Image credit: terriseesthings
I have wanted to make a change my diet for some time now, mainly due to the fact that I have been eating way too much sugar and too many carbs on a daily basis.
That’s why I was thrilled to stumble upon a free online training (sorry, in Finnish only) about changing your eating habits and integrating weight-exercising into your daily life.
Although I’m an athlete, my eating habits have been more or less optimal. And since I have slowed down my exercising pace a bit but kept eating the same way, I realized that I gained weight and obviously, I wanted to get rid of it again.
But the weight loss is just one part of the story and my experiment was about testing whether eating less carbs and sugar would actually made me more productive. That’s why I’m not focusing on my weight and my waist in this blog post.
Top-5 lessons learned during the experiment
Image source: eriwst
I think that doing these experiments teaches you valuable lessons, so here are the ones I learned during this challenge:
1. You have to adapt the eating based on your situation
One size doesn’t fit all and this is true especially when it comes to eating.
We are all individuals and having the exact same kind of nutrition plan for everyone is just impossible. And even in the cases when a food might be good for you, you have to understand your own environment and your unique situation first.
In this very case, the core idea was to have enough protein my morning smoothie that would postpone the hunger for a few hours. And even though this seemed to work at first, at some point I started to feel hungry just two hours after eating my smoothie.
At first I didn’t understand why a smoothie, which at first was fulfilling, wasn’t adequate for my needs anymore. I soon realized that this change was probably related to a change in my exercise ritual.
When I started the challenge, I was doing weight training by using mainly my own body as resistance. However, during the later part of the experiment, I started running and cycling and this replaced the weight training completely.
Because of this change, my energy consumption increased and I started feeling hungry after some hours of eating breakfast.
So, I added a second banana to my smoothie and I also started eating a one piece of bread with turkey and a boiled egg in my breakfast.
With this adjustment, I was filled enough and it kept my hunger away from 8am till noon.
2. Motivation matters
I used to eat either porridge or a plate of granola, two breads, a glass of orange juice, and a cup of coffee for my breakfast. With this diet, the whole meal was very quick to prepare.
With a smoothie, making the breakfast took much longer. Yet I kept doing it as I loved the taste of the smoothie and I knew how healthy it would be for me. Besides, eating a smoothie took the porridge/granola/orange juice option out of the menu, so I was happy to this change as well.
I understood that if one really wants to make this change happen, he/she has to be motivated to do some extra work. I think that whenever something takes longer to accomplish or there are more steps involved, the greater risk for procrastination.
Fortunately, this wasn’t the case and I kept doing the smoothie morning after morning, feeling good about myself. Eventually I started preparing the smoothie automatically (without pondering should I eat granola or not), thus indicating that I was moving towards a new habit.
3. A morning smoothie habit could be your family’s habit
Here is the deal: I’m not drinking the smoothie all by myself and one glass of the approximately 7 glasses total goes to my wife.
This is a nice way to add a healthy diet component for the rest of the family. I would probably offer this smoothie for my son too, but he (2.5 year old) hasn’t been too fascinated about his dad’s experiment and is sticking with his regular breakfast plan :)
4. You get a good dose of “greens” without realizing it
There isn’t a better way to start your mornings than with a healthy breakfast. Also, it’s great to realize that you are getting part of the day’s greens in a form a smoothie almost without realizing it.
This is, of course, good for your well-being (the ingredients were in addition of hera protein and water, some romaine/oak leaf salad, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, an apple, and a banana), since you are starting your day off healthy.
5. It’s a great way to replace some grains and sugar on your diet
We already touched on this topic a bit, but it’s still worth mentioning again: Having a smoothie can take some sugars and grains off your diet.
In my case, after leaving out a juice and granola, I was able to replace them with healthier components. Knowing that these components were left out made me feel even better.
The results were two-fold, and whether this test was a success or not depends how you look at it.
You could say that the experiment failed, since I incorporated eating a piece of bread (with turkey and a boiled egg) to my breakfast at the end of the trial period. In that sense, I wasn’t able to eat the whole month with just a smoothie alone.
However, the main benefit was that I was less tired during the morning hours. I felt that I didn’t yawn as much, and I’m willing to say this was due to eating less grains in my breakfast.
Other than feeling less tired, I felt pretty normal when it came to my work. Things were flowing as usual and I got work done the same way as before.
I would also like to add that depending your smoothie, your results could be different. There are a lot of smoothie recipes (please note that I haven’t tested all of these) out there and depending of your ingredients, some could bring more energy into your routine than others.
Anyways, I managed to implement a new healthy habit to my life and I will keep doing the morning smoothie from now on. I might even consider having a similar kind of smoothie in the afternoon.
In closing, the experience was a positive one and I’m happy to recommend this habit for everyone!