You’ve been through this before…you’ve made the same promise to yourself – “I’m going to eat better.”
If you hold the thought longer than a minute you may even make it so far as to take action on that promise for a day or two. The problem then becomes that “life” rears it’s ugly head, you lose focus and your old habits take over and you’re back on autopilot (not in a good way).
I’m here to tell you that it is in fact possible to make good on your intentions to eat well and live a healthier lifestyle. I also have some good news for you…it’s not that hard. Sure it’ll take some time (we’ll get to that in a moment), but it’s not as hard as you might think.
Let’s go over my Top 4 Strategies to get you started down the right path.
Step 1 – Baby Steps
Problem: One of the biggest mistakes that we make when tackling a new habit or way of life is that we try to make too many changes at once
Solution: Implement ONE change at a time and give it an incubation period.
For example, if you want to work towards cutting back on your sugar intake you might want to start by weaning off of sodas. Spend a week or two drinking a little less each day until you’re down to zero. This will make the change less shocking to your body and it’ll be easier for you to adapt to mentally as well.
*Note – I highly advise against the “cold turkey” method. Inevitably we end up rebounding…HARD! One thing at a time my friend…let it take root and then move onto the next.
Step 2 – Keeping It Real
Problem: You have unrealistic expectations. You think by adopting a healthier lifestyle that you’ll never have the sweet experience of a piece of cake ever again.
Solution: Understand that it’s not about eternal deprivation. In fact it’s not about deprivation at all.
The goal is to eat healthier. Did you catch that…healthi-ER. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have another treat for the rest of your life. You’re simply making better choices on a regular basis.
The cool thing about that is by eating well the MAJORITY of the time, when you enjoy special treats (whatever those are for you), that not only will they be more satisfying but they will have less of a long term impact on your body.
Step 3 – Get in the Kitchen
Problem: Cooking these days is a lost skill set. Unless you have really deep pockets to pay for a private chef, you’ll need to learn how to cook.
Solution: Learn to cook…even if it’s just the basics.
OK so this obviously applies to healthy eating. I know I know…it’s either “Chris I don’t want to learn how to cook” or “But Chris I don’t have time”. Look I’m only saying this because I love you…it’s time to grow up. Cooking is an essential skill that every adult should have. Do what it takes. Enroll in a cooking class at the local college, watch videos online, heck…ask your mom for a lesson (if she’s kitchen savvy). You’re not going to truly eat healthy by opening a package and throwing it in the microwave.
The time argument is one that simply needs to be examined more closely. We all have 168 hours in the week that’s rarely a viable excuse (a future blog on that topic for sure!).
Step 4 – Be Psychic
Problem: You typically know what your challenges are but don’t take them into account and come up with a game plan.
Solution: Just the opposite of the problem! Consider where you get tripped up in your quest for eating healthy, exercising, etc. and plan accordingly.
If you know that you do well during the week but “relapse” during social events on the weekend, come up with a strategy. Perhaps you have a healthy meal before going out so you snack less. Maybe you ensure you drink two glasses of water before ordering so that you’re not ordering “hangry”. 🙂 Know where you struggle and have a contingency plan. That way you’re not caught off guard and you have an exit strategy.
So there you have it…4 strategies to get you moving in the right direction. Clearly this isn’t an all-inclusive list. Take what you can from it and implement. Remember it’s not about how much you can do at once, it’s about long-term success!
- Implement ONE change at a time and let it incubate.
- Be realistic – it’s not about depriving yourself forever.
- Learn to cook!
- Forecast the obstacles that get in your way and plan accordingly.
I’d love to hear how these or any other strategies have helped you on your quest to a healthier lifestyle.