How to say yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to dieting

I have a confession, I am addicted to Pinterest. Though I must add in my defense, there are far worse things to be addicted to! I limit myself to only using it when I need some “pinspiration” on a new recipe or motivation to get to the gym. But sometimes it just gets the best of me and before I know it, I’ve spent the next hour infatuated with other people’s creativity. The other day, Luke and I were having our daily exchange of funny pictures, belly laughing videos, and motivational quotes. Luke had found a quote that said

(Source Heart and Soul Fitness)

At first I had to ponder over this quote, and then I found I absolutely loved it. Often times people will use the “You only live once” phrase to pressure people to give in to temptations and try something they normally wouldn’t. I’m not saying this is a bad thing all the time and I’ve often used it myself as a reason to live life to it’s fullest and not miss out on any opportunity. As a way to go outside of my comfort zone and try new things. But I’ve also found myself saying “I can enjoy this treat, I only live once after all.” But if you say that every time there is a dessert or a treat you want to eat, the “you only live once” treats can start to add up. Especially around the holidays! So think about it this way.

You live your life everyday. Shouldn’t you enjoy everyday to it’s fullest? That means taking care of your mind and body as well. If you decided to treat yourself to a shopping spree, you wouldn’t spend all of your money during that shopping spree, right? Instead, you would look at your finances, figure out how much you need to save to pay bills, purchase groceries, and what you need to put in savings each month and from there would calculate how much you can spend for leisure. Treats are the same way. You don’t want to spend all of your daily intake of calories on treats and leave your body with no healthy calories for you to function, right? Here a few tips on how to eat healthy and also enjoy your favorite indulgences. After all, you only live once, don’t deprive yourself while in the process of living your life.

Eating healthy, while still enjoying sweet indulgences

1. Everything in moderation. I think it all comes back around to this statement. Even the most healthy foods can be bad foods when eaten out of moderation. It’s also important not to deprive yourself of your indulgences because this can lead to overindulging when you do finally eat them.

2. That leads to my second tip. Don’t limit and deprive yourself. Occassionally it’s good for you to have that slice of cheesecake or devour that appropriate portion of pasta. But remember once again, everything in moderation. Enjoy these meals and savour them as treats and rewards for making healthy choices.

3. If you do overindulge, and lets face it, we all do at times! Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t allow it to stop you from making a healthy decision next time.

4. No time like the present. The sooner you start making healthy choices, the sooner you’ll start having a healthy mind and body.

5. Do not go on one of my least favorite words….a diet. I looked up one of the definitions of “diet” and found it to say this.

di-et (v.)- Restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.

           (n.)- Such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight: No pie for me, I’m on a diet.

No pie for you! That’s pish posh. I bet even Michelle Obama has pie on Thanksgiving. Source Quipster

I don’t believe in diets, but rather in choices and decisions that allow one to live a more healthy and active lifestyle. If you go on a “diet” for 3 months and get to your target weight, then what happens? You can’t go back to what you were doing before you started dieting because you can end up gaining even more weight in the long run. But, if you make one healthy decision that leads to a lifetime of healthy decisions, then you have developed healthy habits which have an everlasting positive result on the health of your body.

6. Store healthy foods in your house and avoid purchasing processed, sugary, fatty foods that you know aren’t good for you. When you have healthy food in your house, you are going to make healthy choices.

7. Cook more, eat out less. Cooking your own meals allows you to control what ingredients go into your foods and the nutritional aspect of it. Also, cooking with friends and family can be a great way to bond and discuss the events during your day! Nothing like a good kitchen chit chat.

8. Try not to focus on calories or the number on the scale. Rather, eat when your body says you are hungry (aim for 3 meals and 2 small healthy snacks a day) and focus on how those foods make you feel. If you are eating right, your body is going to feel better about yourself and you are going to love what you see looking back at you in that mirror.

9. Keep hydrated. Sometimes when we think our body is saying it’s hungry, it’s really just thirsty. Drink water throughout the day and enjoy a glass of water before meals. This helps with portion control. I like to carry a Nalgene water bottle around with me so I always am keeping hydrated.

10. Portion control. Our portion sizes have become quite enormous over the years. Read packaging labels and look into what the appropriate portion size is for you.

11. Make your meals rich in protein and complex carbs. These will leave you feeling satisfied and keep your metabolism up.

12. Everything in moderation. I emphasize this again because it’s very important in living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t deprive yourself and make sure that the foods you eat leave you feeling energized, happy, and healthy!

This morning I woke up early to get in my workout and cook the overnight french toast for the Girl’s Brunch this morning. For my workout I did a 30 minute cardio session with a little abdominal work on the stability ball and worked my shoulders. Boy were they sore from those burpees yesterday!

Overnight Whole Wheat Baked French Toast

1 loaf of chosen bread (I decided to resort to keeping this somewhat healthy by going with a honey, oat, and nut whole wheat bread)

6 egg whites

2 cups almond milk

1/4 cup Truvia

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon


Combine above ingredients. Slice bread into pieces or fold bread over one another and place into a 9 x 13 baking pan sprayed with canola oil. Pour mixture over the bread, cover, and place in refrigerator over night.

Topping ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (I may be adding more, being the cinnamon lover I am!)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp coconut oil


Combine topping ingredients and store in a separate bowl overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle topping over bread that has been soaked in the egg mixture over night. I decided to add in honeycrisp apples over the top at the last minute. You can add whatever fruit you would like.  Cover with tin foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove tin foil and lightly drizzle Agave Maple Nectar over the top. Place back in the oven, still uncovered, for another 30 minutes. If you prefer the french toast to be softer, leave in for less time.

Warning: The devine smell will cause your house to smell as if your grandmother is baking her secret apple pie recipe and may cause you to salivate out the sides of your mouth. Also may cause unexpected visitors from the neighborhood to come knocking at your door. You’ve been warned.

Well, I’m off to brunch with the girls and then Christmas pictures with my sister! Family tradition, I think my parents make us do it to humor them while they laugh at us as the lady at JCPenny’s tries to take us seriously and make us pose like we’re 6-years-old. Oh boy!

What sort of holiday traditions do you have that you just can’t give up, no matter how old you get?


7 thoughts on “How to say yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to dieting

  1. I love this post Gen! I have struggled for a long time with “diets” and just recently I am discovering that adopting a healthy lifestyle is so much better and it is crucial to not only losing weight but staying physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy and strong. So I completely agree with you on this one. But what is your take on “sprints”? Sometimes the motivation to feed my body with healthy foods dwindles when I feel like I am not reaching my goals fast enough. So every once in a while I will follow a really strict eating plan to jumpstart the results I want and then rather than overindulging in my favorite “i’m off my diet now” foods I will try to simply return to what I call maintenance phase and continue that healthy lifestyle. Do you think that’s a good idea? I would love to hear your opinion 🙂

  2. Thanks Emily! Initially, it can be difficult to incorporate these healthy habits into a lifestyle because we want to see immediate change and we want to see it now…but in reality it pays off to do a slower progession and it’s healthier for your body as well. I’m not completely familiar with “sprints”. Is it a type of diet? I tried to look it up and couldn’t find any information on it. What I like to do sometimes is do a body cleanse (not the pills or liquid diets) but rather just eating completely clean foods for about a week. It includes a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits with protein and complex carbs. I love it because even if you continued eating this way, it would still supply your body with the adequate calories and nutrients it needs but flushes out all the bad toxins. You also don’t risk the “yoyo” effect if you do start to add a little sugar into your diet occassionally. That’s my take though! Does that help?

    • Yes that does help! Thanks 🙂 By “sprints” I mean the same thing as when you are jogging along and then pick up the pace for a little bit to get a little further in less time (or reach the finish line) and then go back to jogging – but with dieting rather than actual running. I would equate it to your one-week cleanse that you just described, but perhaps longer than a week. When you were preparing for Miss Idaho were you already pretty fit and just had to change up a few things or was it a pretty monumental lifestyle shift that you had to go through? And did you start super early in the year and just slowly build/maintain your fitness or was there ever a time when you had to do a “sprint” or two?

      • I have always lived a pretty active lifestyle due to both my parents being very active when I was growing up. However, it wasn’t until I started competing my senior year that I become very interested in health and fitness. I started to develop a lifestyle where I worked out on a regular basis and ate healthy as well. Then, about 4 months out I ate a little more strict and increased my workout intensity. Over the course of those 4 months I would gradually increase the intensity and frequency of my workouts and make my eating more clean with subtle changes in my nutrition to make it more strict, but still healthy. I didn’t really have any sprints in my nutrition, just made sure to eat very clean 🙂

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