Recently I felt the need for a little bit of a health boost.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel well, I did.
It wasn’t that I overindulged and felt bad. I hadn’t.
I had, however, consumed more sugar and alcohol than normal, owing to one celebration or another, and wanted to counterbalance it a bit.
Also, if I’m totally honest, I wanted to avoid piling back on the pounds I’d unintentionally lost thanks to the famous virus.
I didn’t want to return to my pre-virus baseline but, if possible, leverage the ‘silver lining’ and maintain a new norm.
I knew that if I didn’t press STOP, there’d be the potential (as it goes at this time of year) to let things slide a bit.

What I usually do after deviating from regular eating habits is simply return to how I eat normally. But what I decided to do is give myself a three-day health boost. Calling it this gave me a new level of accountability with myself, which made me feel even more on board with doing it.

If you’ve tracked with me for any length of time, you’ll know my style.
It’s small steps over none.
It’s prevention over cure.

Body goals are not the devils’ work. Having aspirations and parameters for our health is a good thing.

As with all things in life, it’s at the extremes where it can get out of control. I like to feel strong, I like to feel well, I like to feel healthy and there’s an ideal reflection I like to see back in the mirror. So, if I can get myself to follow through for three days on something as easy as this, that just… puts…. the… brakes on a little bit, I’m going to do it.

Now I’m not here to advise you what to eat, at all! But I am here to encourage you to consider something similar for yourself if you know things have slipped a bit. I’ll do this by sharing what my regular nutrition looks like, and what I did and didn’t do in the three days.

The way we eat

When you work from home, food is never too far away. How many people do you know have struggled in the last 18 months with overeating? The struggle is real right?! When I’m out of the house during the day – I eat less and hunger doesn’t register the same, if at all. With the kitchen always on standby, it can feel like a Herculean feat of strength to avoid a visit, especially if you’ve only gone to make a cuppa and have time on your hands while the kettle boils.

Like most people, I tend to eat the same foods on rotation. Most of us stick to what’s familiar… which often means what’s quick and easy. We have go-to foods and well-embedded food habits. USUALLY, unless we’re deliberate about our weekly food choices, we go for the same old same old. It’s a bit similar to the people who choose to wear the same clothes on repeat… it eliminates decision fatigue.

One of my regular food habits I have to watch is peanut butter. Usually it’s eaten in spoonfuls straight from the jar with green tea when I break my fast around 11 am. Somedays I’ll have it along with almonds and blueberries, other days I’ll just have it with Goji berries. It’s quick and easy, and it fills me.  Some days that’s ok. Every day, probably not so much… and yet more often than not, it’s what happens because it’s a default habit (and I love peanut butter!).

In case you’re thinking I might be one of those people who’s take-it or leave it about food… I’m not.
I’m a FOODY. Like most of us, I lurve my food.
And I love big portions.
I don’t like the idea of diets or having to restrict anything that I don’t want to.
If you tell me I can’t have it… I’m likely to want it.
If I didn’t curb my gluttonous tendency, I’d be three sizes bigger and considerably less healthy.

There’s nothing wrong with being three sizes bigger

It’s worth me mentioning in case you’re new here, that whatever size you’re happy being, that’s your call. This post is in no way to judge or create shame around any preferred size or shape. I’m simply writing this from mine. I’ve been a size 14, and I’ve been a size 8. I know that I feel my best when I’m in control of my eating habits and that’s really what it comes down to. If you’re happily in control or not.

I also know that none of us can hate ourselves to a better place, I have control of what I consume when I lovingly tough-love myself to consistently make food choices that leave me feeling energised, strong and well.

The above said, about 15 years ago I created guidelines for myself in which I can enjoy food, feel as well as I always do, and maintain a consistent size and weight. I also have consistent energy from morning till night, 95% of the time, and haven’t seen the doctor for an illness for 7 years now.

Why discipline is worth it

Before we get into food details I want to encourage you one last time to think about how much energy is involved in your relationship with food.

If it exists quietly in the background of your life, then you’ve probably found, as I have, a happy medium. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to consciously commit every day to eating right, I do. However, if it’s a noise that’s up in the mix of your life then you’ll know it can be all-consuming.

When you’re consistently unable to show up how you want, it’s draining. It can cause you to think bad of yourself, question your worth and lower your confidence.  

On the flip side,

when you learn to hand your higher self the mic more often, your body listens.

Saying YES to what serves you better does get easier the more you practice it! The discipline isn’t natural, but it’s worth it to put to rest the exhausting yo-yo-ing of being ‘in and out of control’.

Motivation always expires. Outside of a significant occasion like a big birthday or vacation, most of us are not going to feel motivated to make better choices consistently. So, for our relationship with food to become and stay healthy, we must become ok with consistent gentle discipline. 

With that said, let’s get to the details. For any of you interested, I thought I’d include my food norms. It looks like this 90% of the time. If I’m hosting or visiting friends and family, it does not look like this. I will fully partake in the occasional indulgence without feeling bad – there’s nothing like wine and chips at the pub, my Mom’s chocolate refrigerator cake or a late night toast and marmalade!

My food norm

  • Start the day with a venti-sized bullet coffee (ground organic coffee, blended with unsalted organic butter, MCT oil).
  • Fast till 11ish.
  • Meals are low carb and mostly plant-based.
  • Salmon, chicken and sausages once a week (gotta love a quality sausage!) 
  • As a rule, my diet doesn’t include bread, pasta, cereals, starchy veg like potatoes, cakes, biscuits etc.
  • The only fruits I tend to eat are blueberries or goji berries, sometimes frozen banana, anything else I know stands to trip the sugar switch.
  • My general rule of thumb is that if it tastes sweet it’s got sugar in it, so I steer clear.
  • The pay-off to myself for all of the above is half a bar of 90% chocolate every night.
  • Alcohol I try to keep to between 2- 4 times a week. When I do, it’s two large glasses of wine/half a bottle (remember my penchant for large portions!) 
  • Hydration’s a big thing for me and has been since my twenties after hearing about how amazing it is for skin. I’ll consume one large water bottle a day which is 900mls and then drink green teas or peppermint throughout the day which easily adds up to another litre. I drink more water in summer.
  • As we know that the food we eat doesn’t contain the same nutrition that I used to years ago, so I top up my diet with magnesium, omega-3, collagen, gut bacteria, and vitamin D supplements.

When I’m less lenient on the above it’s not that I eat foods I normally wouldn’t, but that I snack on some of the above foods throughout the day… Which results in over-eating. To be specific, I’ll eat more peanut butter and dip into the tub anytime I feel like it throughout the day or help myself regularly to handfuls of nuts. I’ll also bend my rules and have wine more frequently, chunks of cheese whenever I’m peckish, marmite rice cakes slathered in butter while I’m cooking, etc. At certain times of the month I can be a complete food hoover! While I’m cooking a meal, I can eat a meal if I don’t enter the kitchen mindfully.

Because it’s food I already allow myself in my diet, I rationalise it when the reality is I don’t need it.   

My 3 Day Health Boost

So what do the three days look like?

In a nutshell: whole, pure foods. You could say, nothing that contains ingredients (with the exception of the 90% chocolate and yeast flakes which are amazing sprinkled on just about everything).
Fasting till noon and stick to mealtimes for eating (i.e no habitual sacking)
No alcohol.
I also skipped on any peanut butter for the three days to give my habit a break 😉.

Rough Meal Plan

  • Morning
    • Bullet coffee as normal.
  • Midday Food: Days 1 and 3: a thick juice
    • The ‘thick’ part means I blend in half an avocado, a tablespoon of linseed and a tablespoon of chia seeds to add some healthy fats and extra substance that’s going to leave me feeling fuller than if I don’t include them.

      My 2 Thick Juice recipes
      Day 1: Whole bunch of celery, one organic carrot, a third of organic cucumber, big chunk of ginger, big chunk of lime, juiced. Then, once it’s been through the juicer, blend the juice with half an avocado, a tablespoon of golden linseed and a tablespoon of chia seeds.
      On Day 3 I swapped out the carrot, for golden beetroot, and the lime for lemon.
  • Midday Food: Day 2
    • Grated veg and tahini current rostis I’ve shared to Instagram many a time.
  • Other food I have at some point in the afternoon: One large handful of almonds, and one of blueberries or goji berries.
  • Evening meals
    • For evening meals I concoct something from vegetables using plenty of spices or other whole extras like desiccated coconut, seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, tahini, lime juice… experiment with flavour! I add fats (eg, olive oil, truffle oil, avocado) to the dish at the end where possible. I will have salmon or chicken on two days if I know I’m going to want something filling.
    • Half a bar of 90% chocolate.

Possibly helpful footnotes:

  • Homemade humous would be ok to add to a dish or have as an afternoon snack because all the ingredients are whole foods.
  • Looking over this list, though it wasn’t intentional, the only dairy included is the teaspoon of butter in my morning coffee.

So, there you have it, I hope that’s helpful. Call it RESET or a BOOST, it’s simply something I’ve devised for myself to keep within my own health parameters. If you wanted to try something similar I’ll bet you probably don’t have to think too hard about foods you could cut back on, or could introduce in order to nourish and feel better.

📌 Let me know below what small step you’re going to take away from this.

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