Coach Jennifer here letting you know that there’s no need to force yourself to drink protein shakes or eat brussels sprouts if they’re just not up your alley. Your wellness journey should be fun, not a chore. When you don’t enjoy the foods you eat or the exercises you do, it becomes difficult to feel connected to your journey and maintain it for the long haul.
The best advice I can give is to focus on what you love instead of what you don’t. This may be a case of trial and error to begin with, but I promise, it’ll be worth your time and effort.
If you look at a meal plan and your first thought is, “Eew!” it might not be the meal plan suited for you. Perhaps you think, “This is restrictive but I can do it,” which may indeed be true, but most of us only manage to stick to restrictive diets for a few days or weeks. In both scenarios, we start to lose motivation after a while because we just aren’t passionate about what we’re doing.
What happens next is common. You either fall off the wagon and feel guilty about it or, if you somehow manage to stay on track, and feel miserable thinking about eating that way long term. My sage advice is, your “healthy” diet isn’t so healthy after all.
Avoid the stress and follow a meal plan full of recipes you love. If you adore potatoes and mozzarella cheese, then make sure to include them. Some of the foods commonly missing from restrictive plans actually contain added health benefits and can help you to reach your goals — as long as the portion size is controlled and they are paired with other healthful ingredients.
With 8fit app, you have the option to select ingredient preferences. It’s up to you to include or exclude specific foods, but we definitely won’t ask you to replace meals with shakes, to skip carbs or buy lots of “light” or “diet” products.
Now I’m not telling you to ditch your veggies and eat pizza or pasta every day. Vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are essential. However, just because kale is trendy and healthy doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to eat it if you don’t like it. Spinach or broccoli have similar nutritional benefits, pick one of those instead.
You’ll see these kinds of suggestions in the 8fit app. You can choose to have sweet potato instead of regular potato or tofu instead of salmon. If you don’t like the meal at all, you can browse through the 8fit recipe book and replace it with something that tickles your fancy. It’s healthy made easy.
Restrictive meal plans only work if you love them
I recently read a book by neurologist, Gerald Hüther (sorry folks, it’s in German). In it he shared his study on fasting. He followed participants for three weeks as they eliminated solid foods. Hüther was expecting to see the cortisol levels (stress hormone) decrease after a few days of fasting, however results were uncertain.
Some participants showed lower levels of cortisol while others showed higher levels. So, what was the problem? When the hormone cortisol is elevated long term, the metabolism of fat is impaired and instead stored in the abdominal area. Hüther wanted to find out why the stress hormone was elevated for some individuals even though they were following the same diet as other low-stress participants. Turns out, a good mood and positive feelings towards a diet play a crucial role in stress and therefore in fat storage. Individuals with higher stress levels neither happy nor excited about their new food journey, so they experienced feelings of anger. Not especially healthy, huh?
In summary, if you decide to follow a diet that bums you out rather than revs you up, you may be elevating your stress hormones, which can make it harder to reach your fitness goal.