Tip #1 Change Your Mind Set
These days everyone is conditioned to think that food is either bad or good. You hear people saying, “I can’t eat that because it’s too fatty” or “I’m on a low carb diet”, but are super strict diets sustainable? If we start thinking of food as a resource for fueling our bodies we will start noticing significant changes both physically and psychologically. You will begin to see an increase in energy level, sleeping habits and memory will improve, which will all lead to being more productive throughout the day. Overall you will enhance your performance, endurance, and stamina. Additionally, healthy eating aids in lowering your risk for chronic illnesses and reducing your stress levels. With all these changes you will begin to appreciate your body and your confidence will rise. Food choices start to become a conscience effort rather than a matter of convenience. You will develop a sense of control over your eating habits and control your moods. Consequently, a fascinating thing happens, you will start to feel good about how you treat your body.
Tip #2 Start Slow
Remember your poor eating habits didn't occur overnight, so lifestyle changes will take time.
You spent most of your life developing poor habits and these will not change overnight. So start slow! For example, if you consume sugary drinks like juices, sodas, or sports drinks on a regular basis, try substituting them for water and add a bit of fruit for extra flavor. Slowly begin to cut out drinking sugary beverages. Once you have done this, your next step should be cutting out one processed food a week. Not sure if it is processed? When determining if a food is processed, a good rule to follow is if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the food label, then it is most likely processed.
Tip #3 Stay Positive and Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself
It is really hard to eat healthy at first; there are many temptations out there that could be your kryptonite. The key is to be aware of what you are eating. It is easy to tell yourself “I’m not going to eat anything unhealthy, I’ll be strong this time”, but abiding by those words is the hardest part. A problem with being strict on a new healthy regime it typically leads to binge eating unhealthy foods. As a result, you become discouraged and upset with yourself and give up your plan to eating healthy.
Sounds like an impossible situation, right? Let’s rewind back to tips #1 and #2, remember you are changing your mindset, so be patient, it is a lifestyle change. It’s okay to “treat” yourself every now and again, but please focus on the words “treat” and “every now and again”. Refrain from using the term “cheat” because this creates a negative connotation with food. Food is not a punishment, it is supposed to be enjoyed. So enjoy it!
Tip #4 Be Creative
On multiple occasions I hear people say, “my diet consists of only brown rice, chicken, and broccoli.” Realistically, how long do you think someone could last only eating brown rice, chicken, and broccoli? Why is healthy eating always associated with no variety and bland tasting foods? Yes, fried food tastes good, but so does homemade crab cakes with kale slaw. Remember ROY-G-BIV? Eat the colors of the rainbow when it comes to fruits and veggies. Switch up your proteins, there are plenty of choices: chicken, lamb, beef, pork, fish, shrimp, or beans. The list goes on and on...be creative!
Tip #5 Tell Everyone you know you are changing your lifestyle and eating healthy.
Create a support system and hold yourself accountable. Go a step further and convince a friend or family member to take on this healthy journey with you. Feel like eating 5 donuts one day? Pick up the phone, call your buddy and explain the situation. If after the call you still want to eat the 5 donuts, then you might want to reconsider getting a new support buddy. In all honestly, before indulging, stop and think, “are these donuts going to help me fuel my body for performance?”. You should no longer want to eat them or think of it as “treating” yourself and enjoy ONE donut even more. You don't have to be alone in this battle to be healthy, recruit friends and family to join you in order to create a strong support team.