This post is brought to you in partnership with the American Heart Association, who I’ve frequently collaborated with to help bring my readers research-backed resources to encourage healthier lifestyles for us all! That being said, all opinions—as always—are my own.
What does it look like to make the decision that today, and for the rest of your life, you’re going to take deliberate steps to live healthier, think healthier, and be healthier?
When I first started my weight loss journey, I knew very little about weight loss or living healthier, but I knew one thing: I didn’t want my quest for weight loss to jeopardize my quest for a healthier life. I didn’t want to take any more jitters-inducing pills, or buy any more scummy miracles, or any other misery-inducing and wallet-reducing products. I wanted to do it the right way—by figuring out what I was doing wrong, and how I could do it in a way that made me healthier and happier, for good.
So, when the team behind the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good initiative reached out to me, I was so happy to step up. The website for the initiative, available at www.heart.org/HealthyForGood, is full of recipes, easy-to-understand graphics, and helpful videos to make the transition to a healthier life far easier than it was for me years back. The easier and more accessible these tools are for the everyday public, the better for us all.
In fact, while scrolling through the content on the Healthy For Good website, it was like taking a trip through memory lane, with so many of the tips there reminding me of the steps I had to take to achieve my own healthy living successes. Here are a few of my favorites:
1) More veggies, less meat. Besides the fact that the average person does not come close to consuming the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and besides the fact that the average person’s meat comes from fast food restaurants that frequently mixes their meat with fillers to make it cheaper, and besides the fact that the meat is often fried…the less meat you eat, the more produce you can make room for in your diet (and your wallet.) Pair that with some delicious lentils, beans, or chickpeas, and you have a healthy, delicious, and flavorful meal that will fill you up and keep you satisfied… and maybe help you shed a pound or two in the process.
When I first started my journey, I struggled with being able to afford all the things I thought I needed in the beginning too, so I decided to cut back on the meat eating until I could get my budget game together. Before I knew it, everything made sense—both for my wallet AND my health.
2) Make use of healthy swaps. So much of weight management is about habit—some things, we’re just used to having, doing, and thinking. The fact that those habits are sometimes associated with less than healthy foods means our natural auto pilot frequently drives us down an unhealthy pattern. We can interrupt those unhealthy cycles by swapping out the foods we’re used to with healthier substitutes and, eventually, it’ll help us drop that bad habit altogether.
3) Read all your labels. So much of what I learned about food—where I could expect to see a ton of calories, where I could expect to find lots of protein, what kinds of fat were hiding in the foods I loved—came from studying nutrition labels on all the products I put in my cart. (Check out How to Read a Nutrition Label here on #bgg2wl!) One of the most jarring things I learned in the beginning was about serving sizes—literally, as I unwrap the salad I purchased and the dressing that came with it, the dressing says “30 calories,” but the serving size says my tiny 3-spoon salad dressing is TWO servings, meaning it’s actually 60 calories. The number of products that the average person eats all by themselves—a pot pie, a pack of ramen noodles, and so on—with nutrition labels that show that the product has double or, in some cases, triple the calories you see on the wrapper is jarring. That 512 calorie pot pie is now actually 1024 calories. Did you expect that when you sat it down in front of you, ready to be devoured whole?
Read. Those. Labels. It’s the most effective way to help you eat smarter and live healthier.
And read the Healthy For Good website, too! It’s chock full of good info—tips like what I’ve shared here, and videos to show you how to make it happen.
Check them out on social media:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AHAlivehealthy
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AHAlivehealthy/
- Website: www.heart.org/HealthyForGood
I plan to help the world—and my family!—eat smart by using non-frying cooking methods to feed my family! Want to try a couple? Check out my oven-fried chicken thighs and my recipe for corn, chickpea, and cod ceviche!
How do you plan to eat smart?
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post belong to blog name and do not necessarily represent those of The American Heart Association unless explicitly stated.