Little changes, big impact

Happy place
Happy place

I’m not a fan of the phrases “detox”, “cleanse”, or “clean eating”.

I find them to be vague, physiologically inaccurate, and usually a front for a weight loss scam. Your body has a natural detoxification system – it’s called your liver. For me, a healthy diet is a balance of foods that are good for your body and others that are good for your soul.

While I don’t like the idea of cleanses or diets, I do believe in reevaluating my behavior and making changes if the way I have been acting isn’t serving me to the fullest extent (a good principle for life beyond food as well).

My diet has varied quite a bit this summer. There were a few weeks of stress-eating large quantities of dark chocolate (oh hey Trader Joes Pound Plus bars) followed by weeks where I honestly didn’t have time to eat anything other than salad.

I’ve been pretty consistently tracking my diet using MyFitnessPal and it’s been interesting to see how the way I’ve felt, both physically and mentally, has changed along with the way I eat.

I’m the first to admit that I can be a creature of habit. For a while, I had gotten into a routine that was really working well for me. Lately, I’ve noticed my good behavior slipping and habits that don’t work as well for me are popping up instead.

My game plan is to try to reincorporate some of the good habits I had picked up earlier this summer to get myself back into a place where I’m feeling my best. I know this next week is going to be an especially rough one and I want to make some changes to make it as easy as possible.

  • Go for a walk in the morning. Moving around in the morning, even if it’s just for 20 minutes, makes me feel like I’ve started my day on the right track.
  • Cut back on the coffee. One of my problems with coffee is that I like to have something sweet along with it. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying in coffee shops lately. Coffee and a pastry has become a regular afternoon habit instead of an occasional treat.
  • Get my sugar from fruit instead of refined sugar. This was one of the changes that had the biggest impact. I noticed that once I got used to having less sugar, refined sugar actually tasted too sweet and I didn’t crave it any more. Now that I’m back to eating more refined sugar, the cravings are back and it makes me feel awful.
  • Keep tracking my food. I really like that it helps hold me accountable.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Yogurt and fruit has been a big one this summer.
  • Focus on self care. It may sound silly but when I invest time in myself and my body, it reminds me to appreciate myself and care for myself in other aspects of my life as well. I’ve been using a simple homemade body scrub (used coffee grounds+sugar+canola oil+vanilla extract) in the shower lately and it makes my skin feel incredible. Body lotion before bed is another nice way to take care for myself.
  • Make sleep a priority and take a few minutes to relax before bed. In college, I’ve drastically reduced my recreational reading and I like the idea of taking 10 minutes to read a book for fun before I go to sleep.
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