Two Simple Changes for a Better Diet

Before I even start this post, let me begin by saying…I’m not a qualified nutritionist, dietician or whatever the heck else people claim to be on YouTube before telling me to eat things that quite frankly, I don’t want to eat.

There.

So probably most people reading this have tried at some point in their lives to diet. Whether that’s a specific plan to try and lose weight, or just by calorie counting and eating less.

Marketing of both diet plans (each one being THE one to solve all your problems and more) and ‘low fat’ foods is all over the place.

One of the most vulnerable times to fall into this marketing trap can be in the time after giving birth. It’s a time when we’re getting to grips with what our bodies look like after birth (not just after the first one either), and for many of us, it’s a time where we become obsessed with losing the ‘baby weight’.

Ironically, the pictures taken for this website were taken when I believe I was at my heaviest weight after a pregnancy (I don’t know for sure), but I remember being really unhappy with my weight.

A lot of the focus postpartum and beyond is on exercise. And that is definitely needed. But diet is equally, if not moreso, important.

Firstly, the focus has to be on staying healthy, or aiming to become healthier, rather than losing a certain amount of weight. Ban the scales for a little while…

Secondly, making lasting changes via both diet and exercise takes time. It certainly wasn’t something I could really devote a lot of time and effort to in the postpartum days, aside from gentle yoga and babywearing. Diet-wise, I was whatever I could be arsed to knock up.

This means that some of the changes I talk about making may not work for you, depending on what season of life you’re in. And certainly not if you’re pregnant now!

Leading on from the above point, most diet and nutrition advice is very prescriptive. Eat this, don’t eat that. When really, there’s a different approach, and thats seeing every body as having it’s own unique nutritional needs.

It was this point, along with wanting to learn more about my own biology, that originally lead me to trying out Zoe, which you can learn more about here.

However, I promised two simple changes to make now, that will have an impact on your diet and nutrition. They are:

Cut Out Ultra Processed Foods

If you only make one change to the way you eat, make this one. There is a whole lot of info out there about ultra processed foods which explain it much better than me, and with lots more science should you be inclined. Thus:

Ultra-Processed People: Why Do We All Eat Stuff That Isn’t Food…and Why Can’t We Stop?

Dr Chris on ‘how our diet is killing us’

The NOVA groups for food processing classification

How to identify Ultra-Processed Food and what to eat instead

This will require you to come up with alternatives for when you would have ultra processed food. For example, if you have a cereal like Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies etc for breakfast, try gradually introducing other non-ultra-processed breakfast options into your menu before weaning yourself off the cereal. If you just decide to cut it out with no planned and enjoyable alternatives, it wont last.

Eat More Plants

When we think about changing our diets, we usually think of all the things we ‘shouldn’t’ be eating. All the things we should eliminate or drastically reduce from our diet. It’s harder to make changes when you’re focusing on what to leave out, and easier to implement adding in the good stuff first.

So with that in mind, one of the simplest changes to make is just to add more plants to your diet. ‘Plants’ is actually a bit more variable than you would think, too…have a look at this article to see what the folks at ZOE constitute as a plant.

There are tons of ways you can add more plants to your diet, and this can make those early stages of diet change that seem totally overwhelming feel a bit more accessible. Here are some ideas:

  • Add a simple side salad to pizzas, oven meals etc.
  • Sprinkle some microgreens on top of soups, salads and lunches
  • Add some berries to your breakfast. During winter I use freeze dried berries too as there’s less access to fresh
  • Herbal teas, yes please

So there you have two ways to make change to the way you eat, today.

Of course it’s a long and winding road ahead for most of us and there’s definitely support needed to keep making progress, but as with anything you need to give yourself some ‘quick wins’ at the outset to help keep your motivation boosted.

If you have any more ideas on tips for replacing ultra-processed foods, or on adding more plants to your diet, let us know on Instagram!