who have desk jobs. But maybe start a side hustle or a passion project that will keep you busy, so when you get that little moment of boredom at work, you can use that time and energy to think about something else. Just a thought!
7. Chew slowly, enjoy your food
I probably should be taking my own advice since I’m always in a rush and on the road. I rarely take time to enjoy my food. When I do take that time and eat more mindfully, I end up eating less and enjoy my food more. There’s a ton of info online about mindful eating. Like anything in life, when you enjoy each moment and each bite, you’ll be more satisfied and are likely to eat less. This is especially important when you’re indulging. When i’m enjoying a slice of pizza, especially those first few bites, I close my eyes and savor the moment. It takes about 20 minutes before the body realizes it’s full. In the world we live in, we tend to scarf down food in less time than that. Take your time. When I was combating some of my food issues, I would literally sit with a timer and try to extend my meal past 20 minutes so I could relearn how much food my body needs.
8. No junk food. If you’re gonna eat a burger, eat a good burger.
Quality over everything. I get asked how I eat all of these delicious foods – burgers, fries, cakes. When I do indulge and eat “unhealthy” foods, I make sure it’s good quality. I stay away from fast food chains because it’s known they put so much crap in the food. It’s not fresh, who knows where it’s even coming from? It makes whatever you’re eating so much more unhealthy and probably less filling. If you’re going to eat junk foods, go to one of our local spots. If you can, eat organic. Know what you’re eating, know what’s in your food. You’ll most likely be more food than eating quick foods from a fast food chain. I’ll only eat from a fast food chain if there’s literally nothing else as an option.
9. Take small breaks from meat and dairy
If you don’t already follow a plant-based diet, it’s good to sometimes take a break from meat and dairy. I’m not saying you need to do a crazy juice cleanse. Maybe for a week, consciously stick to plant-based meals. I’m not saying just eat pasta for a week. Load up on beans, healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s not only good for you, it’s good for the environment to take these breaks. Although I eat a lot of meat or seafood when I go out, which I thoroughly enjoy, I try to stick to a mostly plant-based diet at home. Again, it’s about everything in moderation and incorporating healthy eating habits into your daily routine. Your body goes through a lot to break down meat and dairy, it causes a lot of stress. That’s why they say it elevates cholesterol and blood pressure. My rule of thumb when I eat out is anything goes. When I’m home, the only thing I will buy occasionally is seafood. Smoked salmon, cause I’m a big Jew.
10. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep
Again, I probably should be taking my own advice about sleep, but I know that when I do get my solid 6 hours, I feel like a million dollars. When you’re tired and low energy, you’re going to reach for high sugar foods, carbs, and unfortunately when you drink too much coffee, that crash can be insane. It becomes a vicious cycle of sleepless nights, shitty food, and waking up feeling groggy. In the world we live in, it’s so hard, especially when you’re working so many hours between your job, family, social life. We’re overstressed, overstimulated, and getting enough sleep is challenging. But it’s so important. Not sleeping is also definitely a cause for weight gain.
11. Keep trigger foods out of the house.
When I was overcoming my battles with food and overeating/binging, the one thing I learned was to keep the foods that trigger you out of the house. If you crave it and want it, you can go to the store and get your fix, but don’t keep it in the house. If it triggers you and you get that first taste, it’s like an addiction. If ice cream is your trigger food like it was mine, you might go into a frenzy. Especially as you overcome emotional eating (which you need to seek help for, on a separate note), don’t keep those trigger foods at home. I’d buy chips for Mia and would spend late nights eating all her chips instead of grabbing fruit, so now I don’t buy them anymore. These are just tricks to hold yourself accountable. Eventually, you’ll trust your body enough and you won’t see them as “bad foods” anymore.
12. Have sex
I know this is a weird diet hack because it doesn’t have anything to do with dieting, but sex and food go hand in hand. Food can be satisfying and gratifying, and so can sex. Safe sex, whether with yourself or with your partner, has no calories.. It can actually burn calories. To be 100% honest, when I’m not taking care of my needs, I turn to food. When my needs are met, I find that I don’t really think about chocolate and cheesecake, all that stuff. If you have a partner, good for you and get on it. If you don’t, then invest in a good toy. You’re welcome.
13. When you do overeat, don’t beat yourself up.
We’re all human. To this day, even though I have a healthy relationship with food, I’ll overeat or have a weak moment where I use food to cope with something. The difference between now and where I used to be is I don’t beat myself up over it. Instead, I think about the causes of why I overate and move on. I don’t go on a crazy frenzy or go to the gym for three hours for damage control. I drink a lot of water to help flush you out and get the metabolism going, and then I lift heavy at the gym. if anything, a good binge session can help fuel a good workout. I’ve had my best lifting days after a big meal. Be kind to yourself. It’s a journey and a way of life. The more guilt you feel and the more you beat yourself up over it, the shittier you’ll feel and you’ll fall down the cycle of overeating. Love yourself and be patient with the process. It’s not easy. In our area, food is everywhere and it’s readily available in massive quantities. It’s not an easy thing to overcome.
14. No food is off limits.
I mention this often, bu making rules around food is extremely unhealthy. I understand the science behind various diets that are popular, like keto and 360, but they’re diets. You’re telling me you’ll eat bacon and steak three times a week but you won’t eat a cake at your kids’ birthday? This all-or-nothing way of life doesn’t work in the world we live in. My big issue with having a “bad list” of food, it makes you want those foods even more. If you tell a kid you can’t eat those cookies, they’re going to eat all those cookies. Once you know you can eat whatever you want, you have the decision. Sometimes I’ll buy ice cream and will only eat it or think about it when I actually crave it. It took me years to understand the power of the mind when it comes to eating and how important it is to be in tune with your body and what it needs. I used to hate those skinny bitches who would tell me they forgot to eat lunch, but now I understand. They eat intuitively. I used to never understand how people could only eat half a sandwich, I was part of the Clean Plate club, but now I understand. Listen to your body.
15. LOVE YOURSELF
Right now, at this moment love yourself, your body, be grateful for being alive and healthy. I know it’s cliche, but the moment I really made a commitment to loving every inch of my body is when the weight just fell off. This is the most important “diet” hack. When you completely let go of feeling sorry for yourself and shitty about your body and how you look and focus on all the amazing things you do have and how fucking dope you are, everything else becomes easy. Look at yourself in the mirror right now and repeat after me
” I am a bad bitch” (yes this applies to men too).
In conclusion, there is no secret, magic pill that’ll get you where you want to be. It’s a mind, body, and soul makeover. If you really want to get the results you’re looking for, you need to work at it. Now go drink some water, you’re looking thirsty.