Whew! What a month!
There was traveling, and sickness, and more traveling, and still sickness, and then traveling again.
I am finally emerging from the haze of Sudafed and suitcases and finishing this two-part series. (You can read the first part here.)
Sorry it took so long; I was busy spreading the plague around the Eastern seaboard…
Calories are not evil; they are necessary. A calorie is just a measurement of the amount of energy food will give you. We can’t cut them out completely, but we can be smart about how we consume them.
6. Eat what you crave
God has “given us richly all things to enjoy.” (I Tim 6:17) He has also created our bodies to operate a certain way. In order for our cells to operate, they need certain compounds and minerals. Those needs are translated into cravings.
When I’m craving chicken fingers, there’s something in those chicken fingers that my body needs. If I eat something else, not only am I not giving my cells what they need to function properly, but I will still be craving chicken fingers.
I’m talking about real cravings here, not just “Oh, I feel like some chicken.” (‘Cause I feel like some ice cream all of the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m really craving it.)
7. Stop eating sooner
You know that feeling after a really big meal when you just cannot eat one more bite, or your stomach will literally explode? (I use literally in the ironic sense here.)
Yeah. That feeling is not a good feeling. Don’t get there.
If you are reading this blog, then you have access to the internet. And if you have access to the internet, chances are, you also have access to abundant food. There is no need to stuff yourself at every meal. This is not the last time you will eat. Food will still exist tomorrow.
Pay attention to your body. When it’s hungry, feed it. When it’s no longer hungry, stop feeding it.
8. Stop outlawing food
In my house, there is no such thing as “off-limit” foods. Because, if I tell myself that I cannot have a certain food, it immediately becomes the only thing I want to eat. But, if I know that I can have fudge dipped triple stuffed Oreos whenever I want, they lose their appeal.
On the other hand, if I decide to start a doughnut-free diet (oh, the agony!), then suddenly, doughnuts become the only food I can think about. I dream about them; I crave them; I can almost taste them. Then, one day, I will have reached my limit of endurance, and will consume an entire dozen in one sitting.
But if I know that doughnuts are a perfectly acceptable food given to me by God to enjoy, then whenever I want a doughnut (which is not incredibly often now that I know I can have them whenever I want them), I stop at my friendly neighborhood Dunkin, and get a doughnut.
But I get one.
Not a dozen.
Hey, I don’t believe in stinting on the good stuff. I put real cream in my coffee and real cheese on my pasta. But I do believe in making some smart substitutions. …or rather, permanent switches.
Put honey in your tea instead of sugar.
Switch out whole milk for 2% or 1%.
Change from quick oats to old fashioned or steel cut oats.
Use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
…and so on, and so forth.
None of these changes sacrifice taste (some of them taste better than what you’re probably used to, actually), but all of them are healthier options.
10. Eat breakfast (and lunch, and snack, and dinner)
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I’ve found that if I don’t eat breakfast, I tend to eat more – and less healthy – throughout the day. But if I start off with a good high-fiber breakfast, I’m less hungry later.
This is the one I have the hardest time with, because I can’t eat first thing in the morning. For the last several years, I was used to having a short break at 8:30, then again at 10:00, so I would usually eat then.
But now with a new school and a new schedule, I don’t have those breaks. I have to make myself eat breakfast before I leave for school, or I will end up having a healthy Hershey kiss breakfast from my desk drawer.
(If I plan ahead and make a pot of oatmeal over the weekend, this is easier. But most of the time, I just end up with cold cereal.)
Bonus: Drink Green Tea
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get “munchy” in the evenings. I don’t necessarily want a meal; I think my stomach is just bored. So, I drink a lot of green tea. It’s super healthy and relaxing.
(I’m very picky about my tea. Sometimes green tea can be bitter, so I stick to certain brands I’ve found that I like. Tazo Zen Tea and Good Earth Green Tea with Lemongrass are two of my favorites.)