We’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of short weeks recently. However, sometimes the extra social situations that come with long weekends can wreak havoc with our healthy eating plans. The main thing to keep in mind is that this can happen to the best of us and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it; rather, put our focus and energy into getting back on track and feeling better.
Now that you have increased your physical activity, it’s even more important to be fueling your body in the best way you can to help you achieve the best results and hit those goals that you set for yourself in the first week of our countdown.
Here are some of our top tips for starting a healthy eating plan, and staying on track.
One size doesn’t fit all
Just because Paleo works for some people and vegan works for others, it doesn’t necessarily mean that either will work for you. Each of our bodies are different and we need to find what foods work for us.
What we can recommend that will benefit everyone though, is moving towards a “clean” diet. Time to ditch the packaged foods, the preservatives and all the other nasties and refuel our bodies with food the way that nature has created it. Choose health and wellbeing over convenience.
TIP: Try to cut back to a completely clean diet for 2 weeks. Cut out sugars (even cut right back on fruits), treats, alcohol etc. Note the changes in your body, your skin and your general mood. We are pretty sure that you will be surprised! After the 2 weeks, you can start introducing foods back into your diet one by one, but pay careful attention to how they make you feel. Anything that no longer makes you feel at your best, probably doesn’t deserve a space in your fridge or pantry
Abs are made in the kitchen
The age old saying still stands true. We might spend hours exercising each week, but until we match that dedication with the same effort when it comes to our diets we will struggle to achieve the best results.
Refueling our bodies with the right foods is key to success. You may have noticed that since you have increased your physical activity that your hunger has also increased. This isn’t a bad thing, it shows that your metabolism is kicking in and your body is burning fuel. But we need to be careful not to undo all of our hard work in the gym by coming home and overeating, or constantly overeating throughout the day.
TIP: Make sure you eat a healthy source of protein within 30mins of your workout to help refuel your body and keep your hunger at bay for the rest of the day. If you’re exercising later in the day have a light snack about 1hour beforehand and keep dinner nice and light after your workout so that you can still sleep well
We’re a fan of the plan
Planning ahead is key to success, and this is relevant for our healthy eating efforts too. So often our busy lives can get in the way and we come home after a long day without the energy to create a proper meal. But planning ahead can take away all the unnecessary pressure and can actually help to make your evenings more relaxing as you tick through an easy process that is all planned out for you. Spend some time at the beginning of your week planning ahead for your meals, taking into consideration any social events you may have on, family commitments, workouts and of course your daily work.
By planning ahead, not only will you take the stress out of meals each night, but it will also help you with your grocery shopping and hopefully you won’t need to take as many trips to the supermarket.
TIP: Plan ahead as much as possible, but also allow yourself a bit of room to move by stocking up on a variety of fresh veges. You might decide that Wednesday’s dinner is going to be chicken and salad, but when Wednesday arrives you are craving some cooked vegetables instead. By having the chicken and a range of fresh veges available, you can easily change your salad to a stir-fry – and by using herbs, spices, and other items like lemons to create a sauce you will manage to whip up a healthy meal in a matter of minutes.
Another great tip is to avoid the supermarket when you are hungry. It will save your pennies and your waistline!
It’s time to get real. With food, and with yourself
Eating clean is a goal all of us should work towards, but before we get there we first need to get real with ourselves. Do you really know what size portions you should be having – and what you’re actually having? Do you really know how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming each day?
Sometimes, getting realistic with ourselves can be enough of a wake up call to realise that some things need to change. Take time this week to understand portion sizes and how they relate to you. Are you over or under eating? Are you eating not enough at one meal and then bingeing later in the day?
When focusing on portion sizes remember to use mindful eating techniques. Not only will it help you enjoy every mouthful, but it will help you to read your body and understand the feeling of fullness and reduce the chance of overeating.
TIP: Spend a couple of days measuring/weighing your meal portions to help you get a visual understanding of the size that you should be eating. Once you become more aware of the amounts, you will naturally be able to gauge portion sizes which is great for when you are eating out or not in control of the meal preparation. There are some great apps out there that can help you track your meals as well.
Food doesn’t need to be the answer to everything
We all enjoy good food, and the social situations that so often come with it. But we need to remember that there are so many other options for social interactions as well, and many that are healthier for us.
Friends and social situations play an important role in having a balanced lifestyle, but some simple switches can make the catch up fun as well as healthy.
TIP: Try some of these easy switches to help you get closer to your goals
- Switching your coffee catch up for a walk and talk with your girlfriends
- Swap beers with the boys for a bit of backyard cricket or touch at the park
- Instead of cuddling up on the couch with your partner and a block of chocolate, you could try something fun like SUP lessons. Turn it into sunset SUP and you have got yourself a romantic date and a workout!
Mix it up each week by having someone else decide what activity you are going to do. Not only will you find some great local fun, but you and your friends/family will all be working towards a healthier version of yourselves.
There is such an abundance of information surrounding what you should eat, when you should eat, and why you should do this or that, that sometimes it all becomes a little too confusing. That’s why we recommend that you go back to basics and find what works for you, and a good place to start is by following a clean diet, at least 85% of the time.
Life is about balance, but also remember your goals and why you started on your health journey. Remember that original motivation. It’s unrealistic for some people to stick to clean eating 100% of the time, and that’s ok. But we do need to take note of how many times we are really giving in to temptation when we know deep down that we don’t need to, or want to. You are in control, and have the power to achieve anything you want to achieve, so remember to keep life in balance, but also balance that sweet taste of short term satisfaction with the overwhelming feeling of pride when you achieve your long term goals.
Our mantra for this week? Train your tastebuds and your willpower, just like you train your body. Find what you love and what works for your body to help you achieve your optimal level of health.
So get planning, stock up the fridge with fresh meat and veges, and get your family, friends or flatmates onboard for support, and you are well on your way to a healthier version of you! Keep an eye out for our workouts throughout the week, and check back in next week for some delicious recipes – not only to fill your tummy, but also to nourish your skin and have you looking fresh.
All the willpower you need to achieve is already within you, but if you need any support Team Crave is always here to help out in any way that we can. 10 weeks to go! You’re on your way to success.