Let me break down my personal journey from around mid-March to mid-April of this year.
Before the pandemic, I was going to the gym five to six times per week for an hour, walking a 5K outside daily, and tracking my food to ensure I got about 200 grams of protein and 2,500 calories per day. I went from that to working out at home at best two times per week for a while. Nowadays, I’m working out at home regularly again, but the transition took time. However, I’ve stopped tracking my food and I finished a 4.5-pound bag of chocolate chips in a month’s time frame.
You could say things are skewed off the rails a bit.
So I’m not here to tell you to get on a meal plan, to track your calories, or to ditch the unhealthy foods. That is not what I’m here to do. You don’t need to have a complicated food diet or anything like that. In the video above, I share an easy and guilt-free way to eat better that’s been really helpful for me when it comes to food during this transitional time.
And that is focusing on one healthy food or meal that I can eat each day, while allowing myself to bake chocolate chip cookies late at night when that feels appropriate.
Fitting in at least one healthy meal a day is a simple way to eat better and help you feel better about your health.
Lessening The Pressure To Eat Better
Whenever people talk about “eating better,” they almost always associate it with intense dieting, meal planning, and calorie counting. I’m not in the business of telling you how you should live your life or how you should eat. In fact, I’d like to lessen the pressure to eat better.
Dieticians have found that separating food into black and white categories can be detrimental as it can result in feeling bad about ourselves when we don’t adhere to those standards. No single food by itself is terrible for you. It’s when there is an excess of certain food choices that are repeated frequently that it can become worse. Eating nothing but pizza every day can be just as detrimental as eating nothing but kale salads. In my view, as long as you’re balancing what you eat in moderate amounts throughout the day and week, then you can eat pretty much whatever you want.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is really no such thing as “bad food” or “good food.” Sure, some foods are less nutritious than others, but aside from food allergies or known toxins, they aren’t good or bad.
A Few Suggestions To Consider
Here are some suggestions that could help to lessen the pressure to eat better, while still making positive progress.
One simple way would be to switch to using smaller plates. By eating on a smaller plate, there looks to be more food visually. This is a way to manage portions by default without thinking too much about it.
Another way to eat better would be to try out a new healthy recipe every week or so. It’s a fun way to learn and try out some recipes that maybe you wouldn’t have otherwise. There are plenty of healthy and delicious recipes out there that incorporate veggies and protein.
By lessening the pressure to eat better and keeping it simple, we can take small steps towards more healthful eating.
This is the last post in the series, This Can Help, about the little things we can do during times of greater uncertainty.