A healthy lifestyle involves many decisions. Among them, the choice of a diet or a balanced eating plan. When it comes to eating, we all have deep-rooted habits. Some are good and others not so good. Although we acquire many eating habits from childhood, it does not mean that it is too late to change them. And they don’t have to be boring.
Keep It Real
Choose real and whole foods as much as you can. What do we mean by this? Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.
Our bodies are meant to consume food made from the earth, not from factories; Nutrient-rich foods, not chemicals; and foods that make us feel good, not bad. So, whenever possible, start by selecting fresh, real foods, and start from there. This prevents further processing of vegetables and fruits which can be really annoying. Your body will thank you!
You will always find it helpful to spend at least one hour preparing meals each week. No, this does not mean that you have to prepare all your meals for the week in its entirety on weekends, or distribute all your lunches in individual plastic containers.
It just means taking a little time each weekend to make your life a lot easier during the week by doing a little prep work. By doing something as simple as chopping up some bell peppers or onions to have on hand for dinner during the week or cooking a batch of cauliflower rice to make your lunch base, it will save you a ton of time (and stress) when it comes to meals during the week.
Whether it’s because you get home late from work or the kids have a soccer game, having less work to do for a meal makes it 100% more likely that you actually do it. Make it a goal to set aside only one hour for this each week and you will notice a big difference!
Make a list of your eating habits. Keeping a “food diary” for a few days where you write down everything you eat and the time you do it will help you discover your habits. For example, it may be that you always want something sweet when you feel your energy drop in the middle of the afternoon.
Use a food diary to make the list. It is good to note how you felt when you decided to eat, especially if you were not hungry. Were you tired or stressed?
Create Your Own Healthy Environment
One of the most valuable concepts is that our environment plays an important role in the health decisions we make. For example, if we open our fridge and see sodas and candy bars in the front and center, with water and fruit in the lower back corner, the first choice for many of us will be the candy bar. Why? Because it’s available, it’s easily accessible, and, well, it looks and tastes good.
In addition, the fruit must be washed, peeled and prepared, so from the point of view of comfort, the candy bar wins.
But what if we made some small changes to our environment? For example, what happens if we rewash the fruit, place it in an open container, and bring it to the front of the refrigerator at eye level and place the candy and soda in the bottom corner? Or better yet, what if we remove the candy and soda entirely? Leave fruit as the only option?
We cannot always control every part of our environment. But, there are simple efforts we can make to help us put ourselves in better situations when it comes to making healthy decisions in our daily lives.
Resist the Temptations
Tired of being tempted by donuts at work meetings? Try to eat breakfast before you get to the office. Do you want to stop looking for the vending machine for your 3 p.m. snack? Leave your cash at home and keep a bag of almonds in your bag. Small changes can have big results and can help make healthy decisions easier.
Sudden and radical changes in eating habits, such as eating nothing but cabbage soup, can lead to short-term weight loss. But these exaggerated changes are neither healthy nor good and will not help in the long run. To improve eating habits permanently, you need an approach where you reflect, replace, and reinforce.
It is important to make gradual changes to your eating habits. Don’t try to make drastic changes overnight or fall into the trap of making common diet mistakes. Small daily changes will have a bigger and more lasting effect.
If you are having trouble making changes to your diet or are concerned that you are not getting all the nutrients you need, talk to a doctor. He or she can give you some practical advice or refer you to a nutritionist.
Believe us when we say that our bodies are wired to handle a little bit of shit: a little sad day service, a ball game hot dog, a pizza night for the girls and wine. Please stop sweating. Your body is certainly not! Truth be told, what matters most is more of our time.
What’s more, the stress, anxiety, and guilt that comes with trying to make eating healthy a 100% experience for yourself is actually much worse for you than a handful of chips or a little macaroni. So, as long as your most frequent food intake is healthy, worrying about how infrequent this happens is just making healthy eating much more difficult for you than it should be.
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