Before the coronavirus pandemic, I attended a networking event where the topic was centered around Health and Wellness. The majority of the attendees were middle aged women from a variety of industries, none of which were related to Health and Wellness except for the guest speaker. It was not a surprise that many listed eating healthier and exercising more as goals. What was curious to me was hearing their stories about how they have struggled with weight and diet while watching some of them pour heaping teaspoons of sugar into their coffee. They talked about keto diet, reducing intake of certain foods, and so on.
Their comments echoed the struggles of many Americans, and more so this particular group of predominantly Hispanic women who were raised on high calorie meat centered meals. I hear of these issues, but am not closely impacted by them. Growing up my parents served home cooked meals nightly. They were a mix of Chinese food, Cuban food, and other. We always varied and no dinner was complete without veggies. Dessert was fruit. I didn't have a Cuban abuela who made sweets. The only pie I ate was pumpkin pie. Ice cream was a once in a blue moon treat. After school snacks were carrots, grapes, apples...
Friends would say I was deprived of the good stuff. I would say otherwise. It's all I knew and to this day I would much rather eat fruits and veggies than any heavy or processed foods. Clean eating is my lifestyle. It's not a sacrifice or hard to keep up with when it's your norm.
You may be thinking it's not something you're accustomed to, or that you can't do it. YES YOU CAN! Start slowly. Instead of drinking a glass of a sugary drink with lunch and dinner, cut back to half a glass each time. Then a couple weeks later, cut back to just lunch. Then scale back some more.
You can do the reverse as well. Let's say your lunch is typically a ham sandwich. Try adding a vegetable to go with it. Fried french fries don't count. It should be something raw like sprouts. They are a great way to incorporate more veggies into your meals. They're loaded with vitamins and nutrients so a little goes a long way. You don't need to sacrifice by cutting anything out. Just add a handful of sprouts to what you are already eating.
In addition to altering your meals, add in a little more movement. I'm calling it movement rather than exercise, which to some is a dirty word. If it's less than 4 stories, I will take the stairs. If running an errand nearby, I will ride my bike. If buying a small amount of groceries, I will carry them instead of use a shopping cart. I'm not moving for the sake of exercise. It's part of the day so it's unconscious exercise.
Little by little you will change your lifestyle. Just be patient as it takes time and dedication. Once you notice how great you feel, you will never go back. Keep at it and ask your friends and family to check in on you. Keeping you accountable also helps.
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