How You Can Train Yourself To Eat Healthy, Mapped Out By A Nutritionist
Making healthy eating habits stick is hard.
That's why a lot of us get trapped in a yo-yo dieting cycle.
We go from chugging soda and stuffing Oreos in our faces one week to strictly living off of green juice and salad the next, expecting our bodies to feel better and the weight to fall off instantly.
Sticking to those healthy habits is never easy, but it can be done.
We talked to Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, celebrity chef and author of "Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan To Detox, Fight Inflammation & Reset Your Body" and voice behind The Healthy Apple about training yourself to eat healthy and making the habits stick.
First off, we asked if it's even possible to change our habits for the better, and Valpone told us about her 10-year struggle with cracking the code to being healthy.
She used to struggle with various health issues on top of having Lyme disease, and that made it difficult for her to feel physically comfortable in her own skin.
Valpone had to make major lifestyle changes just to feel good in her body.
It took a long time to train herself to eat in a way that kept her body healthy and happy, but she did it.
And she explained how we can do it, too:
Ten years ago, I wasn't eating badly, but I wasn't eating organic. [Removing] the chemicals from my life was a huge wake-up call. And that's what changed for me. The changes you make don't have to be drastic. It can be a small switch from crystal lite to seltzer and lemon juice.
Eating healthy isn't complicated. You have to start by looking at your current diet and seeing what needs to change.
It will never work if you make a major switch cold turkey.
Why? Because even just cutting back on your daily intake on sugar or coffee will make you feel irritable and weird, making a relapse more likely.
The first five or six days of getting off Splenda and diet coke, you realize you're addicted to these foods. What I'm learning now through research is our brain has chemical reactions to the food we eat. We get a dopamine rush from certain foods, which trains your brain to crave those ones.
Training yourself to eat healthy is a matter of getting your brain on board, too.
Valpone explained that any method of getting rid of chemicals in the body is a form of detox, even if it's just cutting out sugar.
[Detoxing] simply means removing the bad stuff from your life and eating more organic, clean whole foods. It means not consuming chemicals, additives and pesticides. Those have to go through your liver, and detoxing gives your liver less work to do. Organs are built to detox, but it's 2016 and we're bombarded by more toxins than ever before from everything around us. We need to be more mindful of all these imbalances. [About] 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut. The gut is the hub. So if you're not eating clean, whole foods, you're going to end up with symptoms like bloating, acne or indigestion.
Eat more of the foods that are good for you and less of the ones that are full of chemicals and sugar.
It's one thing to know how to change, but making those changes stick can be more difficult.
Valpone offered some awesome advice to make healthy habits stick:
The number one thing I tell everyone, even my celebrity clients, is once you see life this way, you'll never go back. Once you [figure out a healthy lifestyle] where you feel amazing every day, why would you go back to eating crappy foods? It's not worth it. There's not a piece of pizza or cupcake in the world that I would eat to give up for feeling amazing.
It's true. Why would you screw up weeks of hard work with one weekend of crap eating and drinking?
How your body feels after eating healthy is way better than the taste of pizza.
We also asked Valpone what people should avoid when they're trying to change their lifestyles for the better.
And her advice doesn't just apply to what we eat and how we treat our bodies. It can apply to any aspect of life.
Stop comparing yourself and looking at what works for everyone else. You have to take back your power. I gave my power to doctors, healers and nutritionists for 10 years before I realized that you know your body better than anyone. Trust that. Own that. Know that. We look at Instagram to see what other people are doing. Someone's doing a green protein powder and someone's doing a supplement. If red meat makes you feel good, eat red meat. If eating vegan makes you feel good, do that. Different people heal in different ways.
The main takeaways? Start with small changes. Make the changes stick by appreciating the results enough to avoid relapses. And stop comparing the health habits of others to yours.
Do what feels best for you, and the rest will fall into place.