About a month ago I was sick of feeling off. I felt bloated all the time and was a few pounds heavier than normal (which I didn’t care about). On top of that I felt anxious and fatigued. I’ve had bouts of healthy eating periods throughout my life before. So, after feeling fed up I changed my eating habits and life changed in a matter of a short time.
Let’s start with my former eating habits
Look, I’m not one to claim I eat perfectly all the time, but before changing my eating habits, I ate a ton of sweets and bad food. These were all high in sugar and fat. I do enjoy eating healthy so I would throw in a salad, chicken, or fish from time to time. On the flip side, I love a good burger or overeating some delicious Chinese food.
My habits included daily sweets and adding four pumps of super sugary caramel syrup to my coffee. I ate a ton of takeout like Chik fil A, Red Robin, and chipotle on the regular. I grew up in an Italian cooking household so I’m naturally obsessed with food. Overeating is something that comes super easy for me, probably like many others.
Until one day I couldn’t handle it anymore. My gut has been a mess for years, not to mention the increased anxiousness I had been feeling. It’s no surprise the two rely on each other and what you feed your gut directly feeds your mind.
Research is your friend
Feeling exhausted, anxious, and heavy all the time was getting to be too much. Then, I had another discovery. I noticed I was getting anxious mid-morning after I finished drinking my coffee. I also noticed that same anxiety return after drinking a pop at lunch. It drove me nuts because I had nothing to be anxious over but I still felt like shit.
I decided to do some research around what could be making me so anxious to ensure I could fix the problem. I found out there is a link to anxiety and depression with high sugar or artificial sweeteners. This may come as no surprise to you. But after seeing a pattern in my mood, I knew there had to be something related to sugar and pop.
I was drinking diet pop so the artificial sweetener is what got me there. Then I checked the ingredients in my Starbucks caramel syrup I put in my coffee every morning. I found out there was 21g of sugar in every serving (two tablespoons). I had been putting four pumps of syrup in my coffee every morning, equating to starting my day with 42g of sugar. Yikes! No wonder I had mid morning anxiety. I’m not saying sugar is bad, because we definitely need it as part of our diet. Excess sugar can definitely cloud your mind and cause unecessary anxiety.
Other eating habits I changed
After eliminating pop and the Starbucks syrup from my diet I took a look at what I was eating. I decided to opt for eating more meals at home even if it meant longer prep times. I eat out a lot not only for the way it tastes, but also for its convenience.
I decided to start by switching dinner to healthier options first. I bought some tilapia, salmon, chicken, brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, and brusslesprouts. At first, these options may not sound great, but stick with me.
Earlier this year I visited my best friend in North Carolina. She made these incredible veggies I knew I had to make at home. The best part? They were insanely simple. Throw your favorite veggies on a cooking sheet with some olive oil and salt. Then, bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. The results? The most incredible tasting food you’ve ever had. I’m not a veggie eater by any means and this is life changing! I actually crave it daily now.
Upon prepping chicken or fish, I use olive oil, salt, and my favorite spices for taste. Then, bake for 12 minutes (thawed out) at 425 degrees. Again, super simple! For the brown rice, I make it easy by using the Uncle Ben’s minute brown rice. These are the ones in the little microwavable containers. I add some lemon juice and seasoning to it for taste.
After nailing down a good dinner routine, I opted for healthier snacks and lunches. I aim to avoid as many processed foods as possible. I eat gluten and dairy free fig bars, home made peanut butter and banana smoothies, chicken, rice noodles, and hard boiled eggs.
Here’s what happened when I changed my eating habits for three weeks
At first, I didn’t notice a ton of changes. However, I definitely felt less bloated and didn’t have that mid-morning anxiety crash from the high sugar intake. Those were both simple wins in my book.
Then, after a few days I started noticing I had more energy and felt happier each day. I actually wanted to get out for daily walks and ensure I could move my body each day. This also increased my energy levels.
I am a productivity freak anyway, but I noticed my productivity increasing each day. I was getting more done and still being able to enjoy the things I love doing. My mind felt so much more clear without all the junk I was putting in my body fogging it up. Because of this, I was able to reduce the amount of time I was spending on each task in my work day to work smarter, not harder. This resulted in producing more efficient outcomes.
After about a week of changing my eating habits I lost a pound. I wasn’t paying too much attention to it because my goal was to feel healthier. Fast forward to current day and I’ve lost 4-5 pounds and feel so much better. I don’t care much about the number on the scale, I care about the way I feel at the end of the day.
It’s funny, when I started this journey around a month ago, I did it with the intention to feel better each day. I had no idea it would result in better productivity, more exercise, and a clearer mind. Not to mention the reduced anxiety. Changing my eating habits has dramatically changed my life for the better. If you’re feeling off, or not like yourself, I encourage you to try this simple change and see the profound difference it makes on your life!