We’re all always on the go. Working hard, tending to so many social obligations and, all the while, hoping to find some time to relax. And on top of that, we also want to be fit and healthy (and stay that way). So how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re always busy? Here are my five steps ; )
Be clear about why you’re doing it
Healthy eating is a conscious choice. You really need to want to do it. You really need to know why you’re doing it. Only then can you commit and stick to it. If you aren’t clear about why you’re doing it, you won’t be able to keep it up. The truth is, when you eat healthy, you feel better. For many people, healthy eating is all about appearance, to lose weight, for example. But it’s possible to eat healthy and still put on weight. I eat healthy because it gives me more energy. My skin is better. I glow more. I feel better about myself and, because of that, I am kinder to the people around me.
If you want to maintain healthy eating habits when you’re out of the house, you really need to plan ahead. Think about what you’ll be eating and don’t leave it to chance. If you’ll be in meetings all day, make sure that you have a healthy snack in your bag and if you’re heading to the office, bring a homemade salad with you. Another tip: know your places! For example, I live in Amsterdam and am often in New York and in both places healthy food is available on virtually any street corner. But when I’m heading to Antwerp, for example, a city that I don’t know as well, I always do a bit of research before I go to see if I can find places that serve tasty, healthy food.
Prepping is everything
Every Sunday (or any other day off) is prep day. On prep day, I always take a few hours to prepare some food for the coming week. This is when I bake bread or make chocosnacks, bars and banana bread. I slice up what I make and freeze it and when I want something to eat or something to take with me, I just take out what I need. That way I always have something healthy and tasty on hand and always have a snack ready to take with me in my bag when I’m on the go.
Prepping makes things a bit easier and more relaxed. On the night before or in the morning, I always chop vegetables like carrots, zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes and store them in separate containers. Then when I leave the house, I’ll take a bit of each, put the vegetables in a mason jar with some quinoa and a dressing, which makes an easy lunch. In the winter, when I feel less like eating salads, I’ll take a nice hearty soup I made the day before in a mason jar instead. It sounds like hard work, but once you’ve planned it in, you won’t want to do things any differently.
If you want to eat healthy, you also need to learn how to relax. You can eat as well as you want, but if you are highly stressed, your metabolism won’t function optimally. It’s important that you’re happy in your life and that you do things (besides eating healthy) that you enjoy, including being active. You don’t even need to ‘work out’ in a traditional sense if that’s not your thing. A walk out in nature is a good alternative. I believe that in addition to eating healthy, you also have to feel good about yourself. Of course there will be days when you don’t feel your best and you should listen to your body. If you feel you need it, try to get more rest and more sleep. If you keep going and continue on the path of too little sleep and no time to relax, you’ll be more likely to experience cravings, as your body will start to demand sweet and fatty foods. Being well rested and relaxed is key to maximizing your health.
Healthy eating shouldn’t become and obsession. You should enjoy it. If that means that you trade in your healthy choices for unhealthy ones every now and then, then that should be allowed. If you haven’t eaten fries in a while and feel like having some then you should have some. But if having those fries makes you feel bad because you only got them because there were no healthy alternatives and you didn’t have anything else with you, then you’re better off taking the time to plan and prep ahead of time to avoid these situations. Because, above all, I believe in happy eating: enjoying tasty food and eating it with love. And that tasty food can also include a greasy snack with everything on it every once in a while. If you enjoy it, then I say do it! It’s all about balance.
Foto: Anne Timmer
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