We live in a society where eating healthy does not seem accessible. We are inundated with news of how the food we eat is bad for us one day but deemed safe the next. It seems like everybody is selling MLM products on social media, and people asking for genuine advice are often just given the link to some “miracle cure”. And why is it that obtaining actual fresh food is more difficult and expensive than it should be?
Food is a pretty basic need, it really shouldn’t be this complicated. It is no wonder that embarking on a healthy lifestyle change can be overwhelming, frustrating and discouraging.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be!
The Big Tiny Steps Approach
Take it from me, I spent my whole life looking for a quick fix. There isn’t one. And why should there be? You wouldn’t want your car to undergo a “quick fix”, so why would you want that for your health? You “drive” your body all.the.time.
The reason for this is that we all tend to look for things that are easy and simple. But the truth is that healthy life changes can be TOTALLY EASY and SUPER SIMPLE. Take it from me. I am a mother of three and a verified hot mess! I am also a little on the lazy side #dontjudge
The following is a list of the things that you can do to try and be healthier (and maybe lose weight by extension) in your everyday life. I have had a great deal of success with these strategies both when I lost 70 lbs after my second baby and since the birth of my third baby.
Please note- I am NOT a doctor or dietician. These strategies are used to guide my own journey and are approved by my physician based on my own individual health profile. These tips are based on my personal experiences, values and lifestyle. Before starting any health, fitness or diet program it is imperative you consult a Doctor to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
The Big Tiny Steps Method
- Eat a Mainly Plant Based Diet- Although I am not vegetarian I consume verrrry little meat products (more dairy because cheese!). Aside from being better for you health in terms of your risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses, the consumption of animals and animal products from large scale agribusiness has a huge negative effect on the environment. Some may (justifiably) argue for going vegan or vegetarian for these reasons but this is not realistic for me at this point, so I am just trying to drastically reduce the amount I consume. Additionally, our family is attempting to get our products from ethical sources and support local farming.
- Avoid Processed Foods whenever possible. Make your own!- I try to make my own Sauces, marinades and spice blends. Aside from saving money these contain less sugar and salt and are free of additives.
- Avoid sugar and fake sweeteners. This one is difficult but I eat a LOT of fruit so that makes it easier. If you want to learn a TON of reasons to avoid sugar I seriously recommend watching Sugar Coated (should be on Netflix). If the dangers to your health wont help you make the switch, learning how the industry has no regard for the health of its consumers will. Personally, I also try to avoid Stevia and honey as well but that is just because they have similar physiological effects on the body. That being said I don’t go crazy trying to avoid hidden sugars, and I also believe in moderation. I definitely have yogurt and other things that contain sugars (ice cream and chocolate are my main temptations and I will absolutely have them on occasion) and also use some sugar or sweeteners in cooking sometimes. Also my kids are allowed to have some treats and granola bars etc. but making the attempt to cut your sugar intake makes it so that the sugar you do consume is a more realistic and less harmful amount than what we usually take in when we aren’t actively thinking about it.
- Drink lots of water. I used to have a MAJOR addiction to pop. Now, I drink pretty much all water (for some ideas on how to spruce up your plain water, check out this post) or tea because I don’t want to drink up empty calories and because I am avoiding most sweeteners when I can.
- Use money saving strategies to reduce your household food waste- and have healthy stuff on hand so that whipping up a homemade meal or smoothie is EASIER than hitting the drive through! For our Ways to Make Healthy Eating Save you Money eBook, subscribe to our newsletter and confirm your subscription. You will then be provided with a link for this free resource. For our videos on just how easy it is to cook from scratch using what you have on hand, check out our YouTube, or Instagram. Additionally, if you want to join a kick ass community of people looking to take control of their health through food choices and lifestyle change, check out our Facebook group Eating Clean and Living Green
- Move More- Doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it! I lost a huge amount of weight mainly just walking! I am now ready to slowly incorporate jogging and weights. You may hear a lot about lifting or Crossfit or whatever and those things are great but the whole “make time for fitness” is harder for some of us than others. I used to try and wake up at 4:30 am to work out and I would end up watching the workout video on my couch spilling cereal all over myself before embarking on a day of being a total jerk because I was tired. I don’t recommend it.
The Key to Success
- EAT WHAT YOU LOVE. Seriously. Don’t deprive yourself, eat delicious, gorgeous food that you cant wait to consume. My home cooked food beats any other junk under the sun and yours will too, I promise! I was never much of a cook and I HATED vegetables. Now I cook like a boss and eat like a damn queen!
The Mental Aspect
I have found that getting TRULY healthy required a few NECESSARY mental “reboots”. These were:
- “If I eat unhealthy my day is shot”- not true. You have to become an expert at picking yourself back up and keep on keeping on. This is hard, but doable. Eventually you will be able to stop the cycle while you’re in it (if you tend to binge out like me) breathe, let go and start over. Where in life does one choice determine success or failure? Nowhere. And it doesn’t apply here either.
- “I want to lose X amount of weight in X amount of time”- Why the pressure? In my humble opinion this is a great way to sabotage yourself and set yourself up for failure. Let it happen and do the work. The timeline will do as it will. Once I stopped thinking this way I was way better at handling setbacks and sticking to behaviors consistent with my goals.
- “I lost then gained so I feel like giving up”- Ok so check out my graph. You can see 2 postpartum periods, one pregnancy and a dramatic loss (and another in progress). Pay close attention to the downward trend. See how it zig zags?? Weight loss is not linear! Don’t give up. Instead of making changes to lose weight, do it to get healthy. The rest will fall into place. Trust me!
Living a More Natural and Sustainable Lifestyle
I am a firm believer that reconnecting with nature can help us to find peace and happiness in the modern world. Getting out into nature, growing your own food and trying to incorporate more natural living int your day to day life can have positive effects on your health and happiness. I don’t know what has happened, but I am becoming a born again hippy and I feel fine!
And what better way to eat clean than to grow your own? It is to this end that we are using our aquaponics system and container gardening to start trying to produce our own food. We are going to be experimenting with making our own cleaning supplies as well as trying to reduce our water use and live more sustainably.
Our dream is to eventually get a place where we can start homesteading and growing our food on a larger scale. We would like to start catching rainwater, keeping bees and chickens, and using solar power. Until then we are trying to increase our health and wellness by “citysteading” as much as we can.
I think there are small changes that anybody can make, and even the smallest steps can make a big difference!
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And please, keep in touch regarding your progress! I want to see how YOU are doing, and hear about all your struggles and wins
Together we’ve got this!