Today I want to talk about a few more small changes I’ve made to improve my relationship with food, overall to improve my health. To recap, this started when I gave up coffee a few months ago and replaced my morning cup with warm water, honey, and lemon. I also drink two to three cups of cool water each morning right when I wake up. Believe it or not, it does wake you up just like coffee. It’s because your body is dehydrated when you first wake up and water gets your organs and system going.
I was also afraid of giving up coffee because I felt like it served as a laxative for me each morning. But I learned that the honey and lemon mixture actually create healthy mucus that coats the intestines and help keep you regular. And yep, it does! I’ve had no problems and have actually seen improvement in my bowel movements. I won’t go into details. The information is out there for you to find for yourself. Just believe me when I say water, honey, and lemon do work!
The next habit I set out to change was breakfast. In the past, Monday through Friday I waited and ate breakfast when I got to work. This usually consisted of a chocolate or regular milk and an apple at my desk each day. Sometimes I ate oatmeal or two Pop Tarts. I also drank hot tea at my desk all day during the winter months. The problem with this is that I was usually hungry again a few hours later before lunch so I would eat a banana, some nuts, or a snack bar. Now this doesn’t sound like a bad habit, except for the chocolate milk and Pop Tarts, but it wasn’t healthy for me. Here’s why…
By eating at my desk at work, I had a habit of eating too fast and also not eating enough. That’s the reason for being hungry again later and needing a snack. Small snacks of fruit or nuts aren’t bad, but I still needed to change this habit because some days the plain old apple was just boring and I’d skip it, meaning I’d be starving for a snack later which left me vulnerable to unhealthy snacking habits.
First, you can’t skip breakfast. You have to eat it, even if you are on the go. And you need to eat it soon after waking up. You have all heard the benefits of eating breakfast and how it’s the most important meal of the day, so I’m not going to repeat all that. But I will tell you what the problem is with most of the breakfast foods you eat everyday, mine included.
They are usually loaded with sugar. Pop Tarts, jelly, donuts, sugary cereals, sugary coffee, jams, pastries. They are all full of sugar! And while they are filling and they are comfort foods and we think they make for a good breakfast, they don’t. Starting your day with all that sugar just gets processed as more fat in your body.
Amelia Freer says each breakfast should consist of a protein, a good fat, and a fruit or vegetable. Now, it’s hard for me to even do that because I don’t fill like fixing breakfast every morning. Freer also says that you should step outside your comfort zone. Just because something you eat is not typically a breakfast food, doesn’t mean you can’t have it for breakfast. As long as you eat something, you are okay. If you want salad for breakfast, or a sandwich, then do it! You don’t have to have eggs and bacon and toast. You don’t have to have cereal with fruit or oatmeal. And you certainly don’t need Pop Tarts, donuts, or pastries. Think outside the box and eat whatever you want.
I admit I’m not to that point yet, but I’m getting there. Right now I’m just trying to have breakfast every morning at home before I have to get ready for work. Right now my breakfast (on work days) consists of a bowl of cereal with whole milk – usually cheerios to help cut the sugar content. I eat this about 30 minutes after waking up and enjoy it while having my honey and lemon water. I also eat slowly rather than gulping it down like I would at my work desk. This doesn’t sound like much, but for someone who struggled to just eat something for breakfast and not gulp it down, it’s a huge step though it’s a slow one. And Freer is really big on taking things slow.
Then, I fix a smoothie to take to work which I consume at my desk. The smoothie is usually whole milk or almond milk. I add chia seeds, cacao powder, and plant based protein powder. Sometimes I add a banana. This smoothie is high in protein and also very filling so it keeps me from snacking before lunch. If I do need a snack before lunch, it’s usually unsalted nuts or a piece of fruit.
I have never been a smoothie person until just a few months ago when I acquired a Magic Bullet mixer. Rather than let it sit there on the kitchen counter barely getting used, I decided to start trying smoothies for added nutrition. I started by buying a plant based protein powder to mix with milk and a banana. Later, I added the chia seeds for more protein and fiber. Chia seeds also have high absorption qualities so they are very filling. And since I love chocolate milk, I decided to start adding cacao powder because it is rich with antioxidants. And it does work. If I have my smoothie, I don’t usually crave a snack until it’s time for lunch.
And this leads to the next part of changing my relationship with food. I used to skip lunch some times if I was too busy with work. Not anymore. I now take lunch every work day and I try to eat it every day at the same time, usually around noon. I don’t eat fast food. I pack my own lunch, and it usually consists of a variety of healthy foods and snacks and includes a vegetable or fruit and a protein.
Eating lunch prevents more unhealthy snacking in the afternoon and by eating at the same time every day, my body has time to digest which means I’m more apt to enjoy dinner later on.
I should also probably mention I also drink water all day long. Water is another way to cure those unwanted hunger pains, lose weight, and keep your body hydrated.
So, there you have it. Like I said, it’s a slow process. It’s all about changing one habit at a time and overall changing it to a healthy habit which is changing your relationship with food. And I’m well on my way to doing that. I’m by no means a professional. I fully admit I haven’t lost any weight by doing this (yet). But you have to do what feels right for you and what will make you feel better about the foods you eat.
What healthy habits are you doing this year? More of mine to follow in the next post!