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Part one highlighted ways to prevent overindulgence at holiday parties and special events. Now, I’d like to get a bit more personal and share 3 ways my husband and I replaced binge eating habits with healthier options.
It might look like Team Valentine embraces a wellness lifestyle, but it was a looong road to get here! It’s taken my husband and I years to find realistic ways to make wellness work, and we continue to modify “what works” throughout different stages of life.
One major contributor to boosting our well-being has been finding effective ways to break free from the binge eating habits that defined our youth and post-college years. Slowly, over time, we have replaced overindulgent habits with more flexible and health-centered options. Here are 3 lifestyle shifts that were essential to our success.
1. We got off “the wagon”….for good.
We have this culturally acceptable idea that if we choose to eat a high calorie or low quality meal it means we have “fallen off the wagon.” Even worse, we end up being hard on ourselves and feel as if we are no longer dedicated to our health.
This mindset can inhibit us from meeting our goals because one "off" meal can lead to days or weeks of consuming unhealthy foods. Back in the day I would use this phrase as an excuse to continue eating poorly for an extended period of time because, well, I had “fallen off the wagon” and just wasn’t quite ready to get back on!
We can set ourselves up for success by first and foremost refusing to buy into the wagon mindset culture. We can instead recognize that one off meal won’t break the bank AND in some cases those extra calories and sugar can even fuel our physical activity!
However, it’s one thing to no longer speak of the wagon and another thing to actually live a life free from hoping on and off for joyrides. It’s these next 2 strategies that really helped my husband and I shift our lifestyle.
2. We purposely place our splurges and plan follow on physical activity.
If we stop to ask ourselves “Is this worth it for me?” and we find the answer is “Yes”, then we can take the time to savor and enjoy the occasional off meal as part of our wellness lifestyle. However, it goes without saying that if we want to lose a certain amount of weight or PR our next marathon we will have to choose our indulgences wisely.
One tactic that has helped my husband and I enjoy guilt-free indulgent meals and still meet our goals has been to make sure our bodies put some of those bonus calories to good use. For example, we recently had a getaway night to Rehoboth Beach, DE. On the car ride down we down we came up with a game plan that included devouring our favorite beer and nachos. However, also built into our plan was a lot of movement, like exploring the town by foot and running our favorite trails.
Here are some other ideas to try:
When planning a night out with friends suggest activities that involve walking, like exploring a downtown area, festival, or local bars by foot.
When planning a date day, aim to make it less about the food and more about the fun! Ride bikes, learn how to dance, go to the gym together, kayak, or explore a new park.
If your family tends to eat less healthy on the weekend, work to create healthy weekend habits, too.
Research local active things to do, find a new favorite hike, create a routine morning or evening walk, plan a trip to the park, or play active games. Check out this article for creative ways to exercise with kids!
3. We redefined our splurge.
Slowly, over the course of years, my husband and I worked together to find healthier substitutions for our favorite treats and “splurge” meals. Since we LOVE pizza we now we make a homemade veggie-packed pizza with a gluten-free and chickpea blended crust. We’ve even had success getting our kids on board with lentil pasta and protein shake “ice cream.”
Does your family love tacos? Substitute greasy restaurant and prepackaged options with engaging your family in preparing a fresh taco meal. By experimenting with new recipes and healthier store-bought varieties, you can find substitute meals everyone will look forward to. The best part is when health and performance goals are on the line, you can rest assured knowing you are giving your body energy-filled, nutrient-packed food that contributes to your goals!
You've got this!
My husband and I found these 3 lifestyle shifts resulted in an improved sense of well-being that was more addictive than the junk foods we were engorging ourselves with. Over time, weight loss and performance improvements followed. I believe this is possible for you, too. When it doubt, remember:
1. Wave goodbye to the wagon.
2. Purposely plan & move.
3. Redefine your splurges.
Struggling with a spouse that isn't quite ready to make healthy changes with you? This article is for you!
Looking for ways to encourage your kids to be healthier eaters? Check out these simple tips.
And because I did personally struggle for many years with emotional overeating, please seek the care of a qualified healthcare professional or check out the National Eating Disorders Association if you think you might need some extra help.
Team Valentine Project is all about sharing realistic, simple, and science-based ways to make wellness work. Check out all our TeamValentineProject.com articles and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for extra wellness tips and tricks.
Together, we can take small steps that create a resilient foundation of health and happiness.