I wouldn’t call myself a yo-yo dieter, but I definitely get on kicks where I choose to severely cut back on what I eat to get my body back on track. I’m not saying cut back in the amount of food I eat, it’s more about the types of food that I allow myself to eat.
I’ve told you about my two 21-day cleanses, my paleo challenge (which lasted less than a week), and my sugar detox. But scattered in between those have been other forms of “diets” that I’ve tested out.
You see, like most normal people, I have my vices. I love chocolate. I love tortilla chips. I love popcorn. I basically love anything carby and sweet. Go figure, right?
But those foods can throw me out of whack, make me feel like I’m blowing up like a balloon, and gain weight. And that’s never fun, for anyone. I know that when my jeans start getting tighter and pinch my waist in an uncomfortable way, that it’s time to reel it back in and get back on track.
The problem is…the changes that I make in my diet are always quite drastic and aren’t something I can actually stick with long-term. Hence, I fall of the wagon again and go right back to where I started. It’s a cycle and I’ve been doing it since I was in college. I gain a few pounds, lose a few pounds, only to gain them back a couple weeks later.
So I guess the real question is: how do you make it stick?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years and until recently I didn’t know the answer. Now what I’m about to tell you is pretty much just common sense, but for me it feels like a mini-breakthrough.
In order to get your healthy habits to stick, they have to be three of these things:
- Realistic. They have to be something that you can physically and mentally do. For example, when we went paleo for a week it meant no quinoa. Umm…hello? Not possible. We failed. You get the picture.
- Sustainable. For me, I love fruit. When I went on my sugar detox and stopped eating fruit, I was sad. Not that I craved it, but truly I wanted to cry thinking about living a life without fruit. Again, not doable.
- Enjoyable. Food makes people happy; that’s a simple fact of life. And if you’re eating foods that you absolutely despise or you are restricting yourself from foods that you adore, it will make you unhappy. In order for you to make lasting change, it needs to be something that brings you joy.
And for me? I’ve finally found a lifestyle that seems to be working.
What am I doing that’s made a difference?
First, I’m juicing daily. I talked about this in my last post, but I wake up and have a juice every morning. It’s a great way to start my day, it gives my digestion system more time to kick in, and I’m filling my bodies with loads of nutrients. I’m loving it.
Second, I’m eating less grains. Where I used to have some form of grain at every meal, now I’m limiting that to just one meal per day. And yes, this includes quinoa. So if I make a quinoa porridge in the morning, I’ll won’t have grains for the rest of the day. Same goes for lunch and dinner.
Third, I’m eating less meat. This has been an interesting change for me. It wasn’t something that I really planned on doing, or even thought much about, I just started incorporating beans and other plant-based proteins into my meals instead of chicken or turkey or seafood.
I’m not vegan, nor am I vegetarian, basically I’m just eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
And I feel awesome.
I’ve been eating this way for about two weeks, and while I’ve probably only lost a few pounds, I truly feel like for the first time in my life, I’ve changed my mindset. I’m looking at my meals differently now. I’m being more mindful in my snacking. And honestly, I’m not really thinking about it. That’s the best part. I’m not trying all that hard; it’s just coming naturally.
Today’s recipe is a great example of the meals I’ve been preparing. I actually had this quinoa bowl twice last week – once for lunch and once for dinner. Both times, it was super filling but also incredibly healthy. I loaded it up with superfoods – beets, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, avocado and quinoa – and then added in some tasty plant-based protein sources like paprika dusted chickpeas, hummus and a creamy cashew dressing.
100% vegan. 100% gluten-free. 100% delicious.
So…now I want to turn this back to you. I’m sharing this story not to encourage you to follow exactly what I’m doing, but because I want you to feel inspired to find your own path. I want you to remember that you even if you go on diet after diet, if you don’t listen, and I mean really listen, to your body, it won’t be something you can maintain long-term. It won’t make you happy; it will end up causing you more tears and more deprivation.
And that is not what life is about.
- 1 cup sweet potato, cut into 1" pieces
- ½ cup beets, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 cups kale
- ⅔ cup chickpeas
- ¼ of an avocado, sliced
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons hummus
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cashew dressing (see recipe here)
- Add sweet potatoes and beets to a steamer basket and steam until almost fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli and kale and steam until everything is cooked, another 2 - 3 minutes.
- While vegetables are cooking, toss chickpeas with paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Transfer vegetables to a plate or large bowl and arrange as desired. Add quinoa, chickpeas, avocado and hummus to the plate.
- Drizzle with cashew dressing, toss together and enjoy!