I’ve been seeing a nutritionist for 1.5 years and I’ve lost 46 pounds. I haven’t been counting calories or points. I’ve just made small changes that I have been able to sustain. It’s been a slow and steady journey.
In a stressful world, a critical aspect of protecting and fortifying yourself is eating healthy. Part of living a lovely life is prioritizing and taking care of ourselves. I will be taking you with me on my healthful journey, as I strive to document my strategies and lessons learned for living a lovely life.
Eating healthy isn’t easy for everyone, especially if you live in a food desert. I don’t have to tell you the inequities that make healthful eating more difficult for some. Some people who don’t have access to healthy food are being disproportionately plagued by diseases like obesity, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. Some studies posit that there is a connection between the prevalence of these diseases, including obesity, and the stress of racism by the way. In the past, I’ve struggled with mild PCOS, but eating healthy has eliminated my symptoms almost entirely. I hope to share practical and affordable changes that I’ve made to be more healthy.
For me, developing healthy eating habits makes my life a bit lovelier, so here are the top things that I have learned so far.
My Lessons Learned So far…
- Having a good nutritionist is essential. Diets didn’t work for me, but small changes have helped me lose weight.
- I had to make sure to choose a nutritionist who is going to help me, not judge me.
- For example, I love “soul food.” I made sure to select a nutritionist who was going to show me how to modify the foods I love so that they were healthier, not forbid them entirely. Simple swaps I’ve made in recipes include: using sugar-free substitutes when possible, using whole grain rice or quinoa and using low sodium chicken broth. There are some great healthy soul food cookbooks.
- I had to develop a healthy routine for RELAXING. After a long day at work, my habit used to be to sit in front of a screen and eat as much as I could, then I’d snack the rest of the evening just to relax more. This is mindless eating. Now, I sit down at the table with some relaxing music and real dishes. After dinner, I de-stress by having a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea and I do a simple craft, read or listen to soothing music. I also use adult coloring books. I try to minimize social media.
- I do simple exercises. I am not a gym goer. I don’t like having to master complex moves to get a workout or spend unnecessary money, but I will… powerwalk or stroll for 30 minutes to an hour. I will take the stairs. I will do ten minutes of exercise in the morning. Adopting these simple activities into my life has been very beneficial to my health. Tip: Using a pedometer is very helpful. Smartphones have an app and you can get pedometers for fairly reasonable prices online. You don’t have to do a Fitbit.
- I fill half my plate with leafy vegetables. This satiates me and keeps me from overeating.
- I fill a quarter of my plate with lean proteins, like grilled chicken breasts or fish.
- I eat more sweet potatoes. A quarter of my plate is reserved for healthy starches and sweet potatoes are my go to. They are delicious and since I have a sweet tooth, they satisfy that craving. They are also healthy.
- I aim to drink half of my body weight in ounces of water daily. I carry a 32 oz. (BPA free) water bottle to work and drink water at every meal.
- I use portion control. I try to measure out portions using the hand method. For example, the front of your balled-up fist is a serving of pasta. The size of your palm is a serving of meat. There are also great tools that can help portion food on your plate.
- Use your spirituality. If you are religious or spiritual, incorporate your spirituality into your journey. I try to pray about my health journey. If you don’t pray, perhaps meditate or just take time for yourself.
My goal is to lose 15 to 20 pounds more and I’ll be within a healthy body weight range.
I have incorporated these changes gradually into my lifestyle. During the holidays, I did get a bit sidetracked, but I will do a post in the future about tackling holiday eating.
So what is on the menu for me this week?
Breakfast: 1 slice whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a boiled egg.
A healthy chocolate smoothie (with spinach, black beans, and fruit). It tastes better than it sounds and I will be sharing my recipe soon.
Lunch: Salad with turkey or a smoothie and an apple.
Snack: Almonds and a piece of fruit
- Healthy Brunswick stew (adapted from Iheartrecipes) and steamed cabbage
- Low carb shepherds pie (adapted from Peace, Love, and Low Carb cookbook ), steamed vegetables and salad
- Healthy chicken pot pie (the recipe is available here), vegetables and salad
- Leftovers and mix and match
For me, being healthy in a world where Black women are regularly pushed to the limit is a powerful tool for living a lovely life.