I’m not going to pretend I don’t love chocolate and wine. Or pizza and beer. It’s the reason I found myself needing to make diet changes in my early 20s.
I just love food…all of it. I love super-healthy green kale smoothies with wheat grass and spirulina, and I love the corner pieces of cake because they have the most icing.
I’m caught in this on-going state of enjoying a very healthy life that I’ve made for myself, and knowing what it’s like to stick my face in chocolate cake.
To be honest, I think I’m pretty real.
Aren’t most people like this? The “everything in moderation” crowd? On the flip side, I do know the people who seem unreal: they make the healthiest food decisions all the time. You know, when it’s their birthday and they skip the cake and eat Paleo ice cream. Or you’re out to dinner and they always choose the salad or the baked chicken. Or at a bar and water is the ever-go-to drink choice. I totally respect these individuals and even envy them to a degree. Why is it so easy for them? Why is wine so great? I WISH I loved chicken as much as some people do…but I eat the chicken because it’s good for me and I prioritize my health.
I also prioritize my sanity.
After years of educating myself on nutrition, diets, calories, the good carbs and bad, all the kinds of fats; even experimenting with Weight Watchers, Atkins, Vegetarianism, and Paleo plans–there are several things I’ve learned about bodies, foods, and cravings. (Hence the whole reason strongfigure exists.) Some of those things I learned from these experiments are that–
- Different things work for different people. We all respond to food differently and our methods of staying on course can be very different too.
- Diets don’t work long term. Most people rebound with greater weight gains than when they started said diet.
- Following a Paleo or Whole 30 plan could be a more consistent method of eating healthy for life…if one allows him/herself a treat every so often as needed.
- Everyone wants to tell you how to eat. Only you can figure out what works for you–and will work long term.
- My team and I can also help you figure this out. (More on that later in this post.)
So I like to write about food because I’ve tried it all…literally. I eat anything and I’ve experimented with every way possible to lose weight. My body likes to carry weight in the hips and I’ve spent half a lifetime fighting it. I’m more accepting of it now that I’ve realized how unique every individual is and now that I’ve given birth to my daughter, I’ve come to understand my body even more. I know why my hips carry weight best, and I know what I need to do to lose that weight. I even understand and accept how challenging that is for me. No one said achieving goals is easy. If it were….well, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
BUT–you can make some choices that will allow you to feel like meeting your goal isn’t total hell. No one wants to feel like they’re on a diet all the time. That’s why diets don’t work–you feel trapped and eventually give up and resort back to old methods of eating and boom! All that hard work is instantly undone.
And that’s why I write this. Because these tricks may help you.
Five Tricks to Help You Cheat Your Diet
Dark chocolate chips. A small handful of dark chocolate chips can keep me from binging on sweets most any day. I keep them in the freezer so that they’re harder to eat, and when a sweet craving hits–usually at night before bed–I grab a small handful and chase them with a glass of water. It’s easy to log these into my food tracker or even save space for them at the end of the day. I keep my sanity with a little something sweet and feel good about myself the next morning when I didn’t down a package of Oreos instead. You know what else you can do with dark chocolate chips? Throw them into a bowl of cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt and get a high protein sweet snack that makes you feel great about your choices. Toss them in a bowl of fruit and dessert has never been better. Make energy balls with oats, all natural peanut butter, flax, vanilla, organic honey, and toss in a handful of dark chocolate chips–you’ll have a fantastic pre-workout (or milk-producing) snack. If you have a sweet tooth, make the chips your new best friend. Oh and for an added bonus, Walmart sells organic dark chocolate chips. #winning
- Lifeway Chocolate Milk. Ok, it’s not organic, and I’m not saying to drink it every day, BUT it’s a chocolate milk that’s lower in sugar AND higher in protein than other chocolate milks. This can make a great post-workout treat or again, a better late night sweet-craving conqueror instead of eating something much worse. Make it even better for you by adding a scoop of chocolate protein powder or use it in a smoothie! Do you take a greens supplement at all? I LOVE Amazing Grass Superfoods but you probably know that a greens powder never tastes good. Mixing it with chocolate milk masks a lot of the grassy/earthy taste and helps you get more antioxidants into your body!
Beetnik Paleo and the new Smart Made frozen meals. Now typically, I’d never tell anyone to run out and buy frozen meals. But being a new mom of a now three-month-old has changed my perspective a bit. I still do my best to either prep meals in advance or at least get Erik to prep them for me, but life is definitely busy for both of us and we don’t always have time to prep every meal of every week. So luckily I found Beetnik frozen Paleo dinners at Wal-Mart of all places! The ingredients are all natural, the meals are high in protein, some are even low fat, and the carbs come from veggies. (Sometimes starchy veggies, but veggies nonetheless.) And the brand Smart Made by Smart Ones, now has a similar meal available for purchase. Made from real, whole foods, it’s a great grab and cheaper than the Paleo ones if you’re on a tight budget. Some of the carbs come from veggies and some from grains, but the dishes include foods like roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, spinach noodles, and always pack a decent protein punch. Of course, this never beats something YOU make (not even in cost), but it can be an option if you’re in a pinch. It DOES beat ordering takeout and swinging by a fast food drive through. (Although I would highly recommend Wendy’s protein quinoa chicken salad. It’s awesome! I ate that a lot during my second trimester.)
Frozen Vegetables. I don’t know why frozen veggies get such a bad reputation sometimes. I think everyone believes if you’re going to eat healthy, your veggies have to be fresh. Unless they come out of your garden or you get them at your local farmer’s market or the same equivalent, frozen veggies are AWESOME. Most of the time, they can be healthier than the fresh ones. When frozen veggies are prepared for the supermarket, they come out of the farm, get flash frozen which preserves the nutrients, and then go right into the freezer. When you thaw them, they have more nutrients in them still than most “fresh” ones you’ll find. The problem with fresh produce is that you don’t know how long the veggies have been sitting on the shelf. When were they picked? How long did they travel? How long on the shelf? The longer the veggie sits, the less nutrients you get when you eat it. And now that there are so many veggie steamer bags available, eating your 8 servings of veggies a day can literally be SO easy. Throw a bag of spinach, brussels sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, a veggie mix, heck, I’ve seen steamable diced sweet potatoes at Wal-Mart. You CAN eat more veggies, much easier than you believe. (And if you’re one of those who HATES veggies, try the flavored steamables. It’s not as “perfect” as eating plain, untouched vegetables, but if a little garlic butter on your brussels sprouts or ranch seasoning on your broccoli helps you eat more veggies, that’s a win in my playbook.
Seltzer and Lime. Some people struggle drinking enough water each day. A lot of people just don’t like water. Personally, I sometimes forget to drink water until I’m thirsty. Isn’t that terrible?! By the time you realize you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Sh*t. So I make drinking water fun by adding a little seltzer water. I usually take a water bottle and fill half with seltzer, half with water, and throw in some lime (or lemon). The fizziness isn’t just fun, it’s filling and the splash of fruit is tasty! Drinking water can be anything but boring if you’re creative. I’ve put grapefruit, cucumber, even rosemary in my water when I had an abundance of it growing in my yard. Sometimes I even buy new water bottles just to make drinking water more interesting. So pick up a fun bottle, grab some fruit, some seltzer, and drink up! (And if you want to make a fun weekend virgin cocktail, take a glass of seltzer and add a splash of juice, and toss in your fave fruit! When I was pregnant and fighting UTIs every other week, I would splash real cranberry juice–no sugar added, 100% juice–into my seltzer once a day and it actually helped fight off the UTI!)
What I’m saying here is that eating healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore. It doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t need to live by super-strict rules each and every day in hopes of losing a few pounds (unless you want to, or for medical reasons have to). Eating healthy is possible when you look at food as a choice. Frozen pizza or frozen veggies? Milkshake or protein shake? Vodka tonic or seltzer and lime? If you can make the right choice 90% of the time, you can allow yourself a little sanity break 10% of the time. And if you can learn to make the right substitutions nine times out of ten–a homemade pizza instead of a frozen pizza or a piece of dark chocolate instead of chocolate chip cookies–then you’re getting even closer to your goals.
Food can be easy, simple, AND healthy if you let it.
But what if this concept is brand new to you? What if you’re just flat out confused on how to get started with your new healthy eating? Remember earlier when I referenced my “team” and how we could help you? Well I have a lot of hands in the fire right now, as they say.
I’m so excited. (And I just can’t hide it.) Strongfigure is getting ready to launch a coaching platform. We are building a team of experienced coaches to help you reach the goals you’ve been dreaming about your whole life. From lifting weights to losing weight, eating better and meal prepping, we’ve got it covered. Soon, you’ll be able to hire and work with the best of the best.
And that’s not all. Remember our Total Health and Fitness Makeover book we published a couple years back? Well, we’ve revamped the publication. We’re in the editing and formatting stages now of our new book, under what better title than REVAMP?! Revamp takes the best of the Total Health and Fitness Makeover and we’ve added in more information that helps our reader truly accomplish big life goals. Yeah, there’s a TON of info on fitness and nutrition, but this time we’ve added more sleep tips, stress management information, confidence building education, and all the little parts that seem to be missing the most when it comes to total body wellness.
While we have even more surprises coming your way, I’ll just leave it at these two for now. Make sure you’re a strongfigure subscriber so that you don’t miss out on the details of all our new projects.
Also, make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram so that you don’t miss sales, promos, and the ever-sought-after tees and tanks sales.
If you’ve got a tip that will help our readers stay the course of healthy eating while saving a little sanity too, we’d love to hear it! Share our post on social media with YOUR tip and tag us so that we see it! The tip + share with the most likes will win a PDF copy of our new book, REVAMP Your Health!