For many, “eating healthy” is high up on the New Year’s Resolutions list. However, while millions of us make these commitments each year, only 8% actually stick with it. In Part 2 of our New Year, New You Series, we’d like to you to take part in the 30 day challenge to eating healthy and use our 3-step process to identify your goals.
Research proves that if you can stick with a habit for at least 21 days, you are very likely to incorporate that habit as a consistent part of your daily routine! We’ve found that the best way to set yourself up for success, is to take it day by day, stay accountable, and stay motivated. By challenging yourself for 30 days, you are minimizing the risk of failure, overwhelm, and boredom and welcoming in the chance to create a new habit that you can stick with. Don’t forget to find a buddy to check in with - whether its via phone, email or text, you’ll be able to track your progress and get encouragement from someone who is supportive and wants to see you succeed.
We believe this 3-step process will help you successfully complete your 30 day challenge and create healthy eating habits that you can stick with!
1) Reflect and Assess
First, set aside some time for yourself this month where you can be alone and reflect upon the past year. What went well and what didn’t in terms of your eating habits and eating routine? Did you find yourself eating more fruits, veggies, and leafy greens? Did you cook at home each week, or did you eat out most of the time? What do you think about the way you look and feel? Write all of these thoughts and observations down, so that you have a barometer on what you’d like to focus on for 2018.
2) Imagine the Future
Once you can assess yourself and see what worked and what didn’t, look at the bigger picture for your life. How would you like to feel each and every day? What does your ideal eating routine look like? Where do you see yourself in a year? In 5 years? What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t? Do yourself a favor and answer these questions. And think big! Don’t limit yourself on what the future could hold for you, as anything is possible! These answers will inform the roadmap that you will create for yourself, in order to achieve the goals that you want to commit to. For example, “I want to wake up each day feeling refreshed and energized. I want to create an eating routine in which I make healthier eating choices, and where I don’t resort to fast food. In one year, I will shed the extra 20 pounds that I am carrying on my body, and will be able to do the 5K run/walk that I’ve wanted to complete.”
3) Get specific with your goals
Once you’ve ironed out the big picture, it’s time to zoom in on the day to day routine you’d like to set up for yourself. This is where you need to get very specific about your goal or intention when it comes to your eating habits. What exactly do you want to minimize, cut out completely, or add to your meals? Is it eliminating sugar or soda intake, and adding leafy greens to every meal? Is it creating smaller eating portions? Is it saying no to fast food cold turkey? Decide what you specifically want to commit to, put it on your calendar as a 30-Day Challenge, and get a friend or family member to keep you accountable!
We’re big fans of Michael Pollan, national best-selling author on the topic of food, in addition to the hugely popular book, Food Rules. In it, he describes 64 simple and easy rules for healthy eating. They are self-explanatory for the most part and will help guide you in making the right decisions when its comes to your eating habits. Here are our top 5:
- Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. Essentially, eat whole food (not products that have been artificially processed and manufactured), eat your veggies, and don’t overeat. If you try to incorporate more plant-based options into your diet and monitor your portions, you’re well on your well to losing weight and feeling better.
- Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Decades ago, before processed food became a mainstay of Western culture, people ate real foods, like butter, yogurt, and cheese - nowadays we resort to the fake versions of these wholesome, nutritious products, which are usually filled with unhealthy chemicals and preservatives.
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce. If you don’t know what’s in your food, it’s probably filled with processed or artificial ingredients, and not filled with the natural nutrients your body needs.
- Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real foods, like fresh produce, tend to be around the outer edges, while all canned and processed items are in the middle areas.
- Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car. And the foods that you will find at the gas station mini mart and meant to last for years on a shelf. Make the healthy choice and pack some nuts, fruits, or a protein bar to satiate your hunger cravings on the road.
Do you have any healthy eating habits or strategies that have been really helpful for you? If so, comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.