I don’t believe in diets. I think they are a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Saying you’ll never eat pizza, ice cream, and potato chips again isn’t realistic and ultimately you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you diet, you will lose weight, but unless you actually enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll never be able to maintain it. You have to love the food you eat in order to stick with it. If not, the weight and the health complications (because carrying excess weight ultimately brings health complications) will come back, along with feelings of sadness and failure. There’s a reason it’s called yo-yo dieting: you go up, you go down, you go all around. I’ll save that kind of excitement for other areas of my life, because when it comes to your health and your weight, it’s no way to live.
So I say, scrap the diet and eat real food instead. Eliminate the store-bought processed version, which comes with a host of chemicals and additives, and make your own. Yes, it requires some work, but it’s really not hard, can taste delicious, and leave you feeling good and guilt-free. Not to mention the more you eat clean, the more energy you’ll have to do things like cook your meals.
The other key to success is Moderation. All throughout my youth (such a short time ago, sigh), my dad preached “All good things in moderation.” This is important. You have to live a little, indulge a bit, and enjoy life. But, there’s no need to be excessive about it. You don’t want to be greedy, and again you’re setting yourself up to crash and burn. You can’t eat pizza, even home-made, every night and expect to be healthy or lose weight. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t care what the infomercial says. There is no magic pill, potion or fairy dust. You have to eat good quality food in proper quantities.
Back before my clean eating days (only a little over a year ago), I found whenever I ate badly, not only did I eat too much of whatever I was eating, but ultimately I was hungry a short time later. It wasn’t good fuel, so my body kept asking for more. Not so, when you eat healthy food.
So my secret to success is I love what I eat. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or bland. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s your choice and what you do with it. My food is delicious (most of the time…not all the recipes are winners, but you gotta keep trying). We eat really well and the Hubby agrees. I know it’s not just talk either because he cleans his plate every night. So, I’ll say it again, I love what I eat, I look forward to every meal, making it and eating it, and this is the only reason I’m able to maintain my girlish figure. And, once you switch to eating clean (take baby steps if you have to (we certainly did)), you’ll find yourself craving real food and all the fabulous flavors it brings. You’ll stop craving and eventually no longer even miss the junk food, where all you taste is varying layers of salt, fat, and sugar. You’ll discover the few moments of pleasure derived from eating junk are not worth the aftermath and ultimately don’t really satisfy you, not in ways it truly matters. Think of that stuff like a one night stand. Sure, it could be fun, but don’t you deserve better.
Just in case you don’t believe me, here’s a recipe which not only allows you to indulge, but you can do so with a clear conscious. It’s chocolate peanut butter pudding made with…..wait for it….avocado (a healthy fat). Now before you scrap this recipe, you really ought to try it first. Believe me, I know it sounds really weird, and it even looked a little strange when I started preparing it. But, the end result is absolutely scrumptious, and you can’t even taste the avocado. I swear (Cross my fingers, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye….My God, nursery rhymes are violent. What kind of message are we sending to our youth. Sorry, I digress). The sole purpose of the avocado is for its creamy texture, and it helps it’s full of the good fuel our bodies need to operate at their best. Basically, the avocado is a rock star amount fruits. It’s considered the “world’s healthiest fruit, because of its nutrient contents such as vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, and reasonable calories in it.” They “contain “oleic acid”, a monounsaturated fat that may help lower cholesterol.” They are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. And they are good for the prevention and treatment of prostate and breast cancer. How many pudding recipes can you say that about?!
So the pudding is healthy, but it also tastes great too. Since making this little gem, the Hubby asks for it weekly, sometimes even daily. And he keeps saying, “I can’t believe this is good for me.” It is, but remember, “All good things in moderation.” It took me 30 plus years, but I finally learned Dad (most of the time anyway).
If you are brave enough to try this one, I promise not to say I told you so.
I found this recipe on Pinterest but it hails back to here: http://naturallysweetrecipes.blogspot.com/2012/04/creamy-chocolate-peanut-butter-pudding.html
Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding
- 1 Large Ripe Avocado
- 1/3 Cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1/3 Cup Agave sweetener
- 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup Almond Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Optional: Dash of Pink Salt and Splash of Maple Syrup (for added sweetness)
In a food processor or with a hand mixer, combine the ripe avocado and peanut butter until very smooth. Add the agave and mix well. Add the almond milk and cocoa powder. You can add a bit more almond milk or cocoa powder to reach your desired consistency. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla, salt and maple syrup if desired. The end result is like dark chocolate, which can be a little bitter, so I find the maple syrup cuts it just a bit. Continue mixing the pudding until all ingredients are well combined and you have a perfectly creamy pudding. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or eat immediately.
Update: If you leave it in the fridge for longer, it will almost turn into a solid. Have no fear though; remove it from the fridge and let it soften on the counter for 30 minutes or so. Give it a good remix with a spoon and you should be good to go.
Now, I love chocolate, but I’m not a purist, so I usually add some sliced strawberries or blueberries to give it an extra layer of yummyiness (I know this isn’t a word, but I think it should be).