Dieting can be intimidating. Stereotypical diets might be thought of only including raw, plain vegetables, unseasoned, unsalted protein sources like chicken and fish and not allowing fruits, breads or tasty treats. I’m here to tell you that this is not always the case.
Do not mistake me for saying that dieting for a specific weight loss, muscle gain or physique goal does not require sacrifices. I know first hand that if you want to obtain a very specific look, being as regimented and “boring” as possible is the best way to track and visibly see your progress. You can then make adjustments that will not cause negative responses from your body. The yo-yo affect is never fun. This is where the discipline begins.
The more you get used to small, little changes in your food choices, the more discipline you begin to build. You will not think of foods the same. For me, I almost never crave
pizza. It is lackluster to me. However, show me some Jeni’s ice cream with a dark chocolate brownie and a glass of red wine and my heart melts. But, instead of eating those treats all the time, I find little replacements of healthier, nutrient dense foods that will satisfy and fill me. For example, if you missed the recipe for my cranberry protein bars, you better check them out here.
If you don’t have much creativity yourself or enjoy baking, don’t feel like you have to stick to the basics. Part of the fun of learning foods and healthy meals is mixing and matching items! I really enjoy eating salmon. But, I don’t always like to have my fish with rice. So, I instead decided to eat it with green veggies and sweet potato for a balance of protein in the salmon, with some healthy fats, sweet potato for the complex carbohydrate, that will digest slower and help me feel fuller longer, and the vegetables are a great source of vitamins!
As you become more comfortable with selecting more nutrient-dense foods, you can increase your creativity, modify your macronutrient intake and enjoy more “fun, not boring” foods. This morning, that was peanut butter and jelly. I enjoyed a half slice of Ezekiel whole sprouted grains bread with 1 tablespoon of natural creamy Crazy Richard’s peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of raspberry preserves. That alone fit my calorie needs for fats and carbohydrates before a workout. I also ate 3 ounces of chicken breast for a whole protein source that will aid in muscle synthesis when I work the muscles in my training session.
Sure, it has some sodium and some sugars. But, it is only a little bit of both. And it is lessening my cortisol levels because I feel like I am “treating” myself with these foods. Moderation and understanding your specific body needs is the key to a healthy, balanced diet. Are you going to make it peanut butter jelly time like I did?
Let me know what your favorite alternative healthy food choices are and if interested, please reach out if you’d like more one-on-one consultation around health and nutrition.