I’ve always considered myself to be a healthy person.
I haven’t really ever been one to gorge myself, or eat nothing but ice cream and chocolate with nothing else for days. Now, I wasn’t trying to lose 50 lbs or be the next biggest loser, no. However, I do strive to be healthy. For me that means feeling good. Energized and ready for every day feeling good. Sleeping well, actually waking up. I had felt this before, (when I was a teenager and in my early 20s) and I wanted it again.
After the birth of my daughter, I was really struggling to have the tone body that I was looking for, as I think many mommies can relate. That strong confidence that comes from feeling great as well as looking great.
I wasn’t being unrealistic about my goals. But I just had that little extra everywhere that my body seemed to be keeping a hold of, but WHY?!?
It wasn’t punishment from above, so it had to be something I was/wasn’t doing.
I thought maybe it’s what I am eating.
So I changed my diet.
I started by cutting out meat products.
Then changed to dairy-free to see if that helped.
Then more raw veggies.
Then I had had it.
I broke down and contacted a personal trainer…I had a huge stigma about this.
I didn’t want a macho man who told me “life is pain!” I was apprehensive, to say the least.
So I searched and searched and I finally found the one people!
He is great, Marcus is his name. Super funny, super respectful, and not some dumb macho man personal trainer. Marcus knew his stuff when it came to working out, but he also knew nutrition. How and what and when to eat that was custom tailored to me!
Impressed by my strength and flexibility he asked me to keep a food journal.
This was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. Telling someone else everything that went into my body for the purpose of being judged….Oh M Goodness stress. But I did it and I am so glad that I did. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t.
Upon his assessment, I thought I was going to get an, “Oh you’re eating to much of this or that” or just eating to much in general.
To my surprise, I wasn’t eating enough.
Not enough, ok you have my curiosity, I was riveted.
And I wasn’t eating right.
It wasn’t what I was eating it was HOW I was eating! Who knew? (other than Marcus, right!)
I was informed that I was eating in a week what I should be eating in a day and a half!.
I was unknowingly keeping my body in this starvation mode.
A scary realization to say the least.
This meant that any of the carbs I was eating, my body was desperately holding and storing. Not really knowing when it was going to eat next, was keeping the extra everywhere, like a seal.
The less I ate to try to combat this before was only making things worse.
I had my marching orders,
Eat more and (the big one) how to eat.
Let me clear one thing up in regards to the word “DIET”
Now a diet, is only what you eat, and in my case at what time of my day.
Diet does not mean you have to take all the things away from yourself and eat terribly gross health food that tastes terrible.
Rant **And for those of you who have this notion that when someone says they are on the diet, you should somehow feel sorry for this person, saying things like “Oh, too bad” or ‘help’ them try to break it. Please, from all of us, STOP IT! A person who is looking at what goes into their body cares about themselves.
Food shaming people, especially toward girls, has to stop. No more “Oh you eat like a bird.” or “Are you eating for two?”.
Not only is it not your business how much someone else is eating, but seriously don’t comment on it, this can cause, health problems, later. **
Creating A Healthy Diet
Dieting is all about knowing YOUR body. I had to learn how to start eating healthy.
Only you know how you feel from the inside out, and let’s face it, you better be kind to yourself. It is the only person you will live with forever. There are many benefits to eating healthy, but maybe different depending on the individual.
So for my diet, it was a matter of upping my calories to 2500-3000/day. It was also a matter of what I ate when. So really there are two rules.
Molly’s Two Rules for Dieting
Rule number one, no eating anything 3 hours before you go to bed. For myself personally I get away with 2.5 before bed, or I find myself feeling shaky and unwell.
Rule number 2: You can have carbohydrates, (the pasta and breads) from the time you wake up, to get those great sugars jump starting your day, but then stop eating them 9-10 hours before you are going to bed.
The biggest change for me was this rule number 2. I switched all of my planned pastas and saucy entrés to the lunchtime and things have been going great.
Of course, on top of these two big rules I don’t generally eat straight refined/processed sugar. I have also taken out any white carb even when I do have carbs. Potatoes are one of the most versatile and affordable root veggies, however they have more “sugars” in them than table sugar. You are better off getting the milkshake over the fries! It will spike you higher with a more brutal crash. This was an eye-opener for me as well as many other root vegetables I so loved for supper.
Buying Healthy Food on a Budget
Now, many of the criticisms toward my actions are really toward budget and planning jealousy.
I hear all of the time. Oh I can’t buy “healthy” food it’s too expensive.
I know eating healthy on a budget is down right difficult, but here are some helpful tips that keep my family full and healthy.
Lesson 1: Farmer’s Markets
Learn your farmer’s markets. I am serious about this, and better yet, get to know your favorite farmers market farmers, table salesperson. This will keep you informed as to all the new and upcoming crops. I also ask around for bulk discounts, especially on seasonal goods.
If it is tomato season the one thing farmers are trying to do is get rid of their tomatoes before they go bad. This is time to let you bargaining skills shine. Go make a deal to buy them out at the end of the day. You pay less and they take home 0 tomatoes, a win win really. This means you get the best deal through the year. Now go home and have a tomato storing party. Especially tomatoes, can be made and stored using many different methods. This allows your savings to last all year.
Lesson 2: Growing Your Food
Anyone can grow their own food.
Anyone, unless you are underground so deep Amazon can’t even get you, you can do it.
Now, I am not saying that everyone can grow enough to take their food costs to zero. But you can curb your health and budget by simply having a few veggies in planter containers. Inside or out, you can have your own salad right from your yard, deck, patio, or window. If need be, you can always invest in the daylight bulbs which can add to your sun poor studio apt with a great view of a wall.
Growing your own food can be quite rewarding, check out these great gardening books and you can start your own garden. Once your garden is producing you can begin the fun experiments of storing your harvest. Check out these books we recommend for saving your crops (Canning, Freezing, Food Storage).
Lesson 3: Couponing
Couponing, I know to some it is silly, but if I coupon for my pantry items, it leaves more spending for the fruits and veggies. That’s just the plain and simple fact for this family.
Lesson 4: Left Overs
It has come to my attention that there are people out there who do not keep leftovers at all.
This, in my house, would be a cardinal sin.
First of all, you would have to accept the waste associated with gathering and utilizing the ingredients for cooking. These are two things I don’t think I can do morally. I highly recommend to get some great oven safe, microwave safe, save-ware. I love the glass bottom with the click to lock tops. They are the best for not only storage, but also for serving and reheating, truly a must.
All of us out there can relate to finding it difficult enough to just feed ourselves day to day while still feeling productive. I have found this to be amplified with having a family to plan for and feed. While it can be easy to eat well on the run, there are ways around it.
The two things I found that I couldn’t live (and keep my sanity) without,
Crockpot meals and snacking packs (made ahead of time for the week). These two are sanity savers
I am not an avid cook by any means, and honestly I don’t really like it very much.
But I do understand that taking care of, not only my family but, myself is very important to my family’s overall health.
This concept of taking care of yourself can be hard for moms.
We are often shamed and referred to as selfish if we take a day for ourselves.
It’s as if people can only imagine women taking care of children solely, and that’s just not very natural at all. Realizing that you as a mom, are incredibly integral in their homes can take some time but it will always be true. You are the Mom, and if you are not being taken care of then how can you do your best to take care of those around you, so please love yourselves.
Lastly I am a huge believer, as is my beautifully amazing chef of a husband, in the ALL FOOD you eat should taste good, concept.
Now really, my husband is not a trained chef by any means, but boy howdy could he be in a heartbeat.
He comes up with meals on the fly with, what I regularly feel, is absolutely nothing in the kitchen.
Since these massive diet shifts, things have gotten a little more creative in the kitchen, but dare I say even more delicious.
If you are one of those out there that thinks Vegan, Sugar-Free, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free are “Bad Words”, then I feel sorry that you have never had a good version of these types of food.
If you consider that an apple is a vegan option you can quickly see that good food is a matter of searching, but it is out there no matter what your dietary needs.
Throughout this health journey of mine, and really ours (#hessosupportive) the hubby has been kind enough to let me attack him with my Iphone camera like paparazzi to his food. This allows me to share his recipes right here with you all.
My absolute favorite thing he makes is a vegetarian dish with chickpeas and tzatziki sauce, too good!
No matter what your health goals, no matter how big or impossible they may seem you can never get to the end if you do not begin. Failing may happen. Get up and keep going. Do not think of it as beginning a new think of it as, “I CAN Continue!”.
Keep going, and one day you will wake up to a whole new you.
Until next time,