As everyone knows I have developed a HUGE passion for eating a healthy diet. I only ever put things in my body that nourish it. Over the last year food and fitness has been a crucial part of my life.

This blog post has been designed to help you take control of your eating habits and start making more mindful decisions. The first and most important myth that is out there to understand that no food is ‘bad’. Yes, some food should be eaten less frequently than others for health reasons, but that does not make it bad. Which in turn, should not make you feel ‘bad’ or guilty for eating it. Beating yourself up for eating something will simply lead to negative associations to food. Yes, food is your fuel, but it should also be something you enjoy and not used as a stick to beat yourself with!

With that being said, at times what we eat can go against what we want to achieve, for example having a calorie deficit, calorie surplus, getting more healthy or to feel happier. We do need to look at what we are eating, but also at how much and how often we are eating it. There are excellent resources out there and one which is amazing is My Fitness Pal where you can set personal goals and track what you are eating.

Setting your intention to eat healthily is a great place to start. Like all changes you want to make, it starts in your mind and then shows in your decisions and actions. Actions definitely speak louder than words. Writing your goal down clearly and concisely allows you to be precise about what you want to achieve and by when.

After you have set your goal you need to find out what your weekly eating and drinking habits look like. Again, My Fitness Pal is amazing for this or you can write this down in your Notepad.  It’s also a good idea to note the time that you are eating and to use one word (for example happy, bored, depressed, tired) to describe how you are feeling at that moment. The key is to be HONEST!

You also should ask yourself questions –

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

How hungry was I?
Remember hunger is felt in the stomach and a craving is felt in the head.
Are you eating out of boredom?
Aside from hunger, what emotion was I feeling?
Why do you choose to eat certain foods?
Does your period play a role in some of the foods you choose to eat?
Was I rushed when I chose my meal?

Once you are more aware of what is currently happening it is clearer to see where you can start to make changes. One of the key things to maintaining a healthy diet is knowledge. It is important you do not deprive the body of key things that it needs. Macro-nutrients – which are fats, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Also you need to ensure that your body is getting the correct micro nutrients – so the correct minerals and vitamins. All of this can be found in food.

The Eatwell Guide below is a key place to start to show exactly what you should be eating.

Another way to eat better is to meal plan regularly. Invest in great kitchen devices such as a steamer, juicer and a Nutri-Bullet.

If you keep healthy meals in your fridge, you will eat them. Increasing the options of healthy food in your house will help you make the right choices you need in order to reach your goal.

Also prepare a shopping list and shopping from a list means you buy only what you need and can stop those impulse purchases we all get.

Meal planning and prepping meals in advance means you don’t have the worry of what to make every night. Set aside a few hours to prepare meals for the next three days and then you don’t have to worry. Batch cooking when you have time gives you back-up healthy frozen meal options for those nights when it’s not possible (or desirable!) to cook.

Eating healthily does not mean cutting out all the food you love. All it means is you may need to make some tweaks, such as: swap white breads, bagels and muffins for wholegrain varieties, swap white pasta and rice for wholegrain varieties, swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate, swap fizzy drinks for soda water with fresh mint, lemon or lime juice. Remember, small changes can add up to make a big overall difference to your diet. Also a key thing to remember here is that healthy food keeps you fuller for longer as the body has to process all of the nutrients so you won’t overeat. However, if you do not eat a healthy diet you will be hungrier as that food does not have nutritional value so will process it quickly.

Making changes to your diet does not mean you have to stop going out socially. With just a little bit of thought you can enjoy going out, have fun and still achieve your goal. A little tip Maya has is eat something beforehand so you do not over indulge when you are at the restaurant. Also avoid fizzy drinks and understand the menu. Remember, just because something is there doesn’t mean you have to have it! The ‘joy’ of seeing all the food on offer and eating it will only last 5 minutes. However, the joy of feeling healthy, full of energy and focused on your goals will last for a lot, lot longer.

WHY ARE GOALS IMPORTANT? Having a goal gives you something clear to aim for. Not only is it important to set yourself goals, it is also important to write them down and keep returning to them. You may, or may not, have heard of SMART goal setting before, but SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed.

For example:

Specific: I want to include 3 vegetables in my diet a day

Measurable: I will write down every-day how many vegetables I have eaten

Achievable: This is achievable as I can include one vegetable in my breakfast, lunch and dinner

Realistic: This is realistic as I can include a vegetable in my smoothie, with a salad at lunch and steamed for dinner

Time-bound: I will do this for three month until it becomes my reality

Big big love,

Maya xxxxxxx