For those of us trying to eat healthier, figuring out where to start can be a fucking struggle. When your natural taste preferences range from tacos to ice cream, it can truly be an uphill battle figuring out how to eat healthy.
In my own experience, I tend to go on a eating healthy kick, search around for recipes, run out and buy fancy ingredients, try it for a bit, and then run out of steam. All the while having less money in my bank account, and more unused shit in my cupboards.
How to Start Eating Healthy
When you look at healthy eating advice you tend to find a lot of info about what you should be eating more or less of, however there is one major aspect that’s left overlooked. How to start when you’re hopelessly addicted to junk food and have a raging hate-boner for healthy food.
Now, I’m a huge advocate for eating whatever the fuck you want, but I also understand the struggle of binge eating, searching for weight loss in all the wrong places, and wanting to make a change in your diet and having no idea where to start.
When I decided to make a healthy lifestyle change, I was a person who almost exclusively ate junk food. I could probably count on less than one hand the amount of vegetables I’d eat in a week. I also was completely addicted to soda and maybe drank one glass of water a day. I suffered from headaches, low self esteem, and feeling like shit was my baseline setting.
What I learned when I tried to overhaul my eating and lifestyle habits was that the reason I had failed so often in the past was that I was so impatient for change that I was trying to eat as if I had developed the same taste preferences as all the health gurus I was reading. And I simply wasn’t there yet.
It’s when you begin to look at your current lifestyle that you can begin to adapt for your future goals.
It’s important not to try and fit a lifestyle you haven’t developed yet.
It needs to fit you. This is the very first step.
What this means for most of us is not to throw out all the junk food and replace it with quinoa and broccoli just yet. Find out what you like, what you usually eat, and what your health goals are. This might take some time, planning, and work. Which means you’re going to have to throw out that pipe dream of a quick fix (it’s bullshit anyways).
For example, my family was never big on vegetables, but we did like bell peppers and anything with spice. One of the first things we began to do was to make sure that we had bell peppers on hand, to make veggie-loaded breakfast scrambles, stir frys, and Mexican inspired dishes.
Then we began to experiment with recipes and foods that we already knew we liked, making healthier versions of them with less processed ingredients or with a ton of veggies.
If you shock your system by forcing yourself to only eat foods that you don’t like yet, then you’re likely going to lose the motivation to keep it up.
Nobody wants to do shit they don’t like to do.
The first time I had a green smoothie, I was so gung ho about being healthy from all the shit I’d pinned on Pinterest, that I loaded it up with spinach and kale and only a few strawberries. The resulting green sludge was the reason I wouldn’t try to have another smoothie for a loooong time after that!
It was gross AF because at the time I hated 90% of what was in it. And yet I tried to make myself drink it with a smile? Madness.
So the next time I made a smoothie, I went for about 3/4 fruit and 1/4 cucumber. I then slowly moved towards incorporating more leafy vegetables and decreasing the amount of fruit, and now most of my smoothies are predominantly green.
Sustainability and Planning
In many cases, the main barriers to starting a diet change have to do with sustainability and planning.
By sustainability, I’m referring to how much time you need to cook meals. If you don’t have the time to invest in this on a consistent basis, then trying to do so will be unsustainable.
This is where planning comes in!
Even if you’re successful with eating healthier, running into situations where time is limited and unexpected circumstances pop up is when it can all go to shit.
This is when the frozen pizzas or ordering takeout come in. Soccer nights, fussy babies, doctors appointments, these are all occasions where it’s easy to fall back into the trap of eating fast food or other quick and unhealthy options (again, this is totally fine unless you really do feel hopelessly caught up in a cycle if eating like shit and feeling bad about it).
A wonderful solution to this is meal prep and meal planning. These can be major ingredients for success and sustainability for your healthy lifestyle.
Meal prep can be many things, and there are some amazing resources on the internet (like this one) and on Pinterest about preparing food all at once to divide out later, and how to do so while minimizing wasted food.
Meal planning is when you make a meals schedule based on using up what you have in a well thought out rotation.
Furthermore, freezer meals are a fantastic way of ensuring that you always have something healthy that you can either dump into the crock pot, or pop in the oven on a hectic day. Because even the meals that you have prepared that may not fit the mold of being “healthy” will still beat fast food or takeout because you know what is in them, and they will likely have significantly less mystery crap in them.
If you want to learn more about why you NEED a deep freeze to get your adulting game on point, click here!
Eating healthy can be super easy when you take care of the basics
Meal prep, meal planning and creating easy freezer meals are all fantastic ways of making eating healthy easier. Sometimes all it takes is just cutting and preparing all your veggies when you get back from the store to ensure that you save time, and always have them available to snack on or to add to recipes.
It might be a pain in the ass at first but trust me, your life will get much easier (and healthier) once you’re in the groove.