As a health coach who helps people change their unwanted habits with food, I’ve realized that when something makes us happy, we are more likely to stick with it long term. I’m talking 3-5 years. That’s why it’s so crucial to put the fun back into healthy eating!
Many people begin eating healthily for all the wrong reasons. We want to somehow change our body size, shape or weight. We think that this change will happen if we become restrictive with food groups and cut back on calories and fat.
Most of the time we lose a little weight initially. That’s the easy part.
Then we come to a crossroads.
A) Continue being super-restrictive with food, watching everyone else enjoy it while we refuse because we’re scared of gaining the weight back.
B) Say “screw it” and overdo it with food because we’ve been holding back for so long. As a result, we gain the weight back and feel helpless because we’re in the same pattern as the last time we tried to lose weight.
Let me paint a different picture for you – one where you are always coming out on top.
First, you make a conscious decision that you are going to love your body, no matter what. Therefore, you’re going to feed it beautiful, high-quality food because you love it and you want it to feel good. You base this decision on how you want to feel and not how you’re going to look. You tell yourself that no matter what you do with food, it should always make you happy and give you more freedom.
Sound good? I thought so.
Here are a few ideas on how to make healthy eating fun and joyful:
How about you break some rules and get creative in the kitchen? Try making a recipe that you’ve been eyeing for a while. Don’t worry about what’s in it – instead, see what you can swap out. Recipes that call for sugar, white flour or a ton of dairy can be substituted with fruit, Gluten Free flours or dairy-free alternatives. And that’s just the beginning. What’s cool is that you end up with a recipe that you can call your own. I once made my own carrot pesto because I was out of everything that broccoli pesto called for, and it was a huge hit amongst my friends.
Pick one veggie that you’ve never tried before. Throw it in a salad or bake it in the oven at 350° F until soft, with any random spices that excite to you. I’ve done this hundreds of times and it never fails to amaze me what you can do with vegetables. The possibilities are endless. It can be as simple as baking cabbage wedges with olive oil, salt, pepper and curry. Delicious and crunchy!
Who doesn’t love condiments? I know a lot of people eat plain raw veggies, but where is the fun in that? It’s boring and pleasureless, and it’s a big reason why some people associate eating healthy with being tasteless. Personally, I would be very annoyed if someone took away my dressing. Why not make an olive oil/balsamic vinegar or a mayo mustard dressing for the week? When you are making meals you can easily throw it right in to spice things up.
Every so often, take your friends or loved ones to a restaurant and forget about the healthiest thing on the menu. Give yourself permission to treat yourself to your absolute favorite thing on the menu. Take your time when ordering. Really check in with what you and your body want. And then go for it. Eat it in an amount that feels just right in your body. And then move on. Skip the guilt and just go back to eating lighter and healthier foods at your next meal.
What is one healthy eating habit that you find a lot of joy in? I’d love it if you’d share with me below.