I don’t eat perfectly all the time. I don’t count how many calories I eat or even how many servings I eat. What I do is try to eat only when I’m hungry and eat healthy “almost always”. And “mostly never” eat bad things–sugar, sugar substitutes, dairy, wheat, and grains. I define “healthy” as minimally processed. If i don’t know what the ingredients are or I couldn’t make it myself at home, I don’t buy it. I cook most of our meals at home and study menus before we go out to eat. I stay away from super processed oils like margarine, vegetable oil, and canola oil. At home I only cook with coconut oil and olive oil. I can’t control what restaurants use and thus I try not to worry when eating out, but I also rarely eat out.
I shoot for variety… lots of fruits and vegetables and as many different kinds as I can get. I try to do The Whole30 about 4 times a year and follow a mostly paleo diet all the rest of the time, but I make the programs work for me. If I were 100% paleo, I wouldn’t drink coffee and I would run barefoot and that ain’t happening :). And The Whole30– sometimes I bend the rules to make myself successful (like eat a Larabar or RX Bar or chips if it’s going to keep me from diving headfirst into a bar of dark chocolate :)) Sugar ones me–it’s like crack. If I stay away from it, I don’t think about it… but even a little bit and I’m craving it like crazy. And dairy… turns out, I’m definitely allergic. I was as a baby and after eliminating it from my diet as an adult I’ve found that even the smallest amount makes me have asthma symptoms.
Food is meant to nourish… not harm. It’s meant to bring people together… to be a celebration. It’s not meant to cause sickness and disease, obesity and a host of health problems.
Don’t go on a diet. Don’t deprive yourself so much that you end up binging later. If all you can do is give up soda, do that. If you just pick one processed food in your diet and replace it with a fruit or vegetable, that is a victory! Start small if you have to, but do something! The last thing I want to hear people say is, “I could NEVER do what you’re doing”… no one knows just what they will do when they feel like it’s their only chance at life. Don’t wait for the heart attack or the stroke or the diagnosis or the high blood pressure… choose today to fight for your tomorrow. Fight for your health. Don’t do it because you want to lose weight or fit into your old clothes or to change how you look…. do it for your future self… your 40 year old, 60 year old, 90 year old you who wishes you would have taken better care of yourself. You will never regret making healthy decisions for yourself… but you will likely regret that donut or soda or fast food (probably within moments of consumption).