10 habits to help us eat successfully: Day 20

Posted on: July 19, 2012

I have no brilliantly inspiring excuse for my absence yesterday. Guess I just decided to be a normal 19-year-old for the day: procrastinating, sitting, aimlessly wandering in my own thoughts. The past two days I just wasn’t feeling like bulldozing through tasks as usual; so instead I plowed through about 9 or 10 episodes of Dexter, some sushi and fro-yo. Hey, I am a work-in-progress (a.k.a human). But today, I zipped up my big girl pants and put my nose to the grindstone at a pitch-black and RAINY (yes, rainy in Northern Indiana–a rarity as of this summer) 4:50 am and I feel powerful.

Day 20 covers 10 habits that Chalene says are the diet foundations of successful and fit people. I would say that I practice about half of the list well and the other five or so could use a smidge to a ton more practice.

  1. Eat within the same daily menu. That is, stick to a rotation of about four different options for each meal and snack. This keeps you from rollercoastering calories by eating a 200 calorie lunch one day and an 800 calorie one the next. Some of my favorite rotations for lunch include veggies topped with a gluten-free, vegan burger and some type of non-dressing condiment (hummus, guac, salsa, marinara), brown rice pasta with pesto or marinara, grocery store veggie sushi, and a raw veggie/fruit plate with hummus. For breakfast I almost always go with Shakeology concocted with different, under 300 calorie recipes (I love Chocolate with PB2, half of a frozen banana, and coconut almond milk). Sometimes, though, I will go with oatmeal or a bunch of fruit. My snacks of choice are iced lattes, g-free nutrition bars, berries, or trail mix (portioned out or someone stop me). For dinner, it’s usually another smoothie on a busy night, or whatever massive amount of veggies I can get my hands on. I love trying new things and usually do so in restaurants but the Elkhart-area dining options make it pretty easy to avoid “blind-dining” as there are few options so I really only eat at about five of them.
  2. Eat breakfast. Like Nike says guys, “Just do it.” You’ll have more energy and focus. In a hurry? Drink your breakfast in smoothie form or test out a few nutrition bars.
  3. Drink water. Plain and simple. At least 12 x 8oz. So 96oz minimum. I am hardly ever without a water bottle and my current hydrator of choice is the 24oz bubba keg sport; I drink about 6 of them or more a day.
  4. Eat small and often. I find that four, approx. 300 calorie meals per day is best for me right now. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.
  5. Eat whole foods first. Did you have to peel it/wash it/cut it up/add spices before eating? When hunger strikes, it should be your first pick. Did you have to microwave it/unbox it/ unseal it. Consider the list of ingredients and nutrients before chowing down.
  6. Know your food. I preach research more than anything else. If you are informed about nutrition, you will always have that voice in your head pushing you to make positive, energizing food choices. Keep track of serving sized and calories; when you get in the habit, dishing out a healthy single serving will become automatic.
  7. Eat favorite foods carefully. Welcome to the weakness of AnnMarie, dear readers. You’re talking to the girl who could down four sushi rolls solo and top it off with a pint of ice cream if she had the chance (and has come fairly close on many occasions). Don’t keep this stuff in your house until you know how to handle it with care. I am still getting there.
  8. Don’t keep red zone foods in the house. Kick out the junk like packaged cookies, chips, and ranch dip and make plenty of room for nutritional treasures healthy energy bars, pre-washed lettuce blends, and hummus.
  9. Close the kitchen after dinner. I will say that I have made great strides in my practice of this habit since starting PUSH. I almost never eat after 8 anymore. Whenever I stay out of the kitchen after dinner, it much less of guilt sanctuary come morning.
  10. Use your resources at restaurants. Yes, dressing CAN come on the side, Yes, you can get that grilled instead of fries. Ask and you shall receive; and if you can’t, dine elsewhere. I love restaurants like Flat Top Grill and Chipotle where I can decide exactly what goes into my meal.

I am always trying to improve my diet and increase my ability to practice each and every one of these habits; it is most important to remember and accept that we are always a work-in-progress. Try picking just one habit to focus on this week and notice how you feel. Which habit could you work on to improve your energy and well-being. For the next week, I am going to focus on eating favorite foods carefully and will report back with progress.


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