Happy late July everybody! Can anyone even believe we're almost done with Summer 2015??? Or, more importantly, can anyone even believe it's almost time to start shopping for school supplies??? I know. I cannot wait. (Super stoked to be a grad student...if you couldn't tell ;) )
During my chat last week about having a healthy relationship with food I mentioned that I subscribe to the term "guidelines" instead of "regimens" these days when it comes to what I put in my body. Instead of the rigidity and perfectionism that the term "regimen" invokes, "guidelines" (at least to me) is a kinder, more compassionate word, for as much as words themselves can be compassionate. "Guidelines" implies flexibility and a willingness to change subtly when the situation calls for it, which I think is not only much more sustainable (which, if you want to keep up healthy habits your whole life, you need a plan with a little wiggle room) but also less daunting to adhere to.
Below you will find my own personal guidelines as of July 23, 2015. It's not an exhaustive list by any means but that's the point: these guidelines provide me with a strategy to approaching my diet and can be changed at any moment I feel it is necessary. The simpler you can make them, the better. I encourage you all to keep track of your own and maybe even write them down & stick them on your fridge. Writing things down gives them a feel of permanence and importance and leaves me feeling motivated and organized :)
1. Minimize consumption of sugary beverages. This one has always been a no-brainer for me because I've always preferred eating to drinking. So when a bottle of Coke is the caloric equivalent to a piece of cake...really? There's no contest. I'll take the cake, especially if it's a corner piece ;) All jokes aside, sugary beverages really bring nothing to the table for me. If I find myself craving orange juice, I just peel myself an orange. Case closed. (Although I hate having orangey smelling fingers afterwards!)
2. Nothing is off limits. Once I condemn a food or food category, I only find myself craving it more, or worse, acting like a starving madwoman at a buffet line at a party. So instead I allow myself to indulge but set some parameters. I've realized that I only really enjoy drinks/desserts/treats/indulgences in the presence of friends and family so that's when I choose to enjoy them. Often if I'm craving a sweet and I'm alone at home, there's something else at play (like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster or I'm feeling blue or lonely).
3. Eat a bit of every food group at every meal. Lately, I have been trying to make my plates half full of veggies, then some protein-rich foods, and maybe some grain/fruit on the side. Find what works for you and what makes you feel good!
4. Stock my pantry and refrigerator with non-processed foods. Basically, I'm going to eat what's most convenient for me to make. And if all I got is kale, apples, bananas, and eggs...well I'm going to eat a kale salad with chopped apples and a side of over-easy eggs. Also, then when I'm craving a sweet when I'm alone, I can only reach for a banana and not a pint of ice cream. And it's a lot harder to feel guilty about eating a banana than eating ice cream. Just sayin'.
5. Make going out and ordering in a treat. My boyfriend and I only get one day off a week together and we love going out to eat, so I consider Sunday my "Treat yo self" day and indulge in some amazing food & drinks from around Chicago, usually from the same three restaurants if I'm being honest haha.
There you have it! Just a simple list of guidelines; not a strict "Ten Commandments" deal set in stone. Be flexible. Be compassionate and kind to yourself. Know that if you stray from a guideline- it's okay. The next morning you just smile, breathe deep, and set a new intention for that day.
Do you have any guidelines you follow when it comes to your health? Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!!