You’re tired, lacking mental clarity/focus, and you feel like someone has fed you a thousand donuts against your will. You’re uncomfortable in your own skin. When your diet is lacking in certain vitamins and minerals it wreaks havoc with your whole body; you start craving certain junk food, making it impossible to break the habit of unhealthy eating.
This past weekend, I was out with a gal pal at Cora’s for breakfast. Whenever you say Cora’s, people automatically think healthy breakfast. For whatever reason, I was craving bacon and eggs and we decided to order Cora’s Special breakfast. BIG MISTAKE. This breakfast is two eggs, a sausage, bacon, slice of ham, a crepe, potato wedges and toast. OMG! I omitted the ham and toast; I knew there was no way I could eat that much. It was yummy at the time.
Perpetuating a bad cycle
What was the result of our large breakfast? We both felt like crap for the majority of the day. I did not have anything to eat until 6PM. That breakfast was the type of unhealthy food I crave, along with alcohol, and sugary and salty snacks. These bad foods and actions only end up perpetuating a bad cycle of eating. I have gained 8 pounds from 4 months of eating unhealthy and lack of any real exercise – not good.
Breaking the cycle [quote style=”boxed” float=”right”]It’s the 80/20 rule – 80% diet, 20% exercise.[/quote]
It’s time for a diet detox! In 2009/10, I faced the same battle. I was overweight by 20 pounds and lacked the motivation and energy for life. By fixing my diet and exercise habits, I took control and changed my life. The key to getting my energy back was to fix my diet first, and then slowly incorporate exercise back in.
Making it work – The Diet Detox:
How did I achieve my results in 2010? I eliminated “unhealthy” from my diet.
Coffee – It is a slow process swapping out the usual morning coffee for black tea (chai), then downgrading to green tea after a week or two. It takes focus to follow a plan of reducing coffee to a few times a week, then to weekends only, then straight to tea. The difficulty with coffee is that it is just like smoking; a habit you are used to performing daily.
Alcohol – Alcohol does nothing but fill your body with sugar, dehydrates you, increases appetite and causes stress. Go figure, people drink to relax, when in reality they are only creating anxiety. This was almost as tough as coffee to break; it is a social habit and it was a way to “unwind” on the weekends.
Refined Sugars – no more donuts, candies or sweets. I switched to dark chocolate (80% cocoa by Lindt is my favorite) in moderation to conquer my sweet tooth. Eventually, once your diet has improved, your body will no longer crave or like any intake of sugars.
Dairy – cheese and milk were eliminated. I changed to vanilla flavoured soymilk for snacks, protein shakes, and cereal. Too much dairy for me = mucus (yeck!) and clogged sinuses. Or as my friend Richard would always ask, why does it sound like you have a cold all the time? Dairy is why. [highlight]TIP: If you cannot get rid of all dairy, try switching from cow’s milk to goat’s milk products. Sometimes it helps.[/highlight]
White flour, breads and pasta – switched to whole grains, brown rice, and quinoa. Complex carbs keep you fuller longer than simple carbs and do not convert immediately to sugar.
I added the “good” foods back.
Fruits were a part of every meal or snack. It is as simple as a half an apple for a snack, or for lunch, I would often have a protein shake with raspberries/blueberries and soymilk.
Veggies, do not overcook them! When possible, I ate a lot of salads or snacked on raw veggies with hummus. If I had to cook broccoli or kale, I would steam them or blanch for 2-3 minutes. If you cook them too long, all the wonderful vitamins and minerals are gone.
Fish, tofu, beans and quinoa were my new sources of protein. Chicken in moderation and red meat became a rarity. A filet mignon from Whole Foods became a “splurge” once in a while.
Drink lots of water. I can’t emphasize this enough, drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Whenever I thought I was hungry, I would grab a glass of water first and wait a few minutes to see if my thoughts of hunger disappeared. This is the easiest way to ensure you are not overeating.
[box type=”info”]Squeeze some fresh lemon into warm water. Warm water with lemon gives your body a gentle start to the day, cleansing your digestive system. Cold water, first thing in the morning, shocks your system and stops at your stomach, causing gas or bloating. This is a new tip I learned recently from “You are What you Eat” by Dr Gillian McKeith. It works![/box]
Next in the “strange change” series: A plan to exercise
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