Many people – online and in real life – ask me for tips and suggestions for losing weight all the time. Some of their most common questions center on the foods I eat and if I follow a diet or specific eating plan. I don’t mind the questions at all and actually enjoy talking about my experiences (hence the blog). However, up until recently I would always respond to those questions with a generic “I eat healthier and watch my portions” and “no I don’t follow a diet or specific eating plan” answer. While these answers are mostly correct I now know people, when they ask me these questions, want and need more than that – especially those that are ready to start changing their lives.
Therefore, I put together a list of my eating guidelines. I like to think of these eating guidelines as the building blocks for my healthy lifestyle. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and not meant to serve as hard strict rules. Everybody is different and has a unique set of circumstances that determine what will work for their family. Also, please keep in mind that it took me time to discover and incorporate each guideline – changing your lifestyle is a process that takes patience. My eating and food knowledge has evolved over time and believe me I am not perfect nor do I want to be (I love cheez its to much). However, having a set of guidelines helps get me back on track and stay focused when I stray.
Organize Yourself Skinny Eating Guidelines
My guidelines are pretty simple. I don’t follow specific formulas or eliminate certain food groups. Basically, I track my calories and portions; majority of the time choose foods that are minimally processed, and don’t eat late at night. See simple. Let me explain.
Track portions and calories
I am definitely a watch my portions and calories type of girl. Why? Because then no foods are off limits and I don’t feel deprived. I typically make healthier food choices (I explain that more below) but if I want chips and cookies then I can as long as I keep track. Some people don’t like tracking – they think it is to tedius – but I disagree. I think it is a great way to hold yourself accountable and keep you intentional with the foods you are eating. Meaning it makes you think before you eat.
I use My Fitness Pal to track all my calories. It also has many other functions, check out the post I wrote on getting the most out of My Fitness Pal. As time goes on you will be able to reduce your tracking, but when you are getting started I recommend using it religiously.
Focus on minimally processed foods most of the time.
This way of eating is often referred to as clean eating or real food. Basically, this just means eating foods as minimally processed or as close to nature as possible.
Personally, it is impossible for me to eat clean and real 100% of the time. I am human, busy, and I like candy! So I try to implement a 75/25 rule. 75% of the time I make cleaner choices and the other 25% leaves room for flexibility. Please note, by flexibility I don’t mean going hog wild on cheese curls everyday – though some days I might so please don’t judge 🙂 I mean giving my best effort to eat healthy nutritious minimally processed food everyday but not beating myself up if I slip up.
I know I have already said this but please remember changing your eating habits takes time. Go slowly and gradually make changes.
Don’t eat after 7pm
This guideline might seem a little out of left field but it is one worth mentioning because it has really help make a difference with keeping my night time snacking under control. Once I am done with dinner all of my calories and nutritional needs have been met for the day. Therefore, anything else I eat after that point would just be extra. By not eating after 7:00pm I am able to prevent a lot of mindless eating from sneaking in. If 7:00pm is to early for you then choose another time. The purpose is to have a cut off point for consuming food.
Those are the eating guidelines I follow to create a healthier lifestyle for myself and family. If you are wondering how I prepare healthy foods for my family, work full time, raise a family, and run a blog? That is where organizing comes into play. I use menu planning along with make ahead and freezer cooking to ensure my family is eating nutritious meals each and everyday. You can read all about these topics on my blog – because that is all I write about.
Let me know if you have any questions.