We are finally seeing signs of spring here in New York City and that's a good thing, mostly. What's not to like? Oh, just those bad habits some of us have perfected over the past few months as a result of the winter drudgery. With a change of season those issues have sprung to the surface for many of us lately.
A typical client story goes like this, “I started eating cookies every day and drinking wine every night, and then waking up feeling tired and sluggish the next day, only to do the same thing again.”
So when one of my students said last week, “I feel like I need a re-education on how to eat," I decided to take her up on that idea. Because recovering from the winter is not just a matter of working out. Spring really is a time to listen to your body and re-learn how to feed it.
Look, I am very pro-cookies and wine, in moderation. But if you can change the way you think about your daily routine, you will see that making the cookie or the wine (or whatever your indulgence is) an exception, not the rule, will help you balance your system, creating better eating habits, and generally allow you to feel better and have more energy.
Because I had a terrible cold for a long time that then morphed into allergies (yay spring!), I started an elimination diet where I removed dairy, gluten, coffee, alcohol and sugar (except from fruit/vegetables). It sounds horrible, I know, but I wanted to see what difference it would make and how long it would take for me to see changes. What it is: I start the day with hot water and lemon. Then I make my own protein smoothie with homemade cashew milk, drink green tea, homemade green juices, snack on hummus and veggies and nuts, drinks tons of water throughout the day, and for lunch and dinner I eat grains/greens/salads/soups/lentils/beans. It’s simple, and it’s eating simply. And most importantly – I’m not hungry or feel like I am depriving myself. I’ve been making everything completely from scratch, and although it takes some planning and grocery shopping in advance, it’s really worth it. The result is that I have more energy, clearer skin, better sleep and most of all, I am much more conscious of what I am putting into my body.
How long will this last? I am looking at this as a reset for my body and my eating habits and my goal is 21 days. I want to eat all clean, organic, not processed food. When I re-introduce foods I have left out I will be able to tell how my body reacts. This particular plan may not be for everyone, but I gave you my example to show how it can be beneficial (and not difficult) to take a break. And when I finally eat pizza again I will completely enjoy it. Because it’s the exception, not the norm.
- Think about what your goal is before you begin to retrain your body/mind into making healthier choices. Improved digestion? Weight loss? More energy?
- Eliminating certain foods from your diet allows you to see how your body reacts and how you can implement small changes that can have big results. Pay attention to the results. Certain things may work for you while others may not.
- Make a plan of what you are going to eat and when. This can keep you from going off course.
- Keeping your blood sugar at an even level throughout the day by eating smaller, healthy meals/snacks will help you from craving you foods you’ve eliminated.
- Forgive yourself if you mess up. You can start again!
- Exercise! In addition to my Pilates regimen I am also doing extra stretching and rolling on the foam roller, helping to release the toxins in my body.
Need some help? I am here for you.
Yours in healthy eating,