It’s so much easier than you think to eat healthier!
We are creatures of habit whether those habits are healthy or unhealthy. Even when you record your food in an effort to eat better, you’ll find that you basically eat the same things every week. These are the foods that are ingrained in our heads as “food.”
When you decide to eat healthier, the trick is to start slowly. No one can wake up one day with no training and run a marathon! The same thing applies here. Make small changes gradually over time to improve your eating habits.
1. First, Observe Yourself
For this first step, don’t try to change or do anything differently. Do nothing to eat healthier. All I want you to do is observe your habits. Just jot down everything you eat and drink in a day for a few days. You are getting a snapshot of where you are right now.
2. Plan One Small Change – Kick the Cap’n to the curb
Gradual changes are the way to go. Over the next few days, choose one meal or one dessert to improve. Try this: No cereal with a cartoon character on it! Have a banana and a hard-boiled egg instead. It takes the same amount of time to prepare and the Cap’n won’t miss you for one meal. Promise.
Small changes will increase your confidence. Start by making one dessert healthier. I know it sounds crazy but try frozen grapes for dessert for just one night. It might be more satisfying than you think.
3. Eat Mindfully to Eat Healthier
Eat with all of your senses. Sit down and truly focus on the taste, textures, and colors of the food. Put your food on a pretty plate. Only do one thing while eating. Don’t eat in your car or while mindlessly browsing Facebook. When you pay close attention to your food while you eat, your brain will get more satisfaction and recognize that you have eaten.
4. Watch Your Portions
Have you noticed that portion sizes have gone crazy in the last few decades? Bagels have gotten enormous! Look at how serving sizes have grown and just for one day, stick to exactly one serving size. If you love ice cream, buy one individual serving size.
Put yourself in a situation where it would be a huge effort to get a second serving; most of us won’t drive to the store just for a second serving. But if you do, use the time in the car to remind yourself of your goal and ask if this purchase will help or hurt your potential to reach them.
5. See the True Colors
This is one of the best ways to eat healthier!
Taste the rainbow… and I’m not talking about rainbow sherbet, a bag of Skittles or M&Ms! Mother Nature has provided all the colors of the rainbow and we should take full advantage. Each color gives a different nutrient. Make it a little game to try to get two of each color each day. A banana, strawberry and blueberry smoothie claims three colors and that’s just breakfast. Get creative!
6. Only Eat When You’re Hungry
When you decide to eat, honestly ask yourself if you’re hungry. If the answer is no, ask yourself why you want to eat. Are you bored, frustrated, stressed, or sad? Find other outlets for emotions besides food. Go to a kickboxing class instead to relieve stress. Feed hunger, not emotions.
7. Mind the Liquids
Drink. More. Water. Don’t drink your calories – unless it’s a healthy protein shake or a fruit smoothie which counts as a meal. If you’re into soda, try to reduce your intake by one a day. Try to limit alcohol as much as possible.
A grande latte from Starbucks is 190 calories and it has barely any nutritional value in it – and your mind won’t think of it as food. Jamba Juice’s large Aloha Pineapple Smoothie is 520 calories and people think of it as a drink. Don’t fall into this trap!
Implement one small step at a time and before you know it, you won’t recognize your own healthy diet.
Are you thinking, “easier said than done”? Well, you’re absolutely right. It’s HARD to change habits, especially around food.
Small steps at a time and making a game out of the changes you’d like to implement are proven strategies, but sometimes it helps to have a bit of support and accountability. If that’s you, come on over to my Healthy Habits Practice Community and get the encouragement, accountability, and support you need. I’m working on a full roster of diet and movement activities to get us through the holidays as healthy and happy as possible. I’d love to see you there!