Now that I have completed my thirty day cleanse I have gathered up some tips to share and hopefully remind myself of what I want to be doing.

1. If you are planning on increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you eat, brush your teeth more. The increase of acids can make teeth and gums sensitive. I would also recommend a toothpaste with baking soda; it helped me a lot.

2. If you have decided, or need to for health reasons, cut something out of your diet, don’t try to make new versions of old favorites right away. I’ll give an example. Let’s say you are removing dairy from your diet. For the first month don’t buy the substitute dairy products, or try to make vegan versions of favorite dishes. Make all new things, try different types of foods, and new recipes. The reason for this is twofold. One: if you wait a month, the non-dairy substitutes will taste better because your memory of the ‘real thing’ will have faded some. Second: if you are constantly trying to recreate favorites and they don’t taste the same, you will feel a lot more deprived because of what you are giving up. So for the first month of a new diet (and I mean change to a healthy diet not a fad to drop weight before an event), have fun experimenting with new recipes and wait to recreate favorites until that first month has passed.

3. Greedy eaters (don’t turn away from the computer you know who you are . . . ) You are the person who unfortunately lives with other people, and therefore there are others who eat your food. Normally this isn’t an issue, but when something yummy is served for a meal you overeat so they don’t eat it all! Oh, I’ve been here many times. Rod will serve something delicious for dinner, and I eat it all, maybe even lick my plate clean, and I’m full. But I want more, because it tasted good and because I don’t want my kids to eat it all! So I go and get more even though I’m not in the least bit hungry. Don’t worry, I have a solution: containers. Instead of getting seconds, get a portion-sized container and put some away for later. Don’t worry – if your family twitches when you get the container out of the cupboard, it just means the training with the cattle prod was successful and they won’t be touching your food. 🙂 Now that you have your second serving safely stored in the fridge where no one will touch it, you turn and glare at your family who all twitch slightly. Oh, yes, your food is safe. You can go about the rest of your night. You could eat it later or you could have it tomorrow for lunch. I adore leftovers for lunch. But the point is knowing that you have the option of eating more later will hopefully keep you from overindulging in the moment.

4. Eat the fruits and veggies first. A very common and healthy way to reduce calorie intake is to eat more fruits and veggies, which is fabulous. However, if I end my meal with a salad, I might feel deprived. I find that if I eat my salad first, then ‘fill up’ on the main dish I feel more satisfied. By eating fruits and veggies first I fill up on that lovely fiber. Then when I eat the main dish, I feel full faster and emotionally satisfied. I’m not eating small portions of the food I really enjoy then forcing myself to eat salad after because I can’t have any more. Don’t get me wrong, I love salad, but if I want to eat a small portion of homemade mac ’n’ cheese, I need to eat my salad first. Otherwise, I will go back for seconds.

5. DVR your shows, or watch them on DVD. I counted and in a one hour show there were twelve food commercials. You don’t need those constant taunts from food which typically look a lot better than they taste.

6. Stop watching food porn! As much fun as Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives is, watching it won’t help you stick to your new healthy eating choices. Unless the show is about cooking meals in your new plan don’t watch them, just skip over those channels, maybe watch sci-fi: those movie certainly won’t make you hungry.

7. Listen to your own body and do what is right for you. I know that I feel better when I don’t eat dairy. I am not saying that you must give up dairy, but that is what works best for me. What works best for you? I tried going slow, being gentle with myself, and going for my goal slowly didn’t work for me. I needed something more drastic to help break my unhealthy emotional eating habits. But what do you need? Will adding more fruits and veggies or reducing portions a little at a time work best for you, or do you need to do something more intense? Both are fine as long as you have support and help to make sure what you are doing is safe. Only you know what you need; trust yourself.

8. Buy new dishes, pretty dishes, small dishes. Seriously, perception is everything. If you are used to piling pasta all over a large plate, then you start measuring your portions, you will feel deprived when you see so little on your plate. If you get some nice dishes that are smaller, your new portion size won’t seem as much of a sacrifice.

9. Sleep. Getting enough sleep is so important to living a healthy lifestyle. You might be rolling your eyes, but when you don’t get enough sleep, your body starts looking for fuel to burn, aka food. And I honestly have yet to meet someone who goes looking for a nice salad with lean proteins when they are tired. No, you get a fancy coffee drink, then a huge pastry. But the carb loading doesn’t stop there, because all of that was too sweet so now you need something salty, to balance everything out. Next thing you know, you’re eating a sandwich made of Nutella and potato chips! When tired, your body craves fast-burning fuel, and you don’t have the emotional or mental strength to put a stop to those cravings. Please get enough sleep, it will make everything so much easier.

10. Find a physical activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a hard-core cardio or muscle-building activity, just something. As good as it feels to lose weight and put on a pair of jeans that you hadn’t been able to squeeze into for a while, it feels even better to improve in something you love. When you lose weight you are able to walk faster, stretch deeper, you don’t lose your breath as quickly, your movements are cleaner, and all of these little things translate into being better at something you enjoy.

11. Emotional eating is expensive, so why are you trying to make your self-nurturing cheap or free? When I make a list of things I can do to reduce stress, take care of myself, or simply enjoy, I always try to make a list of the cheap or free things I can do instead of emotionally eating, but why? Sure, I can’t afford to get a massage every day, but when I get overly stressed out and turn to emotional eating I don’t buy just a candy bar. I also get a bag of chips, order a pizza, then Chinese food, then I want some ice cream, and the list goes on. Emotional eating doesn’t actually help, so I just keep eating. And this gets really expensive. So imagine you are starting to feel stressed and instead of getting that first ‘treat,’ you make an appointment for a message, or a pedicure, or plan going to the movies, or whatever it is that will help you feel better and truly nurture yourself. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you were properly taking care of yourself?

I hope these tips for a healthy lifestyle help, and please share your own. What works for you? What do you need to have to stay focused on the life you really want? What tips can you share for living healthy?

I am out of town, we’re taking all the work kids to beach then I go to a drug awareness workshop so I won’t be back until June 22nd. Please leave comments, I promise to respond as soon as I get back! I can’t wait to see what you said.

And of course since this is Monday we need some music. This is one of my favorite Shakira songs, I love playing her music when I clean it makes it go faster and I get some shimmy practice in 🙂