So I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I have struggled to keep up with the Gigi Hadids of the world, and struggled, especially after having my kids, to keep my physique in tip top shape. By struggled, I mean I spent little to no time getting my health in order. If struggle was a bus, it ran me over and left me for the wolves. You get the picture. There were many mornings I felt the anxiety of pretending I didn’t seen the giant elephant in my bathroom that is the scale. I’ve tried every diet in the book, but always fell back into old habits after the diet was over and I’ve realized, I don’t like protein shakes, or green juice, or yoga, or following restrictive diets. I can’t fit myself into those new cool fad boxes. After having two kids, I just don’t have the time for “sprint to the finish” diets. I wanted to make a change for the long haul and for my quality of life, and for the love of the Lord Almighty, I wanted to eat food I LIKED. So I decided that I’m going to just be healthy and help nourish my body the way I should, the way that works for me.
I wanted to show you a peek into my little journey here and maybe you’d like to join me! I figured that if this could help any one person out there like it has helped me so far, then I want to share it. I do need to preface that I’m not a doctor nor am I a nutritionist, and the things I’m about to list may work for you, and they may not. Also, I am NOT coming at this like I’m an expert on this topic by any stretch of the imagination and am still very much so working on this myself. Ok so now that we’ve established I’m not a professional, let’s move on to my tips.
- I don't live and die by the scale. I’ve noticed that my progress is not always seen on the scale. It only measures one small part of my journey and it's easy for me to see a number, get discouraged and give up. It’s it so weird how a little (or big) number has so much power? I decided to stop giving it power. Non-scale victories help me see my progression in a different way than just numbers. Celebrating the small things like not binging on bad food, congratulating myself on a healthy eating day/week/month, or feeling my pants fit a little better really help me to stay motivated and encouraged. “Keep at it! You’re doing great!”, I say to myself.
- I gave up sugar. And gluten, and most dairy. This may not be an issue for some people, but for me, sugar is like an addiction. Once I eat it, it doesn’t fulfill me, I want more and more and more, and it’s hard to stop eating it. But I’ve noticed that when I eat sugar, my body aches (because sugar is inflammatory), I get horrible headaches, my anxiety is off the charts, my face starts to break out, I have a foggy brain, I bloat, I pack on weight, I sleep terribly, I have sinus congestion… you name it. I also gave up gluten and dairy for similar reasons. My body doesn’t like them. This was pretty difficult the first week (or first three days or so), but after that, I feel like a fog has been lifted and my body and brain are working like they were intended to. I also no longer have crazy cravings for bad food. You should try it! Give it 3 days and you’ll see what I mean!
- I don’t over eat when what I’m eating is healthy. Portion control has always been hard for me. I tend to eat huge meals, skip other meals, and snack on Reese Cups, but I have noticed that when I’m eating healthy food for every meal, I never eat more than I need. Not sure if this is a mental thing where I realize it’s not as enjoyable to eat broccoli as it is a piece of birthday cake but I’m good as soon as I feel full (not stuffed). I don’t feel shame or guilt for eating too much and it’s a very freeing feeling. Thank you Jesus!
- I force myself to drink a lot of water. We all know we should be drinking at least 80 oz. of water a day or more and I always used to roll my eyes at this until I noticed what my water intake was doing to my skin. My skin looks TERRIBLE when I’m dehydrated. It makes my pores look huge, my make up just sits on my skin, and I look really aged. It might be vain but it helped me get my water act together and drink up.
- I try to get restorative sleep. I’m a mom of 6 month old, and sleep is hard to come by in 8 hour doses, so I strive for restorative sleep. Restorative sleep is deep sleep and REM sleep. How do you help yourself get restorative sleep? Exercise, staying away from alcohol and caffeine, and I take magnesium which helps me sleep deeper.
- I try to alkalize my body. Your body can get very acidic and in turn it’ll steal nutrients from your bones to level your pH back out. I start my day with a glass of water with lemon, and throughout the day if I’m feeling zesty. I exercise which helps move acidic waste out of the body. Green is good! I try to eat a lot of nutrient rich, green food like kale and spinach, and I stay far away from sugar.
- I don’t eat Nightshades. This one is a little controversial because some say they are inflammatory and poisonous for your body, and some say they are not. I don’t know if they are or are not in general, but I’ve noticed when I eat tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, I bloat, I’m really tired, and my body is very achey. So, this may be a more personal opinion than a general rule. But it’s always good to listen to your body and decide for yourself.
- I still eat fat. Ew, that was very weird for me to type. High fat doesn’t not always mean “bad for you”. Avocado, macadamia nuts, coconut oil, grass fed butters, olive oil, grass fed meats, ghee, eggs, dark chocolate (yes! I still eat chocolate! I go for 86% and low sugar. I also only eat 2 squares at a time) and chia seeds are all staples in my diet.
- I generally eat whole foods. I tend to complicate things by overthinking them or fear that I’m not doing something right with different diets I’ve tried. If it gets too complicated, it’s very very easy for me to give up right away because, to be honest, sometimes I’m looking for a way out. So with healthy eating I decided I was going to make it easy on myself by saying, “Just eat real food.” What I mean by this is I eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies, salads, and hardly do any processed food. It helps me keep it simple and I don’t waste time looking at the nutrition facts on the back of boxes. Breakfast? Eggs. Snacks? Grab some macadamia nuts or a handful of strawberries. Dinner? A sweet potato sounds yummy.
- I exercise with my sister at a boot camp class. I’ll be honest, the first class I went to, it’s like my body went into shock and I almost passed out. And even now, I still struggle to get through the whole class without switching to lighter weights or stopping for a break, BUT I have found that if I don’t have the accountability of my sister or other classmates, I won’t work out on my own. I push myself harder when I’m there and after 3 months, I feel my muscles making a little come back (yay!) I still have a ways to go, but I definitely suggest grabbing a buddy and taking a class. I never regret a workout and it’s always more fun with friends.
- And lastly, I give myself grace. I don’t beat myself up... anymore. I’ll be honest, I used to. It was a constant internal narrative I’d play back to myself like it was on repeat. “You’ll never look good enough. You’re doing a horrible job at this. It’s no use. Might as well give up and eat a cookie to drown your sorrows.” I’m being dramatic, but how sad right? That’s no way to live. I got tired of being defeated and the victim of myself and decided to be nice to myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m not going to expect to transform into my best self overnight. And in the meantime, I’m going to stick with it, praise God for a healthy body, and tell myself job well done.
I’ve realized I’m stronger than I think, and some days I do better than others. But those mental mountains that tend to overwhelm me are actually mole hills, and in this case it’s actually easier to be healthy than I thought! If you try any of these or have any healthy tips you love, leave a comment below!
Thank you for posting this!! I had my second kiddo 4 months ago and I know I need to give myself some slack but it is hard!! Fantastic tips!! Sugar is the enemy!!
Whitney, I have experienced a lot of the things you mention with my diet. You are doing the right things. I do drink a protein shake with fruit and spinach every am, drink lots of water, stay away from too much sugar, gluten, no fast food or food with onions or garlic in it, no soda for over 3 years and anything else that I know bothers my stomach and I exercise at least 3 x’s per week. You are doing the right things as you are finding out. I do however weigh every day because I need to know!! Lol! Honestly, it helps me to keep an eye on my weight. I do not want to gain back the 40 lbs I lost. I love dark chocolate especially Endangered Species dark chocolate with hazelnut toffee in it! In fact I do not even like milk chocolate anymore. Tastes awful to me. So keep up the good work. It’s worth it!! Don’t let anyone question your dietary choices! You are making good choices for you!!