Lately I have been struggling with headaches and low energy and while I eat fairly healthy, something in my gut (literally) was telling me that it might be time to cut back on refined carbs, sugars and processed foods. I did a lot of research on a number of recipes and ways of eating- the Whole 30 Program, paleo, gluten free, etc but in the end I know that I will never completely eliminate anything from my diet. I love to eat, I don't want to lose weight or diet, I don't weigh myself or count calories, I love cheese, meat, bread and sweets BUT lately I know that I haven't feeding my body what it needs.
So I set out to change some things:
- The biggest change is that I have drastically cut back on sugar. I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth and if I'm gonna be honest, I was eating lots of sweets and crashing from the sugar throughout the day. While the first couple of days without my treats (Oreos, doughnuts, candy) was tough, I felt so much better and had energy all day- there was no crashing. While I haven't eliminated sugar completely, I have been making better choices like having a handful of trail mix instead of candy or only eating one s'more instead of six (yes, I would eat six).
- The other big change I made was cutting back on carbs. Like sugar, I LOVE my carbohydrates! I love bread, I love pasta, I love just about anything made with flour and I eat a lot of it! From waffles to potato chips to a big ol' sandwich on thick pieces of bread, I have been eating a carb heavy diet for years and suffering from low energy and crashing throughout the day. This change was HARD because I have pretty high metabolism and I am always hungry, like ALWAYS! Eating carbs makes me feel "full so when I cut back on certain foods (like bread and pasta) and replaced them with lots of vegetables and protein I spend about 4 days feeling like I was hungry around the clock. But after those four days, that feeling went away and the good stuff I was putting into my body (like TONS of fresh vegi's) filled me up with no crashing and way more energy! I still eat carbohydrates but in moderation.
- The best change I made, which I felt immediately, was adding a ridiculous amount of fresh vegetables into my meals. While I have been eating a pretty balanced diet, my body was craving more fruits and vegi's. So I have made anything green the foundation of every meal- fresh lettuce from the garden, avocado, zucchini, brussel sprouts, spinach,etc. is a part of every single meal that I eat. After the first day, I felt better- like I wasn't just filling my belly but I was feeding my body what it needed.
A few things that have helped me stick with it:
- I like to fill up a giant bowl- what I like to call a "big bowl of love"- with all kinds of good stuff! I allow myself to stuff that bowl with all fruits, vegis and protein. I eat about 4-5 of these bowls per day and then throw in snacks in between.
- Salad dressing is easy and delicious to make. We make our own dressing with simple ingredients and and always keep it on hand.
- I try to prepare things ahead of time so all I have to do is grab food. My biggest downfall when eating healthy is laziness. If it is not accessible or prepared I get lazy and will grab a bag of chips instead of taking time to cook.
Overall I am feeling FABULOUS! I have way more energy, I haven't been crashing and haven't had any headaches since changing my diet. The best part is that feeling this good makes me want to keep eating this way which is the best incentive and reward for staying healthy!