No matter where you’re at or what your goals are, there are a few preliminary steps you can take today to improve your eating habits - just remember to take it one step at a time
Spring is just around the corner (at least in my corner of the world); the breeze is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the flowers are in bloom. For me, this signals a wonderful time for renewal and rejuvenation.
This is also a great time to revisit those New Year’s resolutions that didn’t quite come to fruition in January and February – you know, that pledge you made to yourself to adopt a healthier lifestyle, specifically in the area of diet and nutrition.
First, let’s get something out of the way. I don’t believe in “going on a diet” in the sense of implementing a time-limited program to achieve a specific goal. I do believe in changing one’s diet, in a sustainable way, to support long-term health goals.
But no matter where you’re at or what your goals are, there are a few preliminary steps you can take today to improve your eating habits:
1. Decide that you wish to make a change
You are your own best advocate and cheerleader. And if you’ve made the decision that you want to improve your health, then you’ve already taken the first critical step in the right direction.
2. Make mealtime a scheduled activity
When you sit down to a meal, first of all, do that – sit down. No more scarfing down breakfast or lunch on the go. Plan your meal times just as you would schedule any other meeting in your calendar. Dedicate time to eating and make it an enjoyable experience; invite some friends along and turn it into a social event.
3. Eat mindfully and chew your food
Take a moment to think about what you’re eating, where your food came from, and which nutrients it is providing. Eat in a space that is dedicated solely for that purpose, like a dining table, and not in your work space, in front of the TV, etc. Make sure to chew your food well – as about 80% of digestion happens in the mouth, where food is processed into small bits. This component of digestion will affect how the food particles are subsequently assimilated into your body. Focusing on eating and chewing will also allow you to recognize signs of fullness. Surrender your fork when you feel about 80% full – this is a notion that the Japanese call “Hara Hachi Bu” and believe is the key to a long, healthy life.
Take a moment to think about what you’re eating, where your food came from, and which nutrients it is providing.
4. Put in some weekend or evening prep work
Making any changes to your diet will require some prep work. Put aside one block of time on the weekend and another block of time mid-week when you can do some cooking and meal prep. Again, get this on the calendar and honor your commitment to getting into the kitchen.
5. Take it one step at a time
With so many diet trends and super-foods on the market today, you’re likely confused about what even constitutes healthy eating. There are many foods that can help build health, and each person will have varied dietary needs based on their own bio-individuality. Regardless of the approach you take and the changes you wish to make, take it one step at a time – for instance, you could decide to introduce one new ingredient or type of food each week; or you could commit to making one new recipe each week.
Happy springtime. You’ve got this!