As you’re strolling through the mall, smelling the delicious food, you suddenly feel that all too familiar grumble in your stomach. What do you do? Do you stop and buy something to quiet the craving? Or do you have a snack prepared that you know will satisfy your stomach and follow your lifestyle?
If you often find yourself eating things you should avoid, try packing yourself a small bag of nuts or a lunch-box of veggies before you go out. The grumble in your stomach is a sign of withdrawal from sugar, not hunger. Make sure you’re consistently eating foods that are high in protein, high in fiber, and are nutrient dense. Broccoli and kale are full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but they have very few calories. Nutrient dense foods will fill you up and help you stay full until you’re ready for your next filling meal or snack. Beans, nuts, vegetables, and seeds each contain ample micronutrients. If you find yourself craving something sweet, fruit should be your go-to, whether you make yourself a smoothie or carry an apple or banana with you.
Being prepared for the day and the week ahead are key to success! Be sure to keep plenty of ready-to-eat veggies in your fridge. They are easy to chop and store for a week at a time. A pot of bean soup will provide an easy lunch or dinner, and beans never fail to be filling and delicious. If you are ready to follow a complete meal plan and/or exercise program, here are several great options: https://thesculptedvegan.com/learn-with-kim/
For an idea of how many calories you should be eating each day, whether you want to lose fat, maintain your weight, or bulk up your muscles, this calorie calculator is a great tool:
https://thesculptedvegan.com/macro-calculator/ At the bottom of the page are images to help you identify your body fat percentage, and you can customize your meal plan if you know what you want.
If you already follow the plan, but you struggle sometimes to keep going, consider adopting a more mindful eating practice. Some days you may be busy, too busy to notice the great food you are eating, what it tastes and smells like, where it came from, and how it looks on your plate. As often as you can make time, try to enjoy the food you are eating. Notice the taste, smell, texture, and culture of the dish. Do you have fond memories of this food? If not, try to make room for positive experiences.
The more you eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, the less you will feel the symptoms of withdrawal: a headache, fatigue, stomach growling, and weakness. Symptoms are a warning from your body that it has not had the nutrients it needs, or it is suffering because of a sugar crash. Processed foods and foods with a high sugar content lack essential nutrients and fiber that your body needs to keep moving.
Starting to eat properly can be exciting and fun! It can also be a challenge at times, but perseverance is the key. Pack yourself a bag of mixed nuts and veggies, eat them mindfully, and never underestimate the resilience of your amazing body.