Balance. It’s a word we all struggle with. Whether it has to do with time management, spending money, or in this case, eating healthy. Finding that perfect balance can be challenging.
When it comes to food, you hear things like “Don’t eat carbs,” “Count your calories and macros,” or “Red meat is bad for you.” I’ve been a victim of the diet culture. I stopped eating carbs for a while, and I once went almost two years without eating meat. While abstaining from a certain food group for ethical, religious or personal reasons is not a bad thing, my motivation was not healthy. I am not sure what my end goal was, but overall, I did not feel much different or better. I simply wanted to take a break from those food groups.
My motivation was not healthy. I am not sure what my end goal was, but overall, I did not feel much different or better.
I also joined a “six-week challenge,” where the end result was to lose body fat. I have never been more unsatisfied with food in my life. Although I met my goal, I deprived myself and went into hardcore indulgence as soon as the challenge was over.
This is exactly the problem with most diets. You deprive yourself of certain foods, and as soon as your diet is over, your body craves all the things you weren’t allowed to have during your diet. If weight loss was your goal, then you’ll more than likely gain it all back, leaving you frustrated and defeated.
Dieting is a never-ending race, one which you shouldn’t sign up for.
Balance what you eat.
You do not have to deprive yourself or eliminate entire food groups to be healthy. Unless you have an underlying health condition where certain food groups make you sick, I recommend the 80/20 rule. This is where 80 percent of the time you eat clean and healthy meals and you indulge or eat the not-so-healthy food the other 20 percent of the time. This is how I’ve kept my balance and been able to maintain my healthy weight for years now.
You do not have to deprive yourself or eliminate entire food groups to be healthy.
My end result? True happiness and a great relationship with food. If I want a cookie or a piece of bread, then I eat it without feeling guilty. I’ve learned to substitute healthier food alternatives, stay active and maintain overall balance most of the time.
Make a plan. Meal prep encourages healthy eating.
The main thing that has helped me has been my meal prep journey. I’ve been meal prepping for more than two years now, and it has largely contributed to my good health. I don’t see it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle. I love cooking healthy, homemade meals and getting creative in the kitchen. Also, knowing what I am going to eat throughout the week helps me from deviating away from my goals.
I don’t see it as a diet, but more of a lifestyle.
Since I have meals ready to go every week, I am not tempted to eat out as much. This saves me a vast amount of time and money. I’ll cook healthy meals for the majority of the week and indulge and eat out on Saturday or Sunday.
What I love most about meal prep is how versatile it is. You do not have to cook all of your weekly meals at once or eat the same food every day. You can prepare just your lunch for the week or lunch and dinner for the next three days. Another option is to do batch cooking, where you cook a large batch of certain foods and make different dishes out of them throughout the week. You can really customize it to your preferences and vary as needed.
Even if all you do is wash and chop your produce, having a plan makes an astronomical difference. You don’t have to make three trips to the grocery store or run to a fast food restaurant because you’re starving and don’t have food at home.
Meal prep helps with portion control.
With meal prep, you also practice portion control. This helps prevent overeating, especially if you pre-portion your food in meal prep containers that are ready to go.
If you’re new to cooking or meal prep, I recommend starting with just one to two recipes and making three to five meals at once. You can prepare more meals as you get more comfortable in the kitchen. In time, it will become a habit and part of your weekly routine. I normally set aside two to three hours every Sunday to get it done, but you can do what works best with your schedule.
Nothing beats a delicious home cooked meal to nourish your body. Find your balance and give meal prep a try!
If you want a step-by-step meal prep guide with new weekly recipes that get emailed directly to your inbox, check out my website www.healthycrumbz.com or follow me on Instagram @HealthyCrumbz for some behind-the-scenes cooking.
If you have ever dieted, how did it make you feel? What daily and weekly habits have helped you cultivate a healthy lifestyle?
Image via Caroline Williams