“This is common when I begin working with Betties,” said Betty’s Healthy Living expert, April Keeland, RN, BSN. “Their biggest roadblock is either feeling overwhelmed with what step to take first or going zero-to-100 with changes that simply aren’t sustainable.”
The goal here is to create a lifestyle, not a streak, of healthy eating. That’s why we asked April for the simple steps she recommends to get started.
According to the CDC, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugars daily. *woah* And we’re not just talking about your sweet treats and candy culprits. Sugar sneaks in through your drinks (we’re looking at you, Starbs), packaged foods and takeout. It’s no wonder we’re addicted! And that’s why breaking the obsession by decreasing sugar is critical to preparing a healthy landscape for your body.
On average, we down an extra 100-200 calories when eating out. But calories aside, fast food chains create a flock of scenarios that sabotage healthy eating goals: We tend to eat heavier meals, go for multiple courses (apps & dessert) and throw back liquid calories (helloooo, margaritas!). Set an eating-out budget for two or fewer meals out a week. Your healthy eating aims are less likely to be swayed when you are preparing your own food.
While most foods that make it to the grocery store are processed in some way, what we really want to get away from is the high-calorie, high-sugar foods that lead to nutrient-deficient diets. Take a look at a food’s label – if it’s a mile long and you can’t pronounce the majority of its ingredients, opt for a product made with more nutrient-dense ingredients.
SWEET SIPS & SODAS
Beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. We’re talking soda, yes, but this also includes fruit juices, energy drinks, and those frappa-mocha coffee drinks.
Don’t fall for the “diet” trap. Drinks marked as such are often no healthier despite their marketing. And often, they contain just as much junk as the “regular” version!
The toxicity of diet culture revolves around what you’re losing, what you should, need to, and must lose to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Sounds pretty miserable, right? We want to reframe the narrative. Cutting out triggering behaviors + foods that can detour your goals means making space for what your body needs. So let’s fill it up with the nutrients + habits to get you there:
Why all the fuss over cutting out sodas? Because once we stop depending on those for hydration, we can make room for the mother of bevvies: ~Water~. Now how much exactly? That recommendation will vary Betty to Betty. Every body has unique needs! The goal here is: drink when you’re thirsty, and make water your go-to.
Meaning, foods that are in their most natural state. When whole foods are the main characters on your plate, you maximize the benefits of all those nutrients! Up your daily fruits + vegetable intake to 5-7 servings and eat a nutrient-dense meal whenever possible.
Hot tip: Keep your cart on the perimeter of the store when grocery shopping. Think about it, this is where you’ll find your eggs, meats and produce – the whole foods hot spot!
And this is related to eating how?….
Betties, when you cultivate an awareness of your surroundings, you are conscious of what you are eating and why, who you are with, and how you feel.
Mindfulness could look like: acknowledging your state of being, setting boundaries between work, family, and self-love. Exercising, going for walks, yoga or Pilates. Journaling or meditating. Some Betties might need a scheduled time during the day to focus on what you are doing at that moment, others can relax and unwind by stepping away from a task, read a book, or doing a selfless act.
This mental exercise is crucial for creating a healthy relationship with food.
Now don’t get it twisted – no magic pill will do the heavy lifting if you’re not doing your part to fuel your body properly, but taking a high-quality multivitamin can be helpful for nutrient gaps in your diet.
“I recommend taking a multivitamin to give your body a little *umph* of extra support,” said Keeland, RN, BSN. Here are a few brands she recommends: Primal Harvest, Ritual, One-A-Day Women’s Petites, and Thorne.
Much like how much water we recommend, what supplements would benefit you best are unique to your body and lifestyle. This is where working with a Healthy Living expert can really serve you by evaluating the specific nutrients/supplements to back your whole-self health.
You can’t hack your way to healthy eating, Betties. But you can start by mastering small habits that set you up for a lifestyle you can (and want to!) sustain.