How to Eat Healthier in 2017. (First step: unclog your brain...)

Megan Dahlman
January 11, 2017

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How to Eat Healthier in 2017

​Last week we kicked off the new year. Twenty seventeen, momma! Can you even believe it? I have heard from many of you that “This will be your year. It’s going to be so much better than 2016!”

​That’s great! But what does that mean?

Most likely, it probably means that you will eat healthier this year. You might feel some regrets from the way you ate last year, and you’d like to clean things up. Or maybe you felt like you did eat well (for the most part), but struggled to see results.

So, let’s tackle this together. I’m going to break it down into separate steps based on where you’re at personally, at this moment.

Let the Unclogging Begin.

First, we need to strip away what you know about nutrition…the stuff that might be clogging your mind. We tend to get information overload with nutrition. We need to make this simpler so you can last for the long haul.

Here are 3 things I need you stop worrying about right now:

  1. Counting. Counting calories, counting servings, counting points, counting macronutrients. Just stop counting. It's tedious and you can't do it forever.
  2. Forbidden foods. If someone tells you that you can’t have something, you’ll immediately want it more. This backfires. There is a time and place for every food.
  3. Distracting details. These will really clog you up and make you more confused than ever. Sugar, gluten, organic foods, GMO’s, red meats & cholesterol, meal timing, detoxing, supplements, and more. Don't worry about this stuff right now. Trust me.

These things may come back into the picture at some point, but chances are you have been far too worried about some of this stuff that you’re missing the big picture.

Ok, now that we’ve stripped some things away (take a deep breath and let it go!), let’s put the good information back in.

Basic Nutrition. Like, really basic. 

Step One: For Beginners. Begin here if you’re starting from scratch…if you need to bring it way back to the basics.

  1. Eat meals. Basic, right? But so many moms fail to do this. We make sure everyone else is fed, but we forget to feed ourselves. Consequently, our bodies (especially our metabolisms) suffer for it. If it’s a mealtime (breakfast, lunch, dinner), you eat. If it’s not a mealtime, you don’t eat. Feel free to add in one or two planned snacks as well.
  2. Eat your PRO’s. You hear me say this constantly, but nothing makes healthy eating simpler. If it’s a mealtime, you eat PROtein and PROduce. Some protein ideas are eggs, poultry, fish, meat, and dairy. For produce, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables…fresh is best.  
  3. Eat healthy fats. Yep, I’m putting this under Step One because it’s that important. Start to prioritize a variety of good fats. Some healthy fat ideas are nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives, fish, and avocado.
  4. Drink water. Lots of it. Are you drinking some right now? Go get it…I’ll wait.

Step Two: For Intermediates. Begin here if you feel like you’ve already mastered the habits already listed. The following strategies will help to dial it in even more.

  1. Eat whole grains and other starchy carbs when the time is right. In general, your body handles starchier foods best when you eat them soon after a workout. If it’s not a workout day, stick to your PRO’s and fats. (Click here to learn more about carbs.)
  2. Avoid processed foods. This really cleans it up. Do your best to make most of your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. This does not mean it needs to be fancy or labor intensive. It just means you’re not eating out packages anymore, smoothies and protein bars included. (This habit right here singlehandedly eliminates junk food from your diet.)
  3. Avoid beverages that contain calories. Don’t misunderstand my intentions here: I’m not suddenly placing an importance on calories. This habit simply clumps all the not-good-for-you beverages into one category and teaches you to stick to water, tea and black coffee. Diet sodas obviously don’t contain calories, but it’s best to wean yourself off these too. Calorie containing beverages are juice, milk, froo-froo coffee drinks, soda, and alocholic beverages. 

Step Three: For Advanced. This is the fine-tuning stuff. Begin here if you have mastered the habits already mentioned and still want to see more results.

  1. Follow the 90/10 rule. Eat according to the habits outlined above 90% of the time, deviating and “splurging” only 10% of the time. This means that if you eat four meals a day, equaling 28 meals per week, you would splurge at only 3 meals. (This is rough math, but you get the idea.) So, at only three occasions per week you would eat whatever you wanted (burger and fries, pancakes with syrup, crackers and wine). You can see why this is fine-tuning…this is getting tough. Click here to read more about splurging. 
  2. Pay attention to portion sizes. Dialing in your portion sizes can make a big impact if you have plateaued after implementing all of the habits up to this point. I have a great article that explains an easy method of ensuring that you eat enough of certain foods, but not too much. Check it out here.  

Keep it Simple. 

Most women will do just fine up through the habits listed in Step Two. You may realize that you never even need to venture into Step Three until you hit a plateau and need more of a boost.

Personally, I hang out just with the habits through Step Two and rarely think about the 90/10 rule or portion sizing unless I feel like I’ve really let things slide, which is rare because this becomes so habitual and easy.

And that is my goal for you. To reset your ideas of nutrition and bring it back to the basics so that eating healthy becomes second nature. Strip away any of the unnecessary information that is clogging your mind and come back to the simple stuff. Eat meals. Eat your PRO’s. Get in some healthy fats. Drink lots of water. And then maybe worry about dialing it in a little more.

It’s not just going to be your year, it’s going to be your life. You can do this, momma. I’m sure of it.

Is this totally refreshing for you? Does this nutrition approach give you hope that you might actually be able to do this!? Then you'd love the Strong Mommas Membership. I teach you how to eat healthy, day in and day out, without dieting. I give you new meal plans every month and daily support to keep you on track. Click here to learn all about it.

Hey, guess what? You can start showing up for your body in simple ways, right now.
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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
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