Did you know that more than 53 percent of Americans skip breakfast at least once a week and 12 percent never have breakfast at all?
I used to fall into this category. I would wake up late, mozy around until late morning, have a large lunch, and a snack until dinner time. Obviously, this lifestyle was only prominent during my college years. However, not much changed once I got into the real world. Let's just say my diet was the lower end of my to-do list.
Once I got into the swing of things, I started noticing my weight declining. Which was weird... I had always been skinny growing up but the freshman 15 seemed to stick with me. I was in a new relationship– will get into that on a separate (lengthy) article– starting a new job, with a new apartment, in a new area of NYC.
Thankfully, I am not a stress eater, quite the opposite. Which is what definitely triggered the BMI change. However, I really didn't think my weight was a problem until everyone started commenting on it.
At one point I weight roughly 105 lbs, thinking nothing of it.
I have always been somewhat self-conscious, but that quickly skyrocketed the second I was introduced to the lifestyles of my new college peers. From lavish Hampton houses to Cancun spring breaks, I felt a little out of my element. Growing up in a small town in CT, I was not exposed to many of these new NYC perks. Therefore, I was gaining some extra pounds in the meantime.
As you can imagine, I was pretty grateful when I shed the unwanted inches without so much as lifting a finger.
BUT just because you're skinny, does not mean your healthy. I started losing my hair, my gums started receding, and my wine tolerance went completely out the window. My period completely stopped, some bodily functions were not working as well as they were supposed to. I knew something in my life needed to change. I decided to focus on something that I could control–my diet.
I wanted to make sure that I became my healthiest self. I started reading self-help books and nutrition plans. I knew my energy was the most important part. After searching far and wide for the best advice, I came up with my own routine:
Every morning, I pack in the protein and fiber. This keeps me full until lunchtime rolls around. My breakfasts typically include:
- 1 small cold brew iced coffee with skim milk and a tbsp of agave nectar
- Yogurt with sliced fruit, 1 tbsp chia seed and 2 tbsp sunflower seed (lightly salted) topping
- -Two dried figs or an apple
All are subject to change, depending on my mood and cravings, but any variation will always include some kind of high fiber and protein content. These items are essential to optimum productivity in the AM. My weakness is donuts, for some odd reason, I think they are God's gift to planet earth. So every once in a while (at least once a week), I will indulge in a vegan doughnut from Cinnamon Snail (PSA).
Here's a secret: never count the calories on fruits and vegetables. Life is all about balance. You will always go over your daily calorie intake if you count these. Why count them? Fruits and vegetables are your main source of all nutrition necessary for your body to be in tip-top shape. Natural sugars do not count.
Lunch and dinner are also very important for you to maintain energy throughout the day. Lunch should always include a clean organic meat or fish with a healthy carb and side of veggies.
Mixed veggie kale salad with grilled chicken and homemade lemon dressing, side of sweet potatoes.
I never forget dessert. Sweets are my weakness. When I am able to control my cravings, I will always reach for some dark chocolate covered almonds or dried dates (hits the spot every time, not to mention full of antioxidants).
The most important thing I learned from focusing on a healthy diet is that having control over the things you put into your body makes you feel more confident and self-assured. You feel energized and in control of your daily routine. This might seem minimal to some, but for those who have gone through the ups and downs with their own body image understand that being confident and comfortable in your owns skin means a world of difference.