You want to start eating healthier food, but are afraid that you’ll fail to overcome the challenges and changes you might face? I’ve got some simple tips to help you with the struggle. Why is it important to start the transition slowly and why shouldn’t you cut out the guilty pleasures? Read on.
Many shy away from proper nutrition because they are afraid to give up too much to be able to see results. Nutritional changes, or as I like to label them – lifestyle changes, are perceived as the “all or nothing” of the #foodtopic. As if once we decide to go healthy, nothing will remain for us to eat. Unfortunately, this fear causes many of us not to change at all. The truth is that change needs to happen gradually, while maintaining a fun menu with colorful dishes and various tastes and structures. This way eating healthy can be a pleasant and easy thing to do and maintain.
Living healthier does not have to be an extreme change, it is extremism that leads to difficulty in being consistent. Change that’s hard to preserve leads back to old habits. However, when changing gradually you can easily start living the healthy lifestyle you wish to live. Experience shows us over and over again that people who make small changes with regards to nutrition enjoy significant benefits within just a few days. Gaining confidence, energy, vitality and being overall happier. Our body strives for health and when we give it the right conditions and some balance, we get so much more in return. On top of that, once we see results we are automatically more motivated and excited to take our healthy lifestyle to the next level.
How to apply everything I told you to your daily routine? The secret is to take each step at a time and only make the changes you are ready for at the moment. Follow a varied and delicious menu, and always adapt the menu to your life, instead of adapting your life to the menu.
1. Begin with just one or two changes
Make one or two changes that you are comfortable to begin with. I recommend to share with other members of your household about your changes, first of all so you can enjoy together from your increased confidence while at the same time they can keep their sweet temptations away from you and maybe even join you on your journey.
2. First adapt yourself – then upgrade yourself
With every new change you commit yourself to, you have to look back first and make sure you adapted yourself enough to the previous one. Meaning you made it your own. Committing to new changes before being ready may bring you back to square one. There is no need to set goals in the process of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle – what’s more important is to maintain a positive mind, to continue to improve and preserve the results.
3. Stay up to date
Update yourself once a week on new foods and recipes that match your new-found lifestyle. Lack of diversity can be an additional strain on keeping up with healthy living. You can find many recipes and inspiration online on professional websites that write about health, blogs, Pinterest and if necessary you can always contact an online coach (Hint: Me). The emphasis should always be on the foods you love, otherwise you will not be motivated to keep exploring.
4. Don’t worry about your guilty pleasures and cheat days
Like everyone you might have favorite foods that really give you a good boost every once in a while, even if they’re not necessarily healthy: Don’t give up on them just yet. You can continue to eat them once a day or every other day in small quantities, and then gradually find healthier alternatives. Allowing yourself to indulge in guilty pleasures on occasion, will make it easier for you to cope with the transition to a healthier lifestyle. Plus, you will not feel as if you’re constantly missing out on something. With healthy living it’s all about the bigger picture. So, focus on giving the bigger meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) a higher nutritional value and protect your right to sin a little bit.
5. Social get-togethers, no big deal
At big events, fancy dinners or even just simple but tempting movie nights with friends do your best to spot and stick to healthy foods, but also here it’s recommended to allow yourself a big (single) bite of the dessert. Feeling like you’re just like the rest at social events also helps to continue the good work.
6. Tips on how to begin
I’d like to give you a few examples to ease yourself into a healthier lifestyle and improved nutrition. There is no need to follow them one by one but rather to emerge them into your own, personal routine:
- One warm meal a day, every day
- No more sweet and carbonated drinks (you can transition to flavored water at the beginning)
- Ideal breakfast hour: Between waking up and up to two hours later
- Transition to whole grain
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables (read here)
- Consume less milk products (less cow, more goat)
- Decrease carbs consumption, increase in protein rich foods and healthy fats
- No more processed sweets (you can transition to dried fruits, nuts and almonds)
- Separate carbs from protein foods at dinner
- More fresh, clean and raw foods
- Lots of home-made
Most importantly, have fun and take it a day at a time while keeping in mind that you are giving yourself the best present one can give. A healthy lifestyle is for everyone, and everyone takes a different road.
It is important to note that this article is intended for healthy people. If unfortunately you suffer from a chronic disease (such as diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid problems etc.) it is recommended to make larger changes in life. But even then, it is important not too rush it and to always make changes that are in line with your capabilities. In such cases, where there is need for specific results, it is recommended to consult with your doctor.