From Bagels to Buckwheat
Maybe you’ve already chosen to live a healthy lifestyle quite some time ago. Maybe you’re still dreading to change a few of your habits. Maybe you’ve tried to live healthier before but failed every time. Maybe you’ve only THOUGHT about living healthier but never actually done something about it.
Whoever you are, or at what stage in the process your are, looking back I wish I had someone who told me what I needed to hear to really make the change.
So I’m going to do that for you. Why ME? Why would I know what it’s like?
Because I am the least typical example of a “green-girl”, with hardly any cooking skills or knowledge about “real” food. I was raised in a family that used yummy (read: unhealthy) food for any kind of celebration and I used to shiver seeing the “#fitgirl” comments on other girls’ insta-accounts.
In retrospect I wish someone countered some of these typical thoughts I experienced when I wanted to change:
- Living healthy is going to be expensive and a lot of hard work
- I’ll be hungry most of the time
- And therefore I’ll be even more hangry (angry because you are hungry) then I was before
- It’ll most definitely ruin my social life, because I will end up being the girl that is not going to dinner parties because ‘I can’t eat this and I only eat that..’.
I’m so happy to tell you THAT NON OF THIS TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE!
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU START TO LIVE HEALTHY:
It was a sunny Friday afternoon and me and my roommate started talking about the change I went through over the past two months. I used to be an irregularly, unknowing eat-it-all, who would enthusiastically switch from some newfound “3-day diet”, to avoiding all sorts of carbs, to cutting out sugars entirely.
Despite my enthusiasm I always ended up falling back into my old patterns of eating too little or too much, at the wrong time.
My poor co-workers had to deal with my hangry moods. I also felt like I was too low on energy almost every day.
But ever since I decided to start eating healthier, my skin got more radiant, I lost more than a dress-size and I feel much more energised. It feels nice to actually know now what I’m putting into my body, and I frankly don’t even remember how I ever woke up without having breakfast. Hurray for me!
To help those who are still hesitating to make the change, and for those to recognise themselves in this story, I will focus this article on four of the biggest concerns I had before I started to make healthier choices. And believe me: being one of the most skeptical people in the world, I would never lie to you. And if I can do this, you certainly can do this too!
CONCERN #1: TIME
This was by far the biggest issue I needed to overcome. The choice between having breakfast and 10 more minutes in bed was always won by my awesome bed. I’m a young professional, meaning that I’m spending most of my time at my busy job as a freelance medical psychologist. So all the time have left I want to spend unwinding with my friends, talking about life and how hard and awesome it is to be a twenty-something. Eating healthy is just going to cost me so much time I already don’t have.
I actually found out that it costs me a lot LESS time then before. I only had to get my groceries once a week! Meaning all of the other times I got home from work, exhausted, there already was food in the fridge! The best thing about that was that I didn’t have to go to the store, already way too hungry, to fight with the suited-up banker over the last microwave meal.
I actually found out that it costs me a lot LESS time then before.
Okay, some time went into planning of what I was going to eat that week. But, it only took me about 30 minutes at the kitchen table to look up nice recipes. And after the first two weeks I found enough variations, inspiration and some lovely ideas for quite some healthy meals to come.
I would even prepare my next-morning-oats in the 3 minutes before I went to bed. This was total win-win: I would be ensured of a nutritional, quick breakfast and be able to spend those extra 10 minutes in my heavenly bed.
During the day, the fact that I already had my lunch with me in my bag made sure that I could spend my well-deserved 30 minute break in the sun, outside, instead of standing in line at a crowded, overpriced sandwich shop. So in the end: more time, more relaxation, better food and more space in my head for things that really matter.
CONCERN #2: BEING HANGRY
When I thought of eating healthier I also instantly thought of small plates, with some tasteless greens, not a lot of ‘real’ flavour and most of all: eating less. I was actually afraid of ending up killing one of my roommates out of excruciating hangriness.
In reality it turned out that eating healthier meant all the opposite:
I could eat more then I used to!
I had a huge, filling plate for dinner and could start the morning with some lovely oats that made me stay full until at least lunchtime. I ate as much fresh fruit as I wanted in between my meals, so I never had to be hungry anymore.
Because I ate more fibers, veggies and less processed foods my sugar levels stayed stable during the day, which made me a more effective, stable and more lovable person to be around (so I’ve been told).
Another big thing I learned was that there are a lot of seasonings that are healthy AND make your food taste awesome. Such as nutritional yeast, a splash of soy sauce or a simple homemade honey-mustard dressing instead of mayonnaise or ketchup.
So, no more being hangry, but being awesome instead.
CONCERN #3: EATING OUT
Living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, Amsterdam, makes for the fact that I go out to eat. A lot. Delicious, foreign food is literally around every corner. And with our busy city-lives we’d rather meet up with friends in a restaurant then having one person do the cooking and the hosting.
When I was considering becoming healthier, I could already see me and my salad sitting on my couch, just the two of us.. Thinking of my friends catching up over delicious burgers and me not being able to join because of my “newfound love for greens”.
ALSO NOT TRUE!
I learned that every restaurant has healthy alternatives! And I’m not just talking about some salad or veggie soup.
This newfound knowledge combined with eating slower that I normally did (because I always waited too long to eat so I was already hangry when I arrived at the restaurant), made that I was full after one plate of food. Even when it came to a dessert there was always a ‘better’ option. Sometimes I didn’t even crave sugar at all.
I learned to listen to my body better, so I know now when I’m full.
Now that I witness myself typing this I hear the “old me” in my head go: ‘Mhm. Yeah right.’ But it’s true. You have to believe me. If not, go see it for yourself.
CONCERN # 4: MONEY
It’s true that I now do end up buying some more expensive basic products, a lot of them are even organic, every once in a while. That being said, considering the amount of crap I used to buy every week, I now often spend less money (about 60 euros a week) on food!
It used to be a cookie here, a super deluxe sandwich there, an ice cream after dinner around the corner, some Indian take-away to celebrate, well, anything I accomplished that day. So I realized soon enough that the money-excuse was no longer valid.
Besides, buying less pre-packed foods and more organic products is good for our planet. And we kind of need our planet.
So there you go! The confessions of your least typical #fitgirl. If you are still not convinced: just try living healthier for 14 days! More greens, no pre-packed stuff, lots of fruits, oats and healthy types of carbs, less meat and less dairy. That’s it!
You will already feel so much better after 14 days that you will think back to this article and mumble to yourself: “well well well, what do you know, that girl from Amsterdam was right.” And then you will take another blissful bite of your home-made buckwheat mango curry. You’re welcome.
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