It's not you, it's me. Wait, I think it's you. It's definitely you.
Here’s the thing about my relationship with dieting: we always break up. Whether I’m breaking it off because I cheated with a new diet, or because I decided to go find myself and be solo for a while, I’m not a loyal girlfriend to dieting.
Not to say that dieting and I have never shared happy times. One time before college spring break, I cut out all carbs for two months and dropped a quick ten pounds. I actually felt happy in my swimsuit for once. But when spring break was over and I started having feelings for food again, my diet and I had an explosive falling out. So explosive that I was back in bed with my old friend pasta within a week.
So, after I had a baby I knew that I had to steer clear of dieting and the volatile relationship it inevitably brings. It’s time to be healthy and it’s certainly time to be happy, so I’ve made the decision to ban all fad diets from my life.
To my surprise when I finally kicked dieting to the curb, I became happier + healthier. Disclaimer: I am not a health expert, but I am an expert on me. And for the past couple years, doing the following three things has kept me satisfied in my journey to a more balanced life (and kept me from reaching for the next size up in jeans):
Cooking My Own Food.
I don’t know if you are like me in this regard, but I always over-eat in restaurants. There is nothing that brings me more joy that ordering an appetizer slapped with ungodly amounts of cheese. Nothing. Maybe dessert? It’s a close one.
But I say all this just to illustrate my point that restaurants are danger zones. I have a hard time ordering salads and lemon water when the table next to me is pulling apart buffalo chicken nachos. It’s too hard on my morale.
Because of this, my husband and I try to cook at home 4-5 nights a week. We plan our meals on Sunday, and do our best to stick to the meal plan throughout the week. Sounds easy right? Well, it is. Do we go out for Mexican food almost every single Friday? You betcha. And we have been known to take down a margarita before the salsa even hits the table. But the next evening, we grill kabobs and atone for the food sins we committed the night before.
It’s all about balance, right?
Making Breakfast Fun.
One time I read that Carrie Underwood ate egg whites for breakfast, sad I know. So I ate egg whites for breakfast (again, sad, but google Carrie’s legs). And I was hungry for lunch at 9:30 am.
I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so it’s not unusual for me to crave sweet over savory in the morning. I eat every type of Special K, and sometimes I even dabble in my toddler's Sesame Street pancakes. Just a touch of sweet helps me start the day on the right foot, and I’m not left wanting a Snicker’s all day long.
If I indulge in sweet food any time of the day, it’s breakfast. I have the day to burn it off, and I just like sweet food for breakfast. I’m not saying donuts and muffins won’t make you gain weight- they totally will. But I don’t worry about a little bit of sugar in my cereal early in the A.M.
Carbs Are Not Invited to Dinner.
It’s a sad fact of life that carbs cause terrible diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and FUPA’s. So, instead of completely ridding them from my life (because face it- a life without carbs is a life not worth living), I pick and choose a few dinners out of the week to make low-carb. And so far it has worked!
I think the key to making delicious, low carb dinners is adding a healthy fat. Usually, for me, those fats come in the form of nuts or cheeses. For example, if I’m eating fajitas without the tortilla and beans, you better believe I am going to add some cheese. It’s just better that way.
Another useful tool for surviving low carb dinners? Cauliflower. Cauliflower has saved my life for weeks on end. It’s the ultimate chameleon vegetable: Cauliflower can transform into faux pizza crust, faux mashed potatoes, or my favorite- faux Mexican rice. Skinnytaste.com has a ton of recipes using cauliflower instead of another starchy carb choice, like this cilantro "fried rice" dish.
(Side note: If you have never visited skinnytaste.com, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes (or hours) on the site. You will find a ton of recipes that, for the most part, are pretty easy to prepare, and super easy to DEVOUR.)
Sounds pretty basic right? These aren't expert tips or grand revelations, but each of these things has saved this basic momma from feeling overly frustrated on the scale. Many of you health gurus might disagree or think these tips are garbage, and that's okay too. But any tip that can save a fellow mom time or frustration, is a tip worth sharing.