Have you heard the one about the chicken and pig who want to make a bacon-and-egg sandwich for the farmer they liked so much? The chicken says, “I could provide some eggs.” The pig replies, “That’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution, I’m making a real commitment!”
And that’s the way it is with any new goal you’re trying to reach, whether it’s nutrition, exercise, or something else. You have to make a real commitment.
But the first thing I’m gonna tell you is not to go “whole-hog” (pun intended).
Wrong Way To Start
What I believe throws us off our goals is that we try to make a complete 180 degree change in our habits right from the start. And that may work for a little while, but before you know it you fall back into your old ways.
New habits take time to form. But, if you’re consistent about them, a new habit will take about 3-4 weeks to take hold.
Right Way To Start
You have to have compassion for yourself. Instead of starting by telling yourself you’re going to give up this food and that food that you really enjoy. and spend the rest of your life eating only kale and quinoa, (a sure fire way to deplete your will power), start by reducing and eventually eliminating something simple like a particularly sugary snack or snacks and eat some fruit instead.
Once you’ve achieved that and it becomes a habit, start on the next thing. Maybe the next thing is fast food. Reduce or eliminate that in favor of more natural, healthy foods. Maybe it’s a 400 calorie coffee drink from Starbucks. Tastes good but if you drink that 5 times a week that’s 8000 calories a month or a little over 2 extra lbs. (One pound is 3500 calories).
If you find yourself eating something every now and then that isn’t so healthy, don’t beat yourself up. It’s a process. You have to do it one step at a time. But make it easier on yourself.
Make It Easy On Yourself
Reduce the decisions you have to make by stocking up on the healthier food in the market. Have you ever heard the term “perimeter shopping?” Next time you go to the market pay attention and you’ll notice that the outside aisles (the perimeter) are where the least processed, more natural foods are found- meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, fruit, and vegetables. The inside aisles are where most of the processed, packaged, food is found. Try to purchase most of your food from the perimeter.
Keep A Food Diary
I think it’s really important to keep a food dairy. Either write down everything you eat or download one of the apps I mentioned in the free resource guide that I gave you when you first subscribed. I use “Tap & Track” for iPhone or “My Fitness Pal” for Android. Both list hundreds of thousands of food items, their calories, and their macronutrient breakdown (proteins, fats, and carbs). The apps are free and by tracking everything you put in your mouth from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed at night, you not only see what you’re eating, it also can give you ideas on how you might change your habits.
Here’s one last thought- You can get on a treadmill, run fast, and probably burn about 16 calories a minute or 80 calories in 5 minutes or you can eat a big piece of chocolate cake in those same 5 minutes or about 1,000 calories. It’s much easier to put the calories on than it is to take them off. Think about that the next time you’re considering eating something that has a lot of calories.
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