As I was flipping through a health and fitness magazine a few days ago I stumbled across an ad that instantly grabbed my attention. The ad read, “I don’t ignore my sweet tooth I outsmart it”. The photo was of a woman sipping on an artificially sweetened drink (ick!) walking past a cupcake stand with the hashtag “tiny win”. Ugh! For some reason that whole message totally bothered me.
The ad portrayed the complete wrong idea about health. To sustain a long-term healthy lifestyle, listening to and connecting with your body is key. Not ignoring it, not outsmarting it, but really understanding what it needs. Cravings and desires are positive things that should be embraced and listened to. They’re actually our body’s way of communicating with us. When we force ourselves to try and be satisfied on diet food we lose touch with true pleasure and satisfaction. Our internal cues that prevent us from overeating go out the window and we become totally disconnected from what our bodies truly need. So why the heck would we even think about having a diet drink when we really want a cupcake? Sadly, so many people have this way of thinking and it comes from the diet obsessed society we live in.
Living your life based on “tiny wins” in my mind seems like you’re just trying to get by (aka continuously dieting). The idea of “tiny wins” is more about tricking or cheating yourself instead of taking the small steps necessary to create a solid foundation. After awhile trying to just get by doesn’t work anymore. Most of us don’t have the willpower to deprive ourselves long term (why would you even want to live like that anyway?). Eventually we all fall back into the habits we have created for ourselves. So it’s important to create healthy habits!
Here are two habits that have helped me shape my own healthy lifestyle.
Eat Real Food (tons of leafy greens)
A diet (as in what you eat, not how to starve yourself) filled with lots of plant based foods and plenty of leafy green veggies is the ultimate way to create a solid baseline for a healthy lifestyle. Creating your body’s baseline allows you to better be in touch with what you really want and need. Greens help keep cravings in check so every time you pass a cupcake bakery you’re not tempted to stuff your face with sweets. However, once you create that baseline you’ll know when you really want that cupcake. Then you can indulge in your cravings and move on with your life post cupcake bliss right back to those greens! You don’t have to settle for a less-than-satisfying version to get by.
Trust me it’s not as scary as it sounds. With a solid healthy baseline to work from you won’t have those overwhelming eat every cupcake in sight kind of cravings, just the “man that looks good going to try a bite” kind
Creating rituals is one small habit I have incorporated into my own life over the past few years that completely transformed the way I approach food. Before I discovered the impact of rituals I would down coffee (like 4+ cups a day). Realizing how crappy too much caffeine can be for your health, I went cold turkey and gave up my favorite morning beverage. Luckily, I was introduced by a friend to a Vietnamese style of coffee making with a little drip filter that is placed directly on top of the cup. As the coffee brews it drips into the cup resulting in the most fabulous single cup of coffee. As I began incorporating Vietnamese style coffee back into my lifestyle I discovered what I loved most about the that style of brewing was the ritual I had created. I became excited to brew my coffee each morning, listening as each drip hit the bottom of the cup, the intoxicating smell and the much anticipated first sip after the coffee finally had finished brewing. It made me appreciate the ritual of having coffee, not just consuming it. I now savor my cup each day.
Rituals around experiences infuse pleasure and enjoyment into our life.
One recipe I have been enjoying quite a bit as of lately is this fabulous Olive Oil Zucchini Loaf. It’s moist, slightly sweet and absolute perfection served alongside a cup of coffee. Take the time and indulge in yourself a little bit every day – curl up with a good book & cup of tea, savor a glass of wine and piece of dark chocolate, or enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and a few bites of biscotti. Taking that time is sooooo important for sustaining your healthy lifestyle!
Olive Oil Zucchini Loaf
3 cups of grated zucchini (squeeze a little to remove excess water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup olive oil
juice + zest of 1 lemon
1 cup raw cane sugar
pinch of celtic salt
2 1/4 cups flour (all purpose or spelt)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grate the zucchini and lightly squeeze out excess water, set aside. Whisk together the sugar and oil adding in eggs one at a time and whisking until well combined. Stir in vanilla extract and lemon juice + zest.
3. In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into wet adding in zucchini and stir to just combine.
4. Divide mixture into four mini loaf pans lightly coated with oil and sprinkle a little flaked coconut on the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife comes out clean and the coconut is lightly toasted. Serve with a fabulous cup of coffee or tea and savor each bite!
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Meet Kate Horning
Health Coach. Lifestyle Expert. Chef.
Kate Horning is an emerging thought leader in health and nutrition. She is an ambassador on the leading edge of a new generation that challenges established ideas, looking for better ways to achieve healthier, happier lives.
Kate’s journey began with a book report at age thirteen, to be allowed by her mother to become a vegetarian. That sparked a passion that has led to studying and living nutrition for over a decade. Through her personal experiments with the typical American diet, as a vegetarian, vegan, calorie counter, and raw foodie, she has discovered the secrets of developing a practical, sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Kate studied dietetics at the University of Kentucky, and is a certified holistic health coach and chef.