Most of us want to eat healthier either to lose weight, gain energy, reverse illness or just improve our food choices and incorporate better nutrition into our daily lives. When we decide to change old habits and start a new routine we often sabotage ourselves by not being realistic about the time and effort needed to create a new habit. When we make too many changes at one time it can be overwhelming and discouraging. The first thing you need to change is your mind, your goal should not be perfection only daily progress. The second thing you need to do is give yourself 30 days to improve your food choices and eat healthier.
When you are trying to eat healthier the first day will be a challenge, most of have a routine set in place that gets us to work, school or the kids where they need to be on time. Take some time the night before and plan your meals for the next day or for the entire week. Don’t make any extreme changes on the first day or during your first week such as eliminating all sugar or cutting portions sizes in half. The most important step you can take on the first day is planning a healthy breakfast with enough calories recommended for height and current weight. Most times if our goal isn’t met early in the day we give up and decide to start the next day, if this goes on for several days then its next week which then turns into next month and so on.
Start keeping a food journal, this will help you track your progress and plan your meals. Most people are not aware of how much they are actually eating throughout the day. Set clear meal times: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. During your second week set a goal to eat healthy for six days and include one cheat day. Schedule your cheat day around regular events with family and friends such pizza night, Sunday dinner or drinks with friends.
Don’t give up, your half way to the finish line. Take some time to review your progress and pat yourself on the back, even if you swayed a bit from the goal. During week three eliminate fast food or processed food from your daily meals or both. If processed food shows up more than fast food in your food journal that should be your focus, be honest with yourself and don’t use convenience as an excuse to eat poorly. If your food is in a can, box or bag from the drive through, reduce these foods to at least three times this week. These are foods you should eventually eliminate from your daily meals or indulge in on cheat day.
The one habit most people struggle with is too much sugar, usually from drinking too much soda. If you are trying to eat healthier, lose weight or anything connected to good health, soda is not your friend. A 12oz can of soda has 39 grams of sugar that is almost 8 teaspoons of sugar. Most people drink 16-20oz at a time. On day 21, challenge yourself to go 100% sugar free. Try again on day 23 and day 25. Don’t give up.
Share your progress with family and friends, this will validate your success and inspire others to make changes in their lives. If you feel as if your goal wasn’t reached, start again, remember your goal is progress not perfection.