In the past few years I have been trying to become a better version of me: a healthier, stronger and more energetic person. Learning to listen to my body has been a life changing experience because of what it has taught me about myself. This is an ability that I will benefit from as my body changes over time; for instance, due to metabolic or hormonal adjustments.
Exercising has been a staple in my life. I workout on a daily basis and I have run a couple of marathons and half marathons. My diet was a different story, however. During my better-version-of-me journey I have tried many things, but I will highlight the most important lessons in my personal experience:
- Avoid sugar and processed foods
- Embrace healthy fats
As most of us, I have been living my whole life being afraid of fat. Actually, I was terrified of fat! I used to eat the “light” versions of everything, which means the processed versions of everything and, also, the overly sweet versions of everything because usually reduced-fat foods enhance their flavor by increasing their sugar content.
While I felt I was doing the right thing, my sugar cravings were out of control. There is nothing wrong with having a sweet treat from time to time, but this was way too much! Indulging in these cravings made me feel bad physically and emotionally. Afterwards, I would try and compensate by eating something “light” and guess what? My sugar cravings would appear again!
I started to research a little and read about the benefits of including healthy fats in your diet, especially for women. I was skeptical, but also wiling to give it a try. I have always loved peanut butter, but I did not eat it because of how fatty it was. I said to myself: Why not? Let’s do this! Goodbye Nutella and hello peanut butter!
Including healthy fats in my daily diet made my sugar cravings disappear almost entirely and, incredibly, I have never been leaner! A small portion of these fats will satisfy you for a long period of time and, if combined with a balanced and nutritious diet, it will help your body burn more fat than it used to.
How did I include fats in my daily diet?
As I obviously have a sweet tooth, nuts have been my main allies, particularly nut spreads. They are very versatile, perfect to create delicious breakfasts, snacks and salads. Of course, it is very important to control portions: a couple of tablespoons per day are enough.
The bottom line is: Try to learn what suits your body, even if (or especially if) it involves trying new things. You might be amazed to discover that it is the things that you were scared of that can bring you closer to becoming the better version of yourself.
Marianne da Silva