Like I’ve already stated multiple times in my blogs, I don’t like the word ‘diet’. It implies limitations, strict rules and somehow obsessive behavior about all that’s not allowed. I prefer the word lifestyle, because I see choices of food and exercise you make every day much more as a healthy way of living. There’s so much in our bodies and minds that are strongly connected to how we eat and the way we exercise. Talking about minds, the mind is strong, very strong. It tells us when we’re craving, it makes decisions whether to go ahead with decisions that we make, good or bad. And unfortunately quite often it’s the bad decisions that are the ones to consider the most.
A few years ago when I was in Australia I was living my best life. Eating whatever I felt like eating, drinking whatever I felt like, and literally indulging a sh*t ton of sugar and calories every day. I wasn’t thinking about a healthy life, I was thinking about living my best life. At least I thought I was. Doing what I wanted to do every day and not being conscious about the stuff that I was eating.
Important side note I
At that time I did not realize that eating whatever I want and drinking whatever I want is not living your best life at all. Somehow living your best life and having a healthy lifestyle did not go together at that time. It’s only now that I realize that having a healthy lifestyle IS living your best life. I’ll come back to you about that later.
Only when I started working to make some money I had a more regular lifestyle but I was still eating big meals and plenty of snacks. My mind kind of convinced me that it was alright because I was working all day and that I don’t gain weight that fast. But when I was able to check the weighing scale at some point, I was shocked. I gained more than 10 kilos in 6 months. I gave it some thought. First thing I realized that I wasn’t eating ‘normal’ any more. And with normal I mean normal portions of meals and an acceptable intake of sugars. I had no clue how much I was eating. I was just eating until I was full. When I realized that, I decided that it was time for me to go back to a normal lifestyle.
Important side note II
It might sound easy to say that. I realize that a lot of people don’t have the knowledge so for them it’s incredibly hard to realize this, change, and adjust your lifestyle. That’s why I’m writing this blog to give you some more insights.
What’s a normal lifestyle?
A normal lifestyle for me is going back to basics. Decent breakfast, (carbs, protein, low sugar) centralize veggies for lunch, combined with some complex carbs like quinoa, potatoes, beans. Dinner was mostly vegetable based, again with complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes, wholegrain pasta. I replaced all or my snacks with fruit or a ‘no-added-sugar’ oats bar / protein bar. Reducing the added sugars intake was the main key. As I’ve said before, I truly believe most post people are addicted to sugar so you need to cut the added sugar out of your life in order to go back to basics.
In the first few days I had intense cravings going and it made me realize how addicted I was. Addicted to sugars, because I wasn’t really hungry, I was just craving sweets. I started to realize something that I’ve never realized before. Whenever I was craving (pretty much every day in the first week) I was only thinking one thing: “It’s not that I will die now if I don’t eat it.” That little sentence changed my way of eating completely. In the evening, when I was hungry, I just had a cup of tea and my only thought was, It’s not that I’m going to die because I don’t eat those crisps (or whatever I used to have). I mean, let’s be honest, if you don’t have those crisps, you will still wake up the day after (if nothing else will happen to you). It might sound pretty cruel, but isn’t this what it’s about? Food is meant to nutrify the body so that your body can function. This is how I developed something I call ‘functional eating’. If you’re eating fruit, or veggies, you can literally tell your body that it needs that, simply because of its nutritions, vitamins & fibers. All the refined sugars and trans fat, your body simply does not need that to survive, and therefore, you will survive the day (and night) if you say no to that kind of food. You won’t pass out, you won’t die because you decided not to have it that evening. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
So will I never eat sugar again?
When the days continued and mentioned it to myself whenever I had the craving, the craving itself was not gone, but I was much more alright with it, because I knew that I was not going to die, I was perfectly fine, and in the end, that’s all that matters, right? We literally do eat to stay alive. We do drink to stay alive, and it became my mantra, and it actually still is. Whenever I’m struggling I just say that and it makes me realize I don’t need it and I usually carry on whatever I was doing, knowing I’m going to be fine the day after.
Does this mean that I never, EVER eat a chocolate bar, ice cream or biscuit again? No, of course not! But when you become aware of your functional eating, you become much more conscious of what you’re eating and when you’re eating it. I don’t see sugar rich products as an incentive, I just see it as something that I have every once in a while. I fully enjoy it, and I don’t feel guilty at all eating it. So yes, of course, I still enjoyed an ice cream, chocolate bar or whatever, it just became a whole different way of living and eating. In 6 weeks time I lost nearly 8 kilos and I continued making healthier decisions for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is only functional. And if you live like that for 80% of the time, you’re doing absolutely perfectly fine. Being functional doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the food that I’m eating. Functional food is delicious and amazing and there is so much healthy stuff that you can enjoy to the fullest, it’s just a different way of looking at food than what I used to and that definitely made it a whole lot easier, and still is up to today.
So will I never live my best life again?
Earlier in this blog I mentioned something about living my best life. In this paragraph I come back to that. Apart from transforming my way of thinking and being incredibly happy with the results and losing the weight, that was not the only thing that changed. I simply realized that I was still living my best life, doing whatever I wanted, making different food choices. Changing my decisions about what I eat doesn’t affect living my best life. In fact, when I changed my food, I was still living my best life. Those two working together perfectly fine. In fact, my lifestyle and the feeling of living my best life actually improved. A list of my most obvious changes after I started functional eating:
- I felt fitter, more energy during the day, because I gave my body better food to digest and to gradually provide energy throughout the day.
- My overall mood is more optimistic and stable, the sugar cravings affected that.
- I don’t have the immense sugar dips anymore where I am literally shaking, grumpy as f*ck, going dizzy and in need for sugar IMMEDIATELY.
- My skin is much better, less spots and redness on my face
- I slept better (easier to fall asleep, feel more rested in the morning)
So after all, for me, having a healthy lifestyle had a big impact on my life and actually helped me even more to live my best life.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!