How to Start Eating Healthier in 4 Easy Steps
You may have noticed that many of my posts lately have been geared towards beginners. People who are just starting a healthy lifestyle, those that are just starting a fitness routine and those that just don't know where to begin. I know that we all had to start somewhere and I felt it was important to provide these tools to my readers who are beginners. I also know some my veteran health nuts can take bits and pieces from these posts as well.
Today I am discussing How to Start Eating Healthier. As we all know, we live in a world of convenience. We have fast food, processed food, pre-packaged foods, microwave meals and more. We have everything that we need to make eating easy, but not necessarily healthy. I have compiled 4 Steps that I found helped to get me on the right track towards healthier eating.
+ Step 1: Purge
What I mean by purge is to go into your kitchen and get rid of everything that is not beneficial to your health and your goals. You don't have to trash it, I know it is very hard to throw away food. You can give it to a neighbor, a friend, a food bank or anyone that is not on a mission to change their eating habits.
I honestly tend to trash things when I am in a "purge" phase. Usually, this stuff has been opened and half eaten plus I don't like feeling like I'm giving my poison to someone else to poison them. Some people may not agree with this but I'm sorry, it also makes me think twice about purchasing that junk again.
If you have a family this might be a little tough. In this case do like I've done, claim a section of cabinet space and fridge space. Clear it of all the junk food and things that are not in line with your goals. Anything that is not in that space is OFF LIMITS to you.
+ Step 2: Restock.
The next step is to restock your kitchen with healthy and nourishing foods. Create a grocery list full of whole foods including; fruit, veggies, lean meats, beans, healthy snacks and more. Then head to the grocery store and start shopping. Try to stick to the perimeter of the store where they keep the fresh foods, meats, dairy etc.
Try as much as possible to stay out of the isles where the processed foods and prepackaged snacks lurk. I know there are some things that you must venture down the isles for but be sure to do this with a level head and your goals in mind. Be sure to EATbefore you go shopping! This will save you from buying things you don't need.
+ Step 3: Cook at home.
This step is very important because cooking at home allows you to prepare meals that are in line with your goals. Not only that, but you also know exactly what is going into your food. You don't have to worry about whether something has added fat, sugar, gluten, soy, lactose etc. You already know because you made it!
Try to plan ahead on a Sunday what meals you will be preparing for the week. Be sure to get the items you need when you do Step 2 above. If you have a family, try to prepare things that you all enjoy, there are so many ways to make traditional foods that you family might enjoy "healthier". Be creative.
+ Step 4: Have a treat.
I know you might think this one contradicts every other step but it does not. Having a treat is a part of a healthy eating plan. If you deprive yourself completely you are setting yourself up for failure and setting yourself up to relapse into old eating habits. We do not want this, we want to enjoy life and not feel restricted.
Allow yourself a treat a couple of times a week, even every day within reason. I practice the 80/20 approach to eating. 80% of the time I make healthy choices and 20% of the time I treat myself. If you are someone who knows you cannot control yourself when your favorite treat is in the house, then go out for it instead. Set yourself up for success not failure. The main thing we are trying to do is create a lifestyle change you can stick to...FOREVER.
+ Bonus Step: Don't give up!
If you ever get derailed from your healthy eating, it's ok. Recognize where you went wrong and get right back on track. You never truly fail until you quit!
Do you have any tips that help you stay on track with healthy eating?
I'd love to hear them, please share.
Photo Credits: Picjumbo