How to stick to an anti-aging diet
It can be difficult for those with active social calendars to stick to an anti-aging diet. We suggest some strategies for you to ensure you enjoy life without sabotaging your new diet habits.
The coffee shop
We are lured in with a promise of escape from our worldly worries, a chance to have a good catch up with friends and form new friends and business relationships. Pretty much everything on the menu falls into the ‘treat’ zone and self-control is required.
Your safest bet to ensure you stick to an anti-aging diet while at the local cafe is having a cup of exotic green, black or herbal tea, black coffee, or having coconut or almond milk with your latte.
Avoid fresh squeezed juice and instead choose smoothies/vegetable juices with whole food ingredients.
Ordering a larger drink may allow you to bypass the baked sweet treats. And get into the habit of always ordering with water, or even a sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon, so you don’t end up dry from the caffeine.
Celebrations and family get-togethers
There are three rules of engagement for the continuing round of birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, sporting events and the lazy Sunday afternoon get-togethers:
- If someone asks you to bring a dish, then bring one that is in line with your goals. Think what might be popular and dress it up well. You will impress people, conversation will begin and you will be surprised how many people say they have been meaning to eat healthier but did not know it could taste this good.
- Feed your body first, and then treat it second. With a whole smorgasbord of food awaiting you at these events, it can be hard not to throw all caution to the wind and pig out! The best strategy is to fill your plates with the most beneficial foods possible, thus feeding your body properly. Fill up with some more of these foods if you feel the need. Once you are satiated, you might then carefully contemplate which of the desserts will tingle your taste buds. You’ll find that just a few mouthfuls will be enough and there will be little or no guilt attached. As there is, unfortunately, so much food wastage in our world, taking a very small portion is a good option.
- Beware of family-induced emotional eating (i.e. “Oh, I made this especially for you”, while someone is passing you a 3 kg slice of triple layer chocolate cake). There are as many different variations as there are families, so be on the lookout. Be polite by declaring your state of blissful fullness and have a bite or two, or ask to take it home to enjoy later (and do with it what you will… young neighbors and university students always seem to be willing recipients!).
After work drinks
Do what you can to keep control, if you can’t, don’t even start!
Binge drinking is a leading cause of preventable death, particularly in young adults and men, but also increasingly in women.
When drinking socially, most people don’t even notice when you switch to lemon lime and bitters after your second drink. Have your ‘no alcohol’ drink put in a wine glass; no-one notices and you fit in. And remember, everyone loves the designated driver.
Get into the habit of ordering more water, more sparkling water or more soda lime and bitters after the first or second ‘toast’. Your body, brain, liver and skin will thank you for it – the next morning and for the next decade.
Daytime activities can also have their own challenges. Think of what activities you do regularly, what kinds of refreshments are served and what you may be ‘mindlessly’ indulging in.
Always order the healthiest item, or choose the path of least damage, no matter what.
Healthy living comes from healthy regular habits. Getting together with friends is good for you – we can make it even better. Choose water, tea, fruit, veggie sticks and salads where possible. If there are no options then ‘bring your own’.
So what’s on the menu tonight?
Eating is one of life’s great pleasures and it still can be, if you know where to look.
There are so many interesting, tasty and healthy foods out there. Just because you are looking after your health or your waists, doesn’t mean that you have to eat cardboard.
For any diet to be successful it cannot be a punishment. Becoming connected with your dietary choices is also not about becoming a fussy eater or being neurotic. It can be as much, if not more, fun than ever before.
The moment when we realize “Hey, this food is actually interesting – I wonder what this tastes like? What nutrients does it have? Where does it come from?” is the moment that the ‘slow aging’ begins, and a whole world of choices opens up.