The words Lifestyle Change may be confusing for many of you!
Do you know what Lifestyle Change means to you? It may mean something different to each of you reading this post. But if you do not know what it means to you and how it affects your life, how do you go about making the so called Lifestyle Change Transformation?
So firstly, write down what Lifestyle change means to you?
Lifestyle change can mean different things to each person, it could be to better your nutrition, exercise more, make a change to a plant based diet, remove all chemicals from the house ( make up, food, cleaning supplies), clean up your pantry, improve your emotional health, avoiding processed foods etc. As you can see each person may be in a different stage in their life and may be addressing one or more of the above, to improve their lifestyle.
As I am in the food industry and deal with many of you following different diets, I am going to talk to you a bit more about Lifestyle Change in relation to your food, pantry, nutrition.
As women of the house, I believe we hold the cards, not only to our health but also the health and wellness of our family members (hubby, kids). Do you remember the times when you were a kid and you fell sick? I do! I remember mum staying up all hours of the day, making sure medication was taken on time, temp was checked, that it was hydrated etc. So yes we women (mum's) play a vital role in the family's well being.
A question I get asked often is how do I go about this lifestyle change? What do I need to do? How do i get myself out of this yo-yo dieting? How do I stop myself going back to my old binge-ways? How do I stop emotional eating?
I am no expert! But I have had these questions run through my mind in previous years and I will try my very best to tell you everything I have done to change my ways. Are you ready for a Lifestyle change?
1. What does this lifestyle change mean to you and your family?
My first step was discussing with my hubby, how important this change was to me/us. I was not happy with how I felt or looked. I couldn't find anything in my wardrobe that fit. I was starting to have to take medications for pain etc after doing simple chores around the house. I was lacking energy. Hubby wasn't too bad. But I realised if we continued this way, he wasn't going to be too far behind me either. It wasn't good enough for me to only make healthy meals for myself, while my hubby was allowed to eat whatever he wanted. Eventually the bad food habits was going to take a toll on him as well.
I asked myself why is something that is not good enough for me to eat, okay to feed my hubby. Is health and wellness not my concern? What would be the point of me looking smoking hot, if I had an unhealthy hubby or shortened his life span, cause I didn't care enough to make him change his diet too.
This was my first eye opening moment. When I realised that I was responsible not only for my health and wellness but also of my families.
The same applies to you, you may think that its unfair that its just you struggling and battling through your weight and that you need to force yourself to eat healthy while you feel your family enjoys all the good stuff. When I say good stuff, I mean all the packaged food like chocolate, chips, pastries etc that you think you are missing out on. But think about if this junk food is any good for them. Young bodies are invincible but its as we get older that the cracks start to show, by then we have cultivated in ourselves and our kids some habits that are mighty hard to change.
2. Identify the habits you want to change.
Once we had decided that we were going to make an effort to change our ways. We discussed how we were going to do this.
a. Was to only shop with a shopping list - so not to buy anything that wasn't on the shopping list. So no adding extras in to the cart when we walked through the aisles.
b. we decided not to buy any packaged foods to snack on - if we wanted a snack we could use the fruits in the fruit basket. So yes we purchased some extra fruits
c. we decided to shop once a fortnight for pantry items, cleaning products, toiletries and meat and veges we shopped weekly.
d. we ditched all soft drinks. we bought ourselves a soda maker for some bubbles
e. meal planning was now essential. so even if you don't write down exactly what dish you were creating. I would work out how much meat/eggs etc we would need for our meals and buy accordingly.
f. I cleaned up my fridge and pantry. We decided we wanted to eat real food, fresh food. We wanted to eat food in its real form. We watched " That Sugar Film" on Netflix and we also decided that our pantry was going to be a sugar, additive and preservative free pantry and hence we familiarized ourselves with brands that were sugar free and we only purchased those brands. Knowing my brands made future shopping faster and easier.
I only have limited items in my pantry and fridge, that I use in all my cooking. I change this for no one. I am confident, that anyone visiting me, is being fed a healthy nutritious meal.
Tomatoes- I only use whole tomatoes and passatta sauce from Aldi
Sugar- Only use Stevia, Erythritol and Xylitol
Salt- Pink Himalayan Salt
Fountain Sugar Free Tomato Sauce
Fountain Sugar Free BBQ Sauce
Heinz Sugar Free Mustard
Holbrooks Worcestershire sauce
Squid Fish Sauce
Tamari Soy Sauce
Vinegar, White wine vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar
Choula Hot sauce and Franks Hot sauce
Spices - I use my spice kits and Aldi Curry powder for when I am after a curry powder
Fresh Crushed Garlic, Ginger and Chili
We realised that everything we needed in the shops were on the outside aisles. The internal aisles had all the processed foods.
To save yourself the hassle, you could also shop online and avoid the temptations in the aisles.
g. We eliminated all processed carbs like rice and pasta etc and swapped it to vegetables. If you have kids, you can always swap to a healthier alternative like brown rice etc
3. Remove Triggers- Work on changing your snacking habits.
Snacking is like a devil sitting on your shoulder. Many people try and look for snack alternatives, you will be better off trying to train yourself to avoid snacking or go without a snack. Even if you go without a snack for 4 days out of 7 you are winning. But don't buy and keep snacks handy for when you need them, as it doesn't give you the opportunity to change your ways as you know its there.
If your going on a road trip, leave your snacks behind, if you really feel hungry you could stop and pick up a fruit, also an opportunity to stretch your legs. But remember how I said bad habits die hard, you probably remember as a child, your parents packing you into the car and packing snacks for the road trip. While in reality back in the day, your parents probably did it, because they couldn't afford to spend the extra $$ on snacks at premium price at a service station. I think today we are much better off financially than our parents, but we tend to snack more out of boredom.
I still remember the first time we went to the movies and decided not to buy any drinks or pop corn from the candy bar. The first 20 minutes killed us, but by the time we walked out of the movie, we didn't feel like we missed out on anything. Today when I think about it, I can say that making those few tough choices have paid off. Not only mentally, but also on our family budget.
You may also find beneficial changing the snacking habits of your children, so instead of opening a packet of chips or biscuits after school everyday, you could alternate it with having some boiled eggs, celery sticks or carrot sticks in the fridge handy for the kids. What I am trying to say is that if your trying to lead by example and teach your kids to eat and live healthy, you cant cook them sausage rolls, while you look miserable chomping on a celery stick. They need to be in it with you. While you may not be able to deny the kids something they are used to everyday, you could alternate it, till they are ready to change as well.
Snacking out of boredom is a habit that I am happy to say that we have well and truly broken now.
These days, if want a snack, I might have 5 to 10 Brazil nuts.
4. Take baby steps - Cheat meals
If you need to schedule a cheat meal once a week for your family, where its a free pass to eat anything you like, But just over one meal, not the whole day. Ideally best to do it on a Sunday evening, as when Monday comes around, you are back into a routine. As time passes you will notice that this cheat meal you look forward to, is no longer enticing or appetising in any way. You will not be able to change a 100% over night, but as long as your making small changes, you will look back in 2 years time and think WOW, It worked!
5. Choose something to replace the unhealthy habit- Keeping yourself occupied
Find something to keep you and your family occupied. It could be a nightly family walk. Or a family work out on the sat and Sunday. Make it fun, so the kids get involved too. As a young couple, I found that we did a lot of bonding over food. Everything we did revolved around food. Having identified that issue, we made a conscious effort to change. We started looking for ways to build our relationship that didn't involve food. We started playing board games, cards, we worked on our garden, we started walking and exercising together. We feel so much better for it now. We always felt so over fed when we bonded over food, so full that we could barely move and lacked energy to do anything.
The changes above are what helped me. It did not happen over night. It has taken about 2 years, to consciously work through all my bad habits. I have also spent a lot of time to educate myself. Sometimes i have had to make sacrifices in some areas, to make something that is healthy more affordable. As eating healthy unfortunately can be expensive.
Lifestyle change is a process that takes time and effort. Once you're ready to make a change, commit to it a 100% and follow through. Don't make excuses. You don't decide to compete in the Olympics and expect to WIN overnight, Athletes train for years on end to WIN. This is the same. You set your own personal best. Make a plan that is suitable for you and your family and plan for success. Take things one step at a time.
Hope this article is of help to some of you.