Reaching fitness goals does not mean 100% deprivation of all foods and drinks that are considered a “treat.” In my opinion, the number one reason people often fail at dieting is picking a “diet” that doesn’t actually fit their lifestyle. Sure, for the first month of a new fad diet you are certainly going to see results. But let’s face it: one bag of chips and a bottle of wine slip up, and this may cause a downward spiral, followed by binge-eating and a climb on the scale, ending with a self-pity party!
But, yes, I still eat chips.
Get yourself out of the mindset of dieting. Dieting often refers to a food plan that ends when your goal weight is achieved. Once the extreme dieting and “normal” eating resumes the cycle starts over again and your left with those pounds you shed plus a few extra. By not depriving yourself and having the odd treat here and there, it might actually help you achieve your goals. So go ahead and eat those chips sometimes. Key word being sometimes!
The 80/20 Rule
Think of food as fuel for your body. In order to be healthy and have energy, you must eat accordingly: fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein. The occasional treat in an overall healthy food consumption does not throw me into a spiral of unhealthy eating, as my normal everyday food choices are good whole foods. I like to use the 80/20 rule for food. 80 percent of the foods I put in my body are heathy and clean. 20% or less accounts for the treats I choose to not give up. A glass of wine after a long day, mayo on my sandwich, or a bowl of chips while watching a movie are all acceptable given I stick to my rule. Meaning, if I know I am going to have a little treat, I consciously eat all day and choose foods lower in sugar, calories, and fat.
One of the best ways to stay on track is substituting the “bad” foods I like with healthier options. That way I can still enjoy the foods I want and feel good about my choices. Check out the food substitutions below:
1. I love spaghetti! One way I have managed a healthier option with less carbs is to swap noodles for spaghetti squash. Zucchini noodles also work, but I prefer Spaghetti Squash.
2. Craving a salty, crunchy snack? Try making Pita Chips instead of filling your bowl with Lays Original.
3. Want fries as a side? Try sweet potato fries.
4. Trading in cereal and bagels in the morning for real oatmeal or a smoothie not only cuts down on sugar and carbs, but also leaves me feeling more energized to start my day.
5. When I want pizza I have pizza! Pitas make a great crust and they are easy to prepare.
6. Swap milk for unsweetened almond milk. Milk gets too much praise for the amount of sugar it contains.
7. Avoiding restaurants is probably the best bet as food is generally cooked in oils and covered in sauces, batters, and salt. However, if this can’t be avoided, pick a salad as a side instead of fries or potatoes.
8. Instead of a sandwich have a pita wrap. Cuts down on carbs and can still be delicious!
9. Pop and juice is a no no! So much sugar that is not worth it. If you need more flavour in your water or you crave the carbonation, try carbonated water or simply add a lemon slice to water.
You would be surprised how quickly making these substitutes can make you see the changes you want in your body. The best part is that you don’t have to stop eating the foods you like! Couple 80/20 eating with exercise 3-4 times a week and you are on your way to creating a new you! Healthy and happy.