“I have been battling diabetes and high blood pressure for the past year. At the suggestion of my nutritionist, I’ve had to make a lot of changes to the way I eat. No more takeout and pizza deliveries for us! My wife has been incredibly helpful, cooking super-healthy, delicious meals to help keep my medical situation under control. She’s a great cook, and I love eating with my family. But there’s one problem with my new diet: I may not exactly be following all the rules. I used to pick up a bagel loaded with bacon, egg, and cheese on the way to work, but once my health problems were diagnosed, this was quickly replaced with a bowl of oatmeal. Well, at least in theory it was replaced. In actuality, I was eating oatmeal at home with my family, then driving off and picking up the same old breakfast I always ate and sneakily eating it at work. Because one healthy breakfast cancels out a disastrous one, right? Wrong. Sometimes I would even stay late at work to justify ordering Chinese takeout, then, keeping it a secret from my wife, eat a second (healthier) dinner at home. Eventually the guilt got to me and I confessed to my nutritionist, who greeted my admission with some mild laughter followed by a healthy dose of chastising. Needless to say, we’re coming up with a new diet.” — Anonymous
No wonder this sneaky man’s cholesterol was as high as ever, even after months on his new diet! We know that eating right can be a challenge, especially to those with old, unhealthy habits, but there are ways to help yourself get used to a healthy lifestyle. Firstly, don’t deny yourself the things you truly love, and be honest because the only person in the end that suffers is you. Moderation is key. For someone who just loves a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, eliminating it completely is going to be nearly impossible. Instead of having one everyday, however, consider having it once every other week. Once your palette adjusts to the fresh, natural ingredients of healthy meals, the high fat, high sodium foods won’t taste as good as they used to. Another way to wean yourself off prepared foods is to cook takeout favorites with a healthy spin. Our Chinese Chicken Rice Bowls found in Appetite for Life, HarperOne, on sale September 2012, get a thumb up from kids and adults, too!
Similarly, pizzeria pizza tends to have a lot of cheese and oil. Make our grilled Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (also in Appetite for Life) very low in sodium compared to store made brands. Top it with your favorite veggies and go light on the cheese. Eventually, you won’t even miss the greasy versions you used to adore. Remember: it’s your health and it’s more like a marathon than a sprint, so set a more realistic pace and you’ll feel great in no time.
– Stacey Antine, M.S. R.D., founder and CEO of HealthBarn USA
Do you have a confession to share with Stacey? Want to learn how to improve an unsavory habit? Send your stories our way to [email protected], and Stacey will help!