One of the things I love about being the mom of a large family is that our home is always full of visitors and friends. And my kids' friends know there is always going to be something good to eat on the stove or the island. One of my favorite compliments ever, granted by one of my daughter's friends, was, "Mom (what he calls me), your house always smells good.
I admit it. Even though I am trying to subsist on a "clean" diet, I love to bake, and most of the time I try to sneak in things like zucchini, spinach or black beans. But sometimes I love to bake things that don't have one single healthy ingredient in them, except for maybe dark cocoa powder. And this is wherein my weakness lies; in snacking on dough balls, or spoonfulls of brownie batter, in testing my creations when they are hot out of the oven, in taking a little cutting of cake, pie or brownies every time I walk by the island. And since I started diligently counting and logging my daily calorie intake, I've realized that these little endevours, though small, add up, and can actually double my daily caloric allowance if I'm not careful. No wonder I've been at a plateau for so long!
So here are ten things I do to avoid reaching for my delicious baked goods or other unhealthy foods that may have made their way into my home.
1. Exercise: This is the single most important motivational change I have made when it comes to eating healthy. If I get up at 5:10 in the morning, drive in the frigid temperatures to our school gym, then sweat and pant for 45 minutes, I had better be getting something out of it. And I do... I can feel it all start to harden and tone.... underneath this layer of fat. I want my hard work to show! So whenever I think about eating something unhealthy, I think of how unsupportive of my fitness goals it will be.
2. Drink Water: Sometimes the body's hunger and thirst signals can become confused, and thinking you are hungry can really just mean you are thirsty. If I feel the urge to start snacking on those chocolate chip cookies, I first go drink a big glass of water.
3. Put the unhealthy food away: As I mentioned before, my kids' friends know that there is usually going to be something delicious out on the counter, but I've learned that this tempts me beyond that which I can bear. So after everyone has had their fill, I wrap things up in foil or plastic, and put it up high in the pantry or behind something. Since my memory is so far gone, I actually forget it's there, until someone asks for it. Then I tell them that I hid it from myself. They say, "Mom, how can you hide something from yourself?" I tell them when you have a memory problem like I do, it's easy. Even if you do remember where they are, which most of you will, it will be a lot of trouble to get to them, and you'll have time to talk yourself out of it.
4. Make Salads in Jars: I elluded to this in one of my posts last week, and I'll ellaborate a little bit here. I've taken to making 6 salads in jars at a time (the black bean variety shown above), which last me about 3 days. Just put the wettest stuff on the buttom and layer everything else in like manner. This is so handy, because when you feel like taking your brownies out of the hiding place you suddenly remembered, you can tell yourself, "Okay, if I eat this entire jar of salad, I can have one small brownie". But usually, by the time you eat the salad, you feel so full and also filled with pride for eating right, that you don't even wan't the brownie.
5. Reach for something healthy instead: Similar to the previous tip, if I'm really wanting something unhealthy, I often say, again, "Okay, if I eat half a pound of raw vegetables right now, I can have a small amount of the other." Again, by the time I'm done, I am no long in a a physical or emotional position to crave that unhealthy food. However, if I do end up eating it, it's only a small piece.
6. Try essential oils: Taking certain essentials oils can decrease your appetite or leave a taste in your mouth not conducive to snacking. My favorite oil to use, right before I start cooking or baking, to avoid piecing as I go, is DoTerra's "Slim and Sassy". It's a blend which includes citrus oils, peppermint, cinnamon and ginger, which leaves a minty, cinnamonny, refreshing taste in your mouth that doesn't go well with tortilla chips and cheese sauce. If you'd like more info on DoTerra oils, you can go to my consultant site HERE.
7. Keep something in your mouth: Another way I avoid picking and piecing as I'm cooking is to suck on a cough drop or starlight mint type of candy. This also makes snacking, especially on savory foods, unappetizing.
8. Watch a youtube video: Go run and watch a youtube video about how to make a delcious healthy recipe, or learn about clean diets, or watch inspiring weight-loss videos. Today I watched one on how to make chia pudding, and I made it this very evening! I'll post the recipe here soon.
9. Call a friend: Or in my case, a sister. If I'm having a bad day as far as sticking to my diet, a call to my sister always does the trick. She's a genius, you know, and always has an idea to help me solve my problem, whatever it may be. Your friend doesn't have to be a genius, just someone who is supportive of your goals and encourages you to make healthy choices.
10. Pray: Every morning I thank God that He gave me the will to get up at 5:10 and go exercise, and I ask Him to help me make good food choices for the rest of the day. He wants us to be healthy and to feel good, and with His help, we can do hard things, like getting into shape.
Speaking of which, in closing, let me just share a quote I read a few weeks ago that really struck me...
Losing weight is hard.
Being overweight is hard.
Pick your hard.
As an entertaining anecdote, the 12-year-old boy's response? "Just don't gain weight and you're good." Truer words were never spoken. So, best of luck with your fitness goals this week, and thanks for listening! :)