I began my “healthy eating journey” in 8th grade. As an insecure and slightly overweight middle-schooler, my main goal was to lose weight through dieting. I practiced unsustainable and unenjoyable methods of being “healthy,” which led me to fall back into my unhealthy habits and eating patterns very quickly. Later on, I found what would be the true keys to my healthy eating success: knowledge and mindset. Through social media, books, documentaries, and articles, I learned as much as I could about what to eat and what not to eat, as well as recipes and other tips and tricks to eating healthily. This allowed me to create meals for myself that would supply the necessary nutrients as well as keep me full for hours. I also had to change my mindset. Rather than simply going on a short diet to lose weight, I decided I wanted to change my habits and lifestyle long-term so that I can live a long and healthy life. This mindset change led me to eat food that is both healthy and tasty, as opposed to the bland and low-calorie foods I was trying to eat before. I also now allow myself to eat unhealthy desserts and snacks without guilt to avoid developing cravings and a bad relationship with food. These factors allowed me to truly begin my healthy eating journey at the beginning of 2019.
To me and many others, healthy eating is all about balance. Balancing my macronutrients at every meal, balancing the calories I consume and expend, balancing my healthy meals with the less healthy meals and snacks I occasionally eat for enjoyment. I believe that a healthy lifestyle is just eating and doing what makes a person feel the best: eating healthy without depriving oneself of diverse and delicious meals, as well as doing enjoyable exercises which don’t feel like a chore. Creating a healthy relationship with nutritious foods and exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The most impactful healthy habit I have is focusing every meal around vegetables. At first, I began by adding a portion of vegetables to every meal. Soon, I found that the more plant matter I consumed, the better I felt. My mindset shifted from having meat at every meal to only consuming meat once in a while. Another healthy habit that I’ve adopted is cooking my own food for most meals. This allows me to modify recipes to create healthier versions, and I have been able to make my favorite dishes and snacks more nutritious. By cooking my own food with whole and mostly plant-based ingredients, I avoid a lot of processed foods which are often filled with sugar, sodium, and bad fats.
One healthy habit I am trying to form is exercising regularly. Although this slightly strays away from WAHM’s message of healthy eating, exercise is also an integral aspect of a healthy lifestyle. I definitely do not exercise enough for a few reasons: I struggle to find the time to work out, I don’t particularly enjoy many of the forms of exercise I’ve tried, and I often just forget to do it. I’m planning on developing this healthy habit by creating dedicated times in my schedule to exercise and setting reminders so that I don’t forget. I’m also trying to do more of the exercises that I actually enjoy and finding ways to enjoy the ones I don’t. I’m also trying to develop the habit of snacking less. I have found that after starting to eat more healthily, I’ve already begun snacking less and more mindfully, however, it is still a problem in my life. This is difficult as I always snack when I’m bored, which is very often. I’ve been combatting this by drinking more water, tea, and black coffee to trick my mind into thinking I’m fuller than I actually am. I’ve also been buying and making healthier snacks for when I actually am hungry between meals.
These are just a few of the aspects of my healthy eating journey so far. Stay updated on WAHM to learn more about how you can begin your own healthy eating journey!