Food: what I eat, when I eat it, what I don't eat and when I don't eat - one more challenge to overcome on a way to become healthier and more fit.
I had my ups and downs with this one and this is what I learned.
Dieting in its broad understanding of restricting yourself from eating certain food at certain times for limited amount of time starting from day X - doesn't work for me. I am constantly hungry, sleepy, powerless and counting seconds till the time it is over to stuff myself with foods the diet didn't let me eat.
Now slowly changing my diet from eating less of things which are not good for me to more of things are good for me, slowly reducing amount of calories to first match and then go below the amount of calories I use in a day that works.
The emphasis is on slowly, allowing body to adjust.
First Step: Change Diet Slowly
I guess, everybody knows that vegetables and fruits are considered good for you, fat meat is much less so. Sugary artificial drinks are bad, water and vegetable juices are good. Fried things are bad while steamed or raw are usually better. Eating smaller portions and more often is better than eating bigger portions and less often. And so on and so on.
Just figure out what is good for you and then slowly transition to it. One change at a time.
Obviously, no meat lover can change overnight to start liking broccoli that much that they would replace a fatty steak with it. So I started by replacing french fries with broccoli or side salad. Then I reduced size of steak I eat. Then I progressed to eating steaks less often. I still eat steaks, I love them, I just eat much less of them than I did it before.
This is just one example, but I hope you see the idea behind it.
These are diet changes which worked for me:
- Transition to fruits, raw vegetables and homemade vegetable juices from sandwiches, pasta, fried foods, fat meats, breads, processed foods.
- Reducing amount of potatoes and other starchy foods in general.
- Reducing of meat amounts in general and switching more to chicken and fish, eating less of beef and pork.
- Eating 6-7 times per day.
Second Step: Don't Be Hungry
For me it is very important to not be hungry to stay on track with eating right. This is one of the reasons why strict dieting doesn't work for me. Feeling hungry makes me to want to eat that elephant which I am trying to restrict myself from eating. This is bad.
So for me is important to tame the hunger as soon as I get it. That is - eat something, preferable something healthy. If it is time for a meal - I will eat my salad or so, if it isn't time for it yet - I will eat few raw nuts or few baby carrots, a banana or an apple, few strawberries. Just enough food to not feel hungry.
On an average day, I will have 4 substantial meals and 2-3 smaller snacks per day. That works for me.
Of course, a box of nuts every day can be an overwhelming amount of calories. But it isn't a time to track calories just yet. It is important to show the body that it is not going to starve (e.g. that food will always be there, as often as body needs it). And that is what I did initially.
Once my body got used to eating often, I started working on reducing amount of calories by slowly transitioning to smaller portions and more healthy food choices.
What is Next?
Doing the diet transition slowly and making sure the hunger is tamed are two first things for me to keep going healthy path of eating better. Of course there are more to come after these 2 are mastered, I am still working on some of them...