Some of us find it hard to start eating healthy, as we’re too focused on the things that we should limit, avoid, or “sacrifice” for the sake of a healthy portion. If you’re living on cheeseburgers and fries, it might indeed be hard to say forever goodbye to your favorite chocolate cake all of a sudden, especially if the last time you had an apple or a watermelon is when your mother sliced it up and served you. As humans, we are indeed creatures of habit, and making big changes is never easy.
Here are a few good ideas on how to start building healthy eating habits and invest in your health, without too much of an effort.
Don’t Subtract, Add!
One of the reasons we may fail to eat healthier is because we begin our transformation journey grieving our losses. However, instead of thinking about all the pizza you’ll be missing on, it might be useful to try a completely different approach and decide to add some more great food to your diet.
Here is a couple of suggestions:
- Add fruit to your breakfast and start your day off with a bang! It can be an apple or a few cups of berries, whatever you fancy the most. Eat your fruit 20 minutes before your usual breakfast, so that you have enough time to digest it.
- Commit to eating a large salad for your launch and dinner, and enjoy it before your regular meal. You can use your favorite greens, such as kale or lettuce, as a base and add some chopped veggies – beets, carrots, or cucumber; you name it.
- Make sure you always have some healthy snacks with you in case you get hungry. A few pieces of fruit, some nuts, and seeds or veggies with a homemade dip – the chances are high you will reach out for some of these options if you have them lying around.
- Try healthier swaps for your favorite foods; you may find to like them.
By adding fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds to your diet will make you healthier, as you will consume more vitamins and minerals that your body craves.
Besides, taking a step forward, healthier life choices will make you feel better about yourself. You’ll find more food that you love, and it won’t be that hard leaving the unhealthy options behind when the time comes.
Keep Related Goals in Your Mind
However, your nutrition makes only a part of your health equation; your physical activity is equally important. You will find it much easier to improve both your eating and your activity habits if you keep these goals related in your mind.
And I am not talking about biting more than you can chew. Think about the activities you want to be able to engage in, and set your steps accordingly, so that both your nutrition and your physical shape can support your goals. Then, take the little steps to achieve it. If you want to be able to run a marathon one day, educate yourself on the best food you can eat after running so that you know how to replenish your reserves best after a 5K run, without losing any gains you made during your run.
Consider Tiny Habits
Our motivation for making a change and building a healthy eating habit can fluctuate. Instead of giving up or delaying the change that we want to achieve, we can think small goals and begin changing our behavior by building tiny habits.
BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Standford, suggests that we should begin by making the behavior changes so small that they are very easy to achieve and that you can’t find an excuse for not doing. According to BJ Fogg, besides motivation and ability, that are crucial elements of any behavioral change, you also need a prompt – anything that will trigger the behavior and that you can easily fit into your daily routine. For him, the trigger to do two push-ups was peeing, but basically, you can think of any super tiny goal related to the behavioral change and tie it to a trigger, or a prompt – having a glass of water as soon as you wake up or having an apple right after you start your coffee maker.
This can be a great way to start implementing healthier choices and feel good about yourself, even when your motivation levels are low.
Studies show that eating disorders are more prevalent and that their symptoms are more severe in the LGBT crowd. If you’re finding it difficult to build healthy eating habits on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for support.