At times, I feel it would have been much easier if I were enthusiastic about either food or health. Apparently, I love food and want to stay healthy. One of the biggest challenges I have encountered is maintaining a steady balance between these.
However, I’ve figured out that it’s not that hard to satisfy your body with delicious food and to be fit with a good body. All I do is follow certain simple things and so far it has worked out for me. You might be having your own secret rules, do share them with me. I would love to know how you keep a balance between delicious food and your health.
I believe small and easy things that we could follow with less effort shouldn’t be ignored, it adds up in the long run.
So here are a few things that I follow or at least try to follow:
1- Buy one Get one free, the biggest trap:
You could see this sign in almost all grocery stores, and we tend to fall for this as we get to enjoy more for less money. For me, this is the biggest trap and at the checkout we will be standing with our heads high with 2 packs of ice cream, 2 packs of soda and 2 packs of other unhealthy desserts piled up in our shopping cart.
By this offer we are obviously saving money, but have you ever thought how many calories and how much fat we are putting into our body? What about the number of hours we need to workout to burn them???
What I do: I try to ignore these buy one get one free offers for ice cream, soda, pop corn and other unhealthy things. If I really want it, I just grab one pack and get out of the store before I tend to grab the free one as well.
2- Order water while dining in restaurants:
You are not embarrassing yourself by ordering water while dining in a restaurant. And don’t ever feel shy to order water. It shows how you love yourself by not pouring caffeine and other carbonated drinks into your amazing body every time you dine out. Water is the healthiest form of liquid you can ever get and the more water you drink the more glow your skin is going to have. Also, you save money by not ordering soda. When you order soda, the waiter will keep refilling your soda and often you end up drinking till your stomach starts making annoying noises 😛
3- Don’t have to stuff your refrigerator to curb your cravings:
I know how annoying cravings can get. The moment you get the craving, you find ways to succumb to your cravings. It’s a good thing and you should always satisfy your taste buds.
Ice cream, chocolates, pizza and cakes are the most commonly craved food. You don’t have to stuff your refrigerator with these so that you can satisfy your cravings the second it pops up. By doing so, you end up having them everyday, sometimes with every meal or more often. May be you stuff your refrigerator with the intention that you can easily resist these and only touch it when you really want to have it. Think again, can you really resist them??? Every moment you are at home, a part of your mind will be always behind the ice cream, pizza and other delicious stuffs piled up in your refrigerator.
What I do: I avoid stuffing my refrigerator with unhealthy food. When I get the real craving for ice cream, pizza etc I go out. I usually order single scoop of ice cream rather than double or triple. One scoop is enough to satisfy my craving. You don’t have to stuff your body as if you won’t get to see ice cream or chocolates ever again.
4- Cook and bake more during a get-together or a party:
Host get-togethers and parties with your friends and co-workers at least once a month, you get to cook and bake whatever you like. That way you too get to enjoy your favorite food and few slices of your favorite cake. Otherwise, it might be just you and your hubby left to empty the whole cake. I am sure you are not going to stop with few slices. You are not going to throw away the rest because you made them with so much passion.
At the end of the party share any remaining food especially dessert with your guests to take home. That way you are not bound to emptying the leftovers all by yourself. The idea is not to make your guests unhealthy, but isn’t it better for six people to finish a cake than two?
5- Grab fat-free ingredients:
These days there are fat-free alternatives for almost all ingredients like milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, heavy cream, cheese, yogurt etc. Always go for fat-free. I haven’t noticed any huge difference in taste or texture by using fat-free products.
6- Bake cookies at home, rather than buy in bulk from the store:
I agree, buying cookies from a store is much easier than baking at home. But when you make it at home you have the control over lot of things: you could use fat free cream, skim milk, zero calorie sugar etc. And you are not going to add any weird chemicals and preservatives. Bake cookies once in two weeks or so and enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea in the evening or morning. It doesn’t take too long to make homemade cookies, all you have to do is mix everything and pop it in the oven.
7- Go with Whole Grain products:
When you buy pasta, bread, cereal go with whole grain ones rather than white ones or whole wheat ones. Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Read my previous post on top five reasons to eat whole grains.
8- Eat heavy breakfast and avoid eating carbs for dinner:
Don’t skip your breakfast. Your breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day. Eat your dinner early at least 3-4 hours before you sleep and avoid eating too much carbs for dinner. Avoid eating white rice, white bread, white tortillas for dinner.
9- Your body needs fat and succumb to your desire once a week:
You shouldn’t cut down on the fat to zero. Your body needs fat, so once or twice a week just succumb to your cravings and eat whatever you want. Other days watch out for what’s getting into your body.
10- Don’t follow intense diet or starve:
Dieting is good, but don’t do intense dieting. By dieting, you are watching out what’s going into your body, and that’s fine. But by doing intense dieting, you are suppressing your desires for food. Once you stop your diet you’ll go crazy and eat everything you had been avoiding, which would result in gaining weight.
Yet another way for losing weight is by starving, which is a really bad idea. By starving you may achieve your goal but at the end you’ll be a weak, exhausted and an unhealthy person. To regain your strength you have to eat more which results in weight gain.
11- You know your body better than anyone else:
Everyone’s body is different. You know or you need to figure out what kind of body you have and do things accordingly.
12- Exercise, Exercise, Exercise:
Last but not least…
I would say there is literally nothing to replace exercise. You have to exercise if you want to be fit and healthy. If not everyday, at least 3 days a week is good enough. During winter, you don’t have outdoor choices but hit the gym. In summer, try to do outdoor activities like biking, tennis, running, walking etc. I have always enjoyed outdoor activities more than working out in a closed fitness center.
Like me, if you are lazy to workout in a gym by yourself, the best way to overcome this is by joining a group exercise program which is found in almost all fitness centers. Also, you could try different exercises everyday like aerobics, kwando, pilates, yoga etc. You will be constantly inspired and motivated by others in the group.
Do you workout regularly and don’t see any remarkable change???
There is a huge difference between working out regularly and working out properly. Most people workout for a while and at the moment they feel the pain they pause their workout. This is where they go wrong. You should continue your workout even after getting the pain(ensuring you’re not injuring yourself). This is when your body is starting to burn the fat. So, when you workout do it properly and effectively. Only then you can see remarkable changes.
Well, these are the few things I’ve been doing over the past few years and have found to be working well for me. You might be following different things, please let me know what you do to keep a balance between food and health/fitness.
Be healthy and keep smiling!