Healthy Eating: A Mental Approach

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal setting concept presented on blackboard with colorful crumpled sticky notes and white chalk handwritingHealthy eating is not always easy!  Here are some tips on how to stay on course.

1. Set Goals – Know where you want to go, and figure out how you want to get there. What exactly do you want to change about your diet? Set goals for today, for next month, and for the next 6 months. Then give yourself time to get there, or otherwise you will end up overwhelmed and you will give up. Take one day at a time. Create accountability for your goals by sharing them with friends and family. When you achieve your goals, even the small ones, check them off and be proud! And now get excited about reaching your next goal.
Good food fridge2.  Have Realistic expectations – pick a plan that will work with your schedule and budget. If you don’t, you will have a hard time following through with the diet and you might end up reverting back to old habits. If you don’t cook for your schedule, you will find yourself without food and scrambling to find a healthy choice. So be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to prepare food, or have food pre-packed. Also know that you will be faced with obstacles from time to time that can derail you and your progress – just know that you need to get up and get right back on track. This takes commitment and hard work.


3.  Be Proactive  – Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you Food-is-fuelto eat. Know where you are going to be throughout the day and plan your meals around that. Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy, and what foods you can take with you to work, in the car, school, etc. . For example, if your job takes you on the road, make sure you pack healthy snacks like almonds or fruit. If you don’t you will probably eat whatever is available at the time whether it be fast food, office treats, etc. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


4.Consistency  Consistency is key –  Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily and keep to the same portion size and caloric intake.. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy levels will stay high. You will feel better, and get in a healthy routine. It is easy to sabotage yourself by grabbing nasty snacks to meet uncontrolled cravings. The time you spend on planning and consistency is a true investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.




5. Be flexible – Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Life can sometimes get the best of all of us.  Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Example: Bag of almonds, protein bars and shakes, fresh fruit. Also educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, books, and magazines. You can use this knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are compatible with your diet, for example if you are out with friends or stuck with no time to cook. Find items that are less time consuming that you can take with you in a pinch.


6. Don’t be so hard on yourself – Nobody is perfect all the time. If owe it to yourselfyou mess up, miss a few meals, or even have a
bad couple of days, just pick yourself up and get back on track. You’re doing this for you, and the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. Being healthy and eating healthy does not mean you can’t enjoy foods not on your meal plan. So don’t be so hard on yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!


7. Stick with your plan – It takes time to develop healthy behaviors. After about a month of eating better consistently, you will have developed a habit. You will find that everything you initially may have had a hard time doing becomes more effortless and be a normal part of your day to day life.Have fun

8. Have fun – Eating right takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don’t stress yourself out over small bumps in the road. You have the power to change any negative into a positive, and you have the choice to have a positive outlook regarding any situation you find yourself in. Find fun ways to keep yourself motivated. Get friends and family involved. Set challenges at home, with friends, or at work to start eating healthier. Take the time to cook and try new and interesting recipes. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable.

9. Give yourself praise – You are not a dog so don’t reward yourself with treats. Realize that changing your eating habits can be a daunting task for anyone. Just think how long you have had your current habits and know that changing those habits will not happen overnight, but with time. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make, you deserve the praise. Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making, and in turn help keep you on your path to betterment.

10. Don’t rush into this – People always start with the best of intentions and will try and do everything at once. They get overwhelmed and quit before they really even started. Small changes add up and can make a huge difference. Work on one thing at a time and keep adding to it. Before you know it you will have many healthy habits that incorporate together to make a healthy lifestyle and a healthier and happier you.





11. Focus on the journey and not the destination – To live a healthy lifestyle is never easy. In order to enjoy this lifestyle with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Once we hit our destination we immediately look to the next mountain top and we either want more, or worst case scenario we think that we have accomplished all we need to and we relax on all of the things that got us there in the first place. Take pride in small victories along the way, they add up.





12. Measure Success and Set New Goals: Making successful changes means measuring your progress towards your goals and recognizing your accomplishments. As you meet short-term goals, you can plan the next steps with more confidence. Constantly re-strategizing your goals takes long-term visualization. That long-term vision needs to be broken down into doable steps.

Now go out and make a difference in your life today!! Think about these tips and start with small changes Did you enjoy this article? Would you like to receive more support from me on a daily basis?! Ask me about my next challenge group! Together we can set goals and achieve them!!

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