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Now that I am three weeks into my healthy November I wanted to go over some of the things that I have discovered about myself and my body. As I mentioned previously, I have been following a healthy living plan to help keep me on track. This is what I’ve learned following the 30 days plan.
Healthy eating is about more than just your five a day
This might sound ridiculous, but up until quite recently I had no real idea why specific foods were considered good and others bad, with the exception of obvious things like fast food and sugar. Having eaten bread, cereals, dairy and lots of other foods all my life, it never occurred to me that some of them might be causing me problems. Then I started to read into things a little and my mind was blown.
We all understand that vegetables are good. Lean meats are better than fatty, and grilled is better than fried. But I was rarely looking into what my food actually contained, nor was I aware if I was getting all of the nutrition my body needed. I figured things were fine because we cook most things from scratch and I rarely eat fast food, but I’d been trying to lose weight for a while and nothing was budging.
I had made the assumption that I was getting enough veg and healthy protein in my diet, which I wasn’t. My sugar intake was also far too high, partially because I was eating too much fruit. This new plan is teaching me what to eat and when. I’ve also learnt of some great alternatives to my favourite sugary and salty snacks that help me curve my cravings without going hungry. Toasted pumpkin seeds with a tiny bit of salt over them are a great substitute for crisps for example!
Your gut health means a lot
It turns out that your gut, or digestive system, is integral to…well pretty much everything else in your body. This might seem obvious to some but I had no idea. Of course, the healthier your gut is the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients from your food and get rid of anything it doesn’t want or need. That seems like common sense. Of course, you need to be eating good things that provide nutrients in the first place too.
Did you know that a healthy gut also means more energy, better skin and better mental health? This was something that shocked me a bit. I’ve been speaking to a doctor for years now about ways to improve my mental health and not once did they ask me about my diet. This one topic could be an entire post on its own, but when I made this realisation I really began to connect with the process and the things that I should and should not be eating.
Exercise isn’t necessary for change
This may sounds controversial to some as of course exercise is very good for you. I’ve come to find out that it is not necessary for change however. Over the past few weeks I have put all of my focus into my eating. I tend to find that taking on too many new habits at once can be overwhelming and so I chose to set exercise aside, intending to incorporate it at a later date.
If you have read last week’s post you will already know that despite making absolutely no change to my physical activity I have lost a considerable amount of weight and I can see a significant amount of physical change. Moving our bodies and getting our heart rate up is great for our health, but if our bodies aren’t fuelled well in the first place it is unlikely that we will see change.
I don’t NEED chocolate
Shock horror, chocolate isn’t a nutritional requirement. I honestly did use to feel like I needed it though. On the days when my emotions were all over the place in particular, chocolate was my vice. If you’re a chocolate fiend too, you’ll know exactly what I mean. I could easy devour a sharing bag of milky way buttons or a bar of oreo dairy milk. You don’t need me to tell you how unhealthy that is.
When I started the 30 day plan I made the decision that I was going to be strict and cut out everything that wasn’t allowed, cold turkey. That meant no chocolate at all for 30 days and I was panicking. Can you guess what has happened? I’ve been eating so well that I haven’t craved it once. Not once, in almost a month. My body is getting all of the nutrition it needs and so my brain doesn’t need to tell me to eat lots of sugar to feel better. I’m not being dramatic when I say that this one discovery alone has been a revelation!
30 days is no time at all
This point is a simple one, but it can make or break your decision to live a healthier lifestyle. One month is not a long time, yet it is long enough for you to develop new, healthy habits. If we set a goal for ourselves, but are not fully committed, it can take just days to begin to waver and that is when we tend to fall off the track and lose our focus. Changing your habits for the better doesn’t take long, but it does take a commitment. I imagined that 30 days would feel like a lifetime, but here I am on day 21 and the days have vanished.
Not only do I know that I will make it to the end of the month. I am going to continue practising these same habits into December and beyond. Yes I will enjoy some treats over Christmas, but this way of eating is no longer a challenge for me. It is now my lifestyle and I am so glad that I took that first step.
As I continue to practice a far healthier lifestyle my hope is that not only will I reach my weight loss and health goals physically, but that I can aid my mental health and energy levels too. Health now means far more to me than a number on a scale.