Creating Your Own Monthly Healthy Habits
⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
I have a confession to make: I love all the wrong foods. There’s nothing quite like a nostalgic stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut to remind of the first time I had it in the 1990s. I liberally sprinkle cheese on everything, and when I was in my late teens and early 20s, jalapenos were their own food group. I love carbs of every variety, and well, anything lemony for dessert is practically my best friend. And macaroons, scoops of butter, pounds of potatoes. I love all of them.
Until my brain fog wouldn’t stop. And let’s be honest, the pounds wouldn’t, either. Another confession: I hate to exercise. (That’s another topic for another day.) I saw myself transform into a cranky, tired, unproductive mess. I have anxiety -- that much is clear. But, my skin was also starting to show the effects of bad eating. My eczema made its grand return on my cheeks after 28 years of being dormant.
It’s actually pretty funny that I’m writing a healthy food post because I literally have told my husband at least one million times that I will die without sugars, carbs and the like. I have struggled to find a routine that works for me. Counting calories as a perfectionist does not work. It does more self-harm than good, and often, I give up after the first week. It takes about a month to form a habit, and I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck with one for a month.
*cue “We Are the Champions” by Queen.*
At the beginning of June, I started adjusting my lifestyle after feeling like crap for too long. I had been working on my mental health, and physical health is interconnected. So, I wanted to take a more holistic approach rather than a Band-Aid fix. Plus, how can I teach the next generation healthy habits when I’m not healthy myself? I digress. I decided to just start counting Weight Watchers points. I’d much rather count to 24 than count out calories by the ingredient. (How much is a pinch of rosemary anyway?)
This is what I have learned so far during my journey to a healthier version of me:
I gave up consistent Coca-Cola probably five years ago or so. I have special occasion Coke every Christmas and then when I travel to other countries (and sometimes one when I go somewhere in the United States).
If you saw the Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds documentary, “Bright Lights,” you’ll notice that Carrie Fisher kept a can of Coke by her side at all times. She said she opened them up all day long because the first drink is the best, and she would end up leaving cans everywhere. Have I mentioned that this woman is my spirit animal? This was me in a nutshell.
Water is the way to go. And not just carbonated water, like La Croix. Limit that, too, because it causes water weight if there’s sodium in it. (And for me, just in general.) That pains me because I love fizzy water. But, I waste it. It loses its fizz, and I’m all like, NOPE! It tastes like toilet water now. Drink still water. I add a couple of lemon slices to make it bearable. I’m relentless and inwardly competitive, so I see if I can finish an 24-oz bottle of water throughout my work day.
I eat more when I’m anxious and depressed as an emotional crutch. I think that’s pretty common for anyone with a mental health disorder or someone just going through a stressful time in his or her life. You either eat too much or not enough. When I Google how many points something is, I notice the serving size. You can have rice, some pasta, breads, etc. Just not too much of a good thing. I also have realized that Weight Watchers include a lot of vegetables, fish, turkey, chicken and other zero point foods. ZERO POINTS? That is an incentive for me. It’s like getting extra credit in school. I’m all about the zero-point foods and substitutions.
I drink coffee every day. Instead of my flavored creamer, I’m using zero-point almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. I can just pretend it’s a venti Starbucks caramel macchiato and call it a day.
If you need to cheat, then go ahead. Just don’t do it every day. Maybe one a week or two to reward yourself for your good work. Or be like me and do THAT and also bribe yourself with a material item. This first time around, I bought a virtual console video game on my Nintendo DS. And I’m gonna play it while I eat my husband’s delicious alfredo penne with kielbasa sausage. Eventually -- when I have more willpower to portion control!
FIND HEALTHY OPTIONS AT RESTAURANTS.
I am slowly becoming one of those people who research a restaurant’s menu before going to the actual restaurant. Most places have healthy options, except for many fast food places. And I have sworn off most fast food. (Rest in peace, trans fats, sodium and everything good about the food world.)
So, do your own research and see what works for you and your daily allotment of points. If I know I’m going to have a lot more points at dinner, I will focus on a lot of low-point and zero-point foods so I can have more leeway at dinner. It’s all about perspective and flexibility, which works wonders for dealing with the unrelenting high standards of my perfectionism.
The crazy thing is, this works for me. It’s amazing how a seemingly small lifestyle change can change your entire outlook. But, here’s to a healthier journey. Consistency is key.
Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC
Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV.
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