How to feel good about yourself (food-wise)

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I always cringe when I hear people say "Oh I'm on a diet now", "I can't eat this", "I can't eat that"... I am not a nutritionist or a doctor (yet!), but what I can say is that in my opinion, diets are just plain stupid. What I have learnt is that cutting bad stuff completely just never works. And surviving more than a couple weeks without chocolate or carbs is a feat not even superheroes can accomplish. The trick is balancing everything out. A post I found really inspiring and totally in line with my ideas about eating in general was Rosie the Londoner's Anti-Diet. Check it out, it's mind-blowingly well written.

Here are a few extra tips of mine (that I need to follow even more now due to the massive amount of Easter egg I've eaten these days):

Balance it out: the key to everything is balance. It's really not that hard: if you know you've been eating healthy all week an extra slice of cake can't really hurt, can it? If you feel stuffed like a Christmas turkey after an all you can eat sushi lunch, time to prepare veggie soup for dinner. It's all about exercising a little bit of self-control and being aware of what you put in your mouth. And no cheating! Those Lindor chocolates you sneak out of the fridge at 2 am do count.

Water: some people say to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, some people say 3, some people say 8 glasses... Everyone's different so everyone shouldn't drink the same amount. As an indicator (I know it's a bit gross) you should drink until your pee is clear. I've been drinking around 3-4 litres a day and the changes in my skin, hair and overall well-being are really noticeable. Just be prepared for your trips to the toilet to increase exponentially!

Breakfast: breakfast is without a doubt the most important (and my favourite!) meal of the day. The saying that goes "at breakfast eat like a king, at lunch like a prince and at dinner like a peasant" pretty much sums up the whole concept. You should eat less at dinner simply because the day is nearly done and you don't really burn that many calories just by passing out on your bed and sleeping. A good filling breakfast boosts your metabolism and keeps your mind and body going until lunch time. A good choice would be oats or non-sugary cereal with dairy milk or nut milk, a piece of fruit or freshly squeezed juice and some yoghurt. If you've got no time in the morning, blend it all in and you have a yummy smoothie ready to go. Also, beware of the processed cereals that sell themselves as healthy, such as Special-K or Fitness as they're stuffed full of unnecessary sugar: Weetabix with a spoonful of honey is so much better.

Snacking: I've found that even if I'm not really that hungry, strategic snacks at 11 am and 4 pm are the bomb. Snacks keep your stomach full, they avoid it rumbling embarrassingly during uni lectures (I know something about that) and they keep you from stuffing your mouth at the next meal. Apples or pears are great, greek yoghurt, nuts, rice crackers. No cookies or chocolatey stuff though: it's better to treat them not as snacks but as desserts (this way you'll eat less), they don't satisfy you enough and often leave you wanting for more. This leads to the next point which is:

No vending machines: the odd vending machine may offer packets of cut fruit, fruit juices and drinkable yoghurts, but the majority don't. The majority have Mars bars, crisps, Ringos, wafer cookies, Kinder buenos *mouth watering*. To avoid temptation... stay away! A Twix bar is obviously okay once in a while, but the more you eat, the more you'll crave. 

Be active: walking makes you feel so good! Power walking especially: iPod on play and feeling as if you're in a music video is the best thing in the world. I try to log in 10.000 steps and 10 km a day of walking (with the Fitbit app) and I have to be clever about it: if I see I'm missing some steps I get off one metro or bus stop early and walk to my destination (praying to not be excessively late to where I have to get to), I offer to go run errands or go up and down the stairs a couple times. Also, running or swimming are great, I try to run at least three times a week. I'm not really a fan of the actual gym though: I have a membership and I feel so bad about wasting money and not going as often as I'd like. New to-do entry: Laura. Go. To. The. Gym. 
P.S.: if you're lazy and want to workout at home though Blogilates and Nike Training Club workouts are the best. 

Sugar isn't a monster: what people etiquette as the "unhealthy" stuff should not be seen as bad, but as a kind of reward. Not, though, as an everyday essential to your meals. You can have a whole platter of profiteroles on Monday, but then you probably should cut down for the rest of the week; but you can have a couple squares of dark chocolate every day. Also, if you bake your own cakes or cookies it's so much better as you can see what you put inside and devise some sneaky modifications. Olive oil for butter, almond milk for dairy, whole grain flour for white, honey or dates for white sugar and cacao powder instead of chocolate and your choc cake will have absolutely the same taste as the "traditional" one (pinky promise!).

So diets are to be abolished, in favour of freedom with a pinch of self-discipline. Food is there to be enjoyed and the healthier you begin to eat, the more you will realise it: food is just... great.

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  1. These are all great tips and wonderful things to keep in mind when attempting to lead a healthy lifestyle. I quite agree, when you restrict certain things you're more tempted to devour them. Also, I like the saying regarding the meals. Eating the wrong sized meals is something I've fallen foul of previously. Great post!
    Life’s Open Pages

    1. Ooooh thank you so much for your comment! Yeah I have such a sweet tooth, I couldn't bear to not have chocolate in my life :) And I think that eating healthy gets a loooot easier along the way!

      Laura xx