I used to think that eating healthy meant deprivation. It meant suffering through bland food until I could meet my weight-loss goal and resume my normal eating habits.
As I learned from experience, suffering through a diet only to resume your old eating habits is a recipe for regaining all the weight you just lost—plus some. To be truly successful, eating healthy has to become a way of life.
While you can still eat delicious foods, the primary shift is that you will be making different choices about what you eat when you are striving to be leaner and healthier.
Here are 11 tips for making the shift to healthier-eating easier:
1. Instead of focusing on all the foods you can’t eat, concentrate on all the foods you can.
2. Fully appreciate the foods you are eating. If you are eating an orange, appreciate the farmer who planted and cared for the tree. Appreciate the sunshine, rain, and soil that helped that orange grow. Appreciate the people who picked, packaged, and shipped the orange to the store or stand where you purchased it. Appreciate the worker who put it in the display so that you could buy it, and all the people who keep that store open so that you have ready access to an abundance of food. Appreciate the color as you remove the peel, and the tangy sweet scent. Appreciate the wonderful burst of flavor on your tongue. Appreciate how it’s nourishing your body. Appreciate your body for fully receiving those nutrients and energy.
3. If your dietary plan is flexible enough, set times (perhaps once a week or once a month) when you will allow yourself to eat some of the foods that you love that aren’t on your healthier-food plan. Then fully enjoy those foods when you have them.
4. Remind yourself of all the reasons you want to be healthier. It’s helpful to write these down so that you can refer back to them often.
5. Actively learn about the food plan you are choosing. When you understand the reasons behind what you’re doing, you are more likely to stick with it.
6. Instead of focusing on how much you hate cooking or new foods, think of it as a culinary adventure or challenge that you want to master.
7. Set a goal for trying one new food or recipe a week.
8. Instead of focusing on how little time you have to prep healthy foods, make it a priority and schedule the time into your week. How can you make it fun?
9. Learn to use spices. Spices have no calories and add lots of flavor, and often important micro-nutrients.
10. Make double batches of foods that you like and freeze portion sizes for quick, healthy meals on the go.
11. Use the Internet. There are an amazing number of healthy recipes out there that you can match up with your health-goals.
How can you shift your thoughts and expectations about healthy eating from deprivation to delicious? What difference does changing what you think about what you are eating make in your ability to create a healthy lifestyle?
Together we can do it!