Keep it Simple

I have been learning and engaging in healthy living for quite some time now. I have tried a lot of different way of thinking. Let’s be real, I’ve been obsessive and even restrictive. Guess what? I’m still learning. But I do feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned things that work and things that don’t work. One of the biggest challenges I see people face are with guilt and grace. They lean one way or the other. Most people struggle with the middle ground. Most people think it’s all or nothing. We can’t show ourselves grace or we can’t control our appetites.

Let me set things straight. You can’t change your body over night. It takes time. Restrictive diets don’t work. They aren’t maintainable and often leave you without certain nutrients that are essential to your body functioning properly. But on the other hand living in indulgence and not changing your habits doesn’t lead to change either. Listen, you’re not perfect. Don’t let the fear of failure or indulging in certain things keep you from enjoying life. And don’t let food be all you have to look forward to when you start your day.

Have any of you ever been on a diet before and your so freaked out about taking a few too many bites or eating the wrong thing that in the end all you end up doing is thinking about food. You’re so distracted by the fear of eating food that you can’t even enjoy the company in which your enjoying it with. Or you’re so strict that when you end up indulging you go crazy and can’t stop then when you finally do you end up in the “guilt and shame” department that leads you back to the exact same restrictive habits. But maybe you’re that person who has just always struggled with their weight and has no idea what to do to get healthy. I have been on both sides and old habits die hard. To this day I’m still teaching myself what it means to be healthy and being healthy is NOT being SKINNY. They are not the same thing. You can be healthy and be very lean, but you can be very healthy and weigh a little more.

The thing that I always come back to is Keep it Simple.

Don’t be afraid to take baby steps. Eat simple foods. Best tip I can give to anyone with questions is telling them to eat WHOLE FOODS. SIMPLE REAL FOODS. If you find it in a box, can, or bag you may want to start questioning what is actually going into your body. It’s crazy to me how the food industry is basically making millions and billions of dollars by feeding us fake crap, we don’t know what half the ingredients on the labels actually are. So tip number 2: if you buy processed food try to stick to 5 ingredients or less. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t be perfect-this is where grace is really important. You’re not going to drop all processed food overnight. Guess what? That’s okay. I actually encourage that. If you drop it all you’re going to be tempted and often fall into the guilt and shame trap. But take small steps. Say this week I’m going to make at least one meal with all real food. Or start looking at the labels and commit to buying things with 5 or fewer ingredients. Choose the apple instead of the fries. Heck add that spoonful of all natural nut butter with that apple if you’re hungry.

Tip number 3: one of my most important tips. Don’t restrict. Limit not eliminate. One day you may notice you’re not eating those “favorite” crackers you ate everyday for 5 years, but you don’t miss them-but it’s probably going to take time to get there and it’s better to slowly progress than say absolutely not. Remember every now and then it’s okay to say yes and have that cup of ice cream or eat your favorite bowl of pasta with some super heavy sauce. You’ll find as you start limiting these things, you won’t miss them as much and when you know you can have it, it makes it much easier to say no when you don’t need it. It’s in our nature to rebel when we’re told absolutely not, we will fight with it, but you know what you don’t have to. You just have to say, not now or not everyday or even every week. Start small and healthy habits will start progressing to everyday life.

Lifestyle, NutritionJo Butler