If you’re new to a healthy-eating lifestyle, it’s easy to become confused due to all the conflicting information from so-called experts, which makes it easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Pretty soon, you’ve dropped your goal to start eating healthier and are back to the foods that make you feel not-so-good.
We’ve put together some very basic steps that can help keep you on track – not just to meet a short-term goal, but also to change your lifestyle so that you end up healthy and feeling great.
One of the major mistakes people make is to take on too much at once. They see a new diet and exercise plan and jump right in with both feet. Unfortunately, major change is often hard to sustain over a long period of time. Fad diets end and you’re often heavier, unhealthier and unhappier than you were when you started.
This is called a journey because it’s about the progression and not necessarily the destination. It takes about 21 days to create a new habit, so start with one or two small changes and incorporate those fully into your life fully before moving on to your next step.
*Every change adds on to the ones you’ve added before and in no time, you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come.
Figure out what fits
So the question now becomes – what change should you start with? Although most reputable nutrition sites counsel against “white” foods, processed foods, sodas and added sugars or unhealthy fats, there is still a lot of conflicting information. The best way to determine if a change is good for you, you need to ask if it fits in your budget, lifestyle, personal tastes, and available time. Luckily, there are changes that fit almost all lifestyles and financial plans.
Many people start by targeting some of the following changes:
- Finding locally sourced, grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs and milk
- Adding naturally fermented foods
- Increasing organic produce
- Reducing hydrogenated fats
- Reducing the “white” foods – added sugars, white flours, white rice, white potatoes
- Reducing GMO foods
*Your food should be the ingredient, not part of your ingredients
It’s easy to undo the habits you worked so hard to establish simply by failing to really keep track of what you’re doing. One quick decision to fall back into bad habits “just once” may turn into falling back multiple times. Download one of the multitudes of apps and start tracking what you’re doing.
*The best way to get to your goal is to know where you are right now!
Stock up in season
One of the biggest complaints that people new on this journey make is that they don’t adjust to the realities of healthy foods. Chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter, berries are abundant in the late spring, hogs are often slaughtered in the fall, and tomatoes are plentiful in the summer. It’s cheaper and much healthier to stock up when food items are bountiful. You can then freeze, can or dehydrate, which provides healthy food all year round.
*Planning ahead saves money, time and effort.
Sometimes mistakes are good. It means that you are trying new things and making progress. Let’s face it - not every change will work for you, even if that same change worked for others. Don’t let a mistake hold you back. View it in a positive light, learn from it and move on!
*You can view your mistake as a failure or you can turn it into tuition on a lesson learned.