empowered eating: feel good about the food you eat

 
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First of all, diets don't work. I am sure you know this because how many diets have you tried and then failed? In fact, a staggering 95% of people who have dieted have failed at it at least once. Plus, a lot of the time, you don't just gain the weight back, you end up weighing more than you did in the first place! Yikes! What does work is establishing a healthy lifestyle and a positive relationship with food. 

S M A L L   S T E P S
Extremes don't last. How many times have you thought, "I am not going to have any dairy/carbs/alcohol/fat/sugar for the next month?" You may last a few days but then all of a sudden you find yourself binging on chocolate cupcakes or eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon- guilty! Making a lifestyle change means it is something you maintain for life. Don't begin with extremes. Instead, make small swaps. Swap the Diet Coke for water, the Wonder Bread for bakery made Sour Dough, sugary cereal for homemade granola, dairy milk for almond, soy or coconut milk, french fries for roasted potatoes. There are so many little, tiny steps you can make to drastically improve your health and overall being. When you begin to make minor steps towards better health, you will naturally be more inclined to lead a healthier life. For example, you go out to dinner and instead of ordering a burger and fries you get a beautiful kale salad with a baked potato. You will sleep more soundly that night and then have more energy to wake up a little earlier to exercise the next morning. And then, you'd be more inclined to eat healthier that day too. Do you see the ripple effect?

G R A T I T U D E   A T T I T U D E
There are foods out there that you just shouldn't eat. They aren't even real foods, are made in a lab and all of the ingredients are unpronounceable! Yes, they may taste good but they make you look and feel like shit. Instead of feeling bad for yourself by thinking, "I can't eat Doritos. I'm trying to be healthy." you should be thinking " I can eat sweet potatoes. They are so good for me." Switch your attitude when it comes to food. You should be grateful that there are all of these amazingly delicious foods for us to eat in the world. When you eat something that nourishes your body it is so much more fulfilling and wonderful than eating junk. It shouldn't be that you have to eat your fruits and vegetables but that you get to. Flip your mindset and you will find that you enjoy eating healthful, satiating foods much more than that crappy crap.

F O O D  C U L T U R E  
It is important to establish a food culture within your home. When I first moved in with my significant other, we were going out for meals all the time, I was rarely cooking and I'd rather stay in bed and snuggle than get up and exercise. I still would rather cuddle, but I realized I needed to establish a food culture in our home that was aligned with my goals and really, my needs. Now, I consistently keep our fridge stocked with fresh vegetables, only healthy snacks in our pantry, I always keep a large bowl of fruit on our counter, cook on a daily basis, and try to always have healthy leftovers available. Even though my fiancee isn't vegan, I do not buy anything that isn't and only cook healthy, nutritious meals. Lucky for me, my fiancee has totally embraced this lifestyle. Have a conversation with your partner and establish some ground rules. Like, I don't want to have soda in the house anymore. (we made that rule!) I don't want to buy processed snacks anymore. I don't want to have dairy milk in my cereal anymore. I want to cook three healthy meals a week. I want to only eat meat when at a restaurant and have our meals at home be vegetarian. Whatever you want! Just remember, a healthy lifestyle begins at home and is much easier when your family members are on the same page. 

O W N  I T
Being healthy is all about balance. You do not need to swear off sweets forever. There are, however, delicious alternatives to junk that taste just as scrumptious and have many health benefits. Anyways, many people will eat healthy or restrict for an amount of time and then will binge and get way off track. You need to remember that if you have a "cheat" meal that doesn't mean that the rest of the day or week is spoiled. Also, if you want a piece of pizza or a slice of cake, then own it, enjoy it and then move on with your life. Don't make yourself feel bad about it. Be in control of your actions. Like I said, if you want the treat then go for it but just make sure it comes from a place of empowerment.