Healthy Eating Habits For 2015

Having a New Years resolution that doesn’t revolve around “losing weight” is relatively new for me. Every year, for as long as I can remember my dream on January 1st would be to shed 20, 30, 40 or even 50 pounds so I would be prettier, happier, healthier, etc. This last year, 2014, has been the first in my entire life when I was able to maintain a happy, healthy, and reasonable weight and I am excited that I get to have a different New Years resolution for 2015. Note to anyone who may have a resolution to lose weight: You CAN do it! It’s going to be tough and sometimes your cravings for chocolate and ice cream will be stronger than those for apples and almonds, but you will achieve whatever weight loss goal you set out for yourself. Take it from someone who has lost 80 pounds herself!

Now, just because weight loss isn’t my goal for 2015, that doesn’t mean that I have my relationship with food all figured out. I am a very fast eater, I am generous with my portions, I may be addicted to Larabars, and I eat nachos far too often than I should. Oh, and there was a time this summer that I was chugging cans of Root Beer after my long runs… Please don’t tell my Coach! Since being diagnosed with a wheat allergy, I have experienced a new level of anxiety around food and that has definitely contributed to some less than ideal habits. I have big athletic goals in 2015, including my first Olympic and Half-Ironman distance triathlons and I know that the way I fuel my body will directly contribute to the way I perform as an athlete.

Rather than labeling the following list as “resolutions”, I want to think of them more as “things I’d like to try” in 2015. If something doesn’t work, I’ll move on and try something else. But if conquering my sugar (chocolate) addiction helps me perform better on my swim/bike/runs, then I’ll consider that a habit I’d like to keep.

Practical Paleo1) Explore a Paleo Diet. Since going gluten-free, after being diagnosed with a wheat allergy, my diet has definitely shifted towards a more Paleo way of eating. A typical day for me includes eggs and sweet potatoes in the morning, salad with protein for lunch, and then meat with veggies for dinner. I still eat things like oatmeal, rice, quinoa and other wheat-free grains, but they play a much smaller role in my diet than before. I just ordered 2 copies of Diane Sanfillipo’s Practical Paleo, one for me and one for my Mom, and I can’t wait to dig into this book, learn some new recipes, and see how my body responds.

2) Eat Slower. If you’ve ever eaten a meal with me, you know I am usually the first one at the table who is finished. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at home with my boyfriend, or out at brunch with a table of hungry runners, I can scarf down a plate of food at an alarming speed. As I mentioned before, being diagnosed with a food allergy has contributed to a heightened anxiety around eating, and sometimes I eat fast just to get it over with. Since my wheat allergy was such a fluke, I worry about new food allergies popping up randomly and getting another allergy attack that will send me to the hospital. I know that eating fast isn’t good for me, and it often leads to overeating as I go for seconds before my body knows I am full. This year I’d like to make a commitment to break this habit and enjoy my food at a more thoughtful pace.

babycakes nyc3) Break my Sugar Addiction. At any given time, you will find 2 or 3 chocolate bars in my purse. Seriously, I have a dark chocolate coconut, dark chocolate mint, and Cadbury milk chocolate mint bar in there right now. I love sweet things. One of my favourite treats is birthday cake and fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), options for gluten free cake are plentiful. Just this Halloween, I ordered a Halloween Cake from Bunner’s Bakeshop. No one needs to eat cake on Halloween, no one. Put a bowl of gummy bears, or Skittles, or jelly beans (my fave!) in front of me and I will mindlessly eat them until my stomach hurts. It doesn’t take long to find an article, like this one in Macleans, warning us of the dangers of too much sugar and how too much is quite literally killing us. A few of my friends have taken the Fed Up 10-Day Sugar-Free Challenge and it is something I am committing to in January as well.

Changing habits is never easy, but I’m hoping by putting my intentions out there into the world, I will be more successful in making these changes! Everytime I want to reach for that extra piece of chocolate, I’ll think of this post and how I want to be able to report my success and not my failure at the end of January!

Are you planning to try anything new with your diet in 2015? Let me know in the comments and we can hold each other accountable.