Today (because I’m a day behind and literally wrote this within the last hour of it being posted) was two things in New York City: the first snow of the season and SantaCon (or what I call the winter version of my college’s spring carnival). Essentially, there’s a lot of degeneracy in both events, just this one requires Santa costumes and is like one massive frat party on the loose in the cold 32 degree weather. That being said, I may have gotten carried away with enjoying the snow and laughing at the idiots on the street before I realized I am late to finishing day 6 of blogmas for you all. My sincerest apologies for uploading this at a much later hour than usual.
For day 6 of blogmas, we’re going to take a short break from heavily Christmas-themed posts and talk about healthy eating habits. The start of winter is what I call insulation season. Regardless of who you are or how much you work out, your body tends to crave more food to keep it warm. On top of that, the holiday seasons always include Christmas cookies, treats, warm beverages, hot chocolate with marshmallows, warm waffles with syrup… you get the picture. Personally, I take the cold as a massive excuse to eat a pound of cheese in two sittings and two lunches. After my bad eating habits costed me 12 extra pounds last winter, I bring you these hacks I learned along the way.
Last December, when I stepped on the scale and found myself to be 12 pounds heavier than the start of senior fall semester, I knew it was a combination of going out too frequently, eating mac and cheese way too often, and completely falling off my fitness game with 0 visits to the gym. If you remember, I started a new diet and rigorous workout routine, helping me shave off 17 pounds by the end of this past summer.
I was only on the paleo diet for a month and a half before I returned to eating almost all normal foods. For me, there was nothing I was too upset with in terms of the paleo diet because I always felt clean and light. However, I got way too hungry way too quickly and ended up eating 5 meals a day. After the month and half, I switched back to a normal diet but start controlling portions. For example, I would only eat a maximum of three meals a week that were centered around something carb-related like a pasta/spaghetti dish or an Asian noodle or rice dish, and so forth. I did not count quinoa as carb-related though!
By carb cycling and eating the correct portions for each food group, I was able to lose 17 pounds by end of June without having to cut anything completely out of my diet. I ended up naturally craving whole foods, so I found that I barely reached for junk food, candy, or anything with very high sodium or sugar. I was able to still enjoy artisan cheese, drink socially and get the occasional 2am pizza, and have a small bag of sour candy every now and then without seeing much fluctuation in my weight or body fat percentage.
You don’t need to give anything up to lose weight! All you need to do is control your portions and the frequency of intake.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY’S REACTIONS TO FOOD
Your body reactions to everything you put in your body. (No reaction is a reaction by the way!) While your body can react drastically, like if you’re allergic to something, it can also react subtly. After all at some point, even if you eat something that doesn’t agree, your body will protest more and more each time. Then, you end up feeling terrible or suffering physical consequences from it. A perfect example is this: my diet has always consisted of very acidic foods, but I never found that to be a problem until the last year when my acid reflux became terrible.
However, the little reactions are what I want to focus on here. For example, I quit the paleo diet when I realized that I felt light and clean but was never satisfied with my food. On the other hand, when I eat too much wheat or flour products, I feel more bloated and slightly uncomfortable. So if you start noticing any foods you frequently eat make you slightly uncomfortable, gassy, or just off, wean them off slowly and see if it makes a difference. Even if it’s not a “bad” food, you’ll feel infinitely better over time.
The time you eat is very important. Even if you’re not a breakfast person (because I’m sure not), I highly recommend eating something in the morning. This kickstarts your metabolism and fuels you, preventing you from snacking or overeating when lunch comes by. You are also more likely to eat smaller portions of all your meals and not snack as much if you keep your body slightly fueled in the morning.
The same applies for night time. If you eat within two hours before sleeping, you’re more inclined to go to bed full or bloated and overeat. However, if you give your body a chance to digest the food and stop eating a while before bedtime, you’ll prevent yourself from late night snacking or going to bed too full. Going to bed too full prevents you from sleeping uncomfortably and helps you wake up less groggy.
Speaking of sleeping and waking up, water is something you should drink before bed if you’re ever feeling slightly tempted to snack. It’s also something you should drink the morning to hydrate your body before you start your day. In terms of meals, if you tend to overeat like me, try incorporating more vegetables and fruit into your diet. Not only are they healthier, they contain a decent amount of water to hyrdate you and fill you up.
IF YOU DON’T BUY IT, YOU CAN’T EAT IT.
Pretty self explanatory. I always see it as “If I save $5 on this wedge of cheese that I honestly don’t need, I save $5 and myself from consuming this amount of cheese that is just not healthy for my body.” After all, why spend money on things that help you out or end up making you unhappy indirectly? Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally ok to treat yourself once in a while, just not every day.
Those are my hacks to keeping a healthy diet without cutting anything you love. I’m signing off with my 6th giant cookie in my hand as I write this, so I’m going to shame myself a little for not portion controlling. I’ll see you in the next post, mes chéries. Bisou, bisou…
*NOTE: Featured image is not mine. All rights go to the owner of the image.