Sorry to yell at the end of the title, but is it not time you started eating healthy? And kept eating healthy for the foreseeable future? Yeah, let’s hear all your excuses…healthy food tastes bad, is too expensive, is inconvenient to prepare and cook…yada, yada, yada. As my drill sergeant said to me, “The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters.” And that military maxim applies in all facets of life, to include this moment. There simply is no good excuse to not improve your eating habits now.
Look, I don’t mean to be rude or to offend, but this ain’t exactly rocket science here. Most of us already know HOW to eat healthy (eat less processed foods and more foods that grow from the ground or had parents), we just choose not to. I think that’s because we need some serious motivation to do so. We need a doctor to tell us, “If you keep eating nothing but processed foods, you’ll be dead within five years.” or words to that effect. We need our significant other to tell us, “I’ll leave you tomorrow if you eat one more fast food meal.”
Or do we? What if we simply made small, incremental changes over time, until, by the end of a year, we had totally revamped our eating habits. Rather than attempt to completely change your diet from one day to the next, what if you made a deal with yourself to eat one extra serving of fruit every day for two weeks. That’s it, eat an apple or a handful of raspberries every day for two weeks. Then, after those two weeks have passed, make another small change, while continuing to eat that extra serving of fruit, and so on, and so on, until, after a year or so, you’ve changed your diet to something much better than it was.
To help you with that process track all those little changes you make and post them somewhere you’ll view them every day (a fridge door is a good place). Also, go public with your plan. Tell friends and family and ask them for their support, or, better yet, ask them to join you. Group motivation and positive peer pressure can be powerful motivators. Also, accept the fact that you’ll backslide every so often; that you’ll give in to temptation and that there’s nothing wrong with that so long as you keep making progress towards your goal. Finally, think long-term. Eating healthy isn’t some form of a fad diet. It’s truly a lifestyle change that will impact every aspect of your life.
If you’re not sure of what small, incremental changes to make, here’s a partial list:
- Eat at least five salads per week with low-cal and low-fat dressings.
- Gradually replace your consumption of sugary drinks with water, infused, sparkling or otherwise.
- Replace your usual steak with fish, preferably salmon, mackerel, or albacore tuna, all fish rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Stop seasoning your food with salt and replace it with more healthy herbs and spices, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, coriander, lemon-pepper and/or cayenne.
- Eat foods only produced with whole grains.
- Eliminate one fast food meal per week.
- According to superchargedfood.com, you should prepare and cook a new, healthy recipe once per week.
- Eat at a table, without a screen anywhere in sight, with friends and/or family twice per week.
- Eat your fruits rather than drinking them. Fruit juices usually add unnecessary sugar.
- Cook with “healthy” oils like canola and olive.
- Snack on nuts and berries rather than chips. In fact, simply don’t have unhealthy snacks in the house.
- Eat several healthy, protein-packed meals for breakfast (including eggs) three times per week.
Remember, do NOT attempt to make all these dietary changes at once. You’re just setting yourself up for failure if you do. Institute one change and stick to it for a few weeks prior to incorporating the next change. Do this for your friends and family, but, most of all, do it for yourself.