Are you trying to eat healthier in 2013? Here are 11 tips to help you stay on point.
1. Keep a food journal. This journal helps you become aware of and document the patterns, changes, and stumbling blocks and successes that you experience. It is a key part of your health journey. Instructions for how to keep a food journal are here.
2. Get clear on why you are doing this. What do you want this change to do for you? Are trying to lose weight? Why? Do you have chronic health issues such as diabetes that you want to reverse? In our Conscious Vegan class we begin by asking participants to imagine themselves completely healthy and what that looks like in their life. Create a picture of what your day and life will be like after you have successfully incorporated your healthy lifestyle. Write it down.
3. Set yourself short and long term goals. How much weight do you want to lose in the first month? In six months? By the end of the year? What changes in your diet do you want to make? Are you going to make the change cold turkey? Are you eliminating certain foods to start and gradually eliminating others? What other healthy changes (such as exercise, stopping smoking) do you want to incorporate? Write these down too.
4. Start with a juice fast. A juice fast can help break food and other addictions. It allows the body to detox. It is like pushing the reset button. After the fast you are ready to enter into your new pattern of eating. Learn more about juice fasting here.
5. Clear out the items from your kitchen that you will no longer be eating. Don’t let them tempt you by laying in wait in your cupboards or fridge. If you can’t remove them altogether (because others in your household haven’t made the same commitment to healthy eating), set aside an area of the kitchen where only your food goes. This way you won’t have to push past the Doritos to get to the Kale Chips.
6. Make sure your kitchen is set up so that you can make your healthy meals. Find recipe books or look for recipes on line. Click here to see my favorites. Make a menu plan that accounts for you're your schedule and the time you have available to be in the kitchen. Invest in the tools and ingredients you will need to get started. You can gradually add more as you go forward.
7. Get a buddy. Having the support of another healthy eating person can help keep you on track when you feel like giving up. Who in your family can you count on to support you? What about friends? On the other hand don’t talk about it with folks who aren’t supportive.
8. Get professional support. This is particularly important if you have serious health challenges. Find a physician or other professional that is knowledgeable about nutrition and supportive of vegetarian diets and fasting to monitor and guide your progress.
9. Recognize that unhealthy foods are addictive. This means that you need to understand the process of addiction and relapse. Knowing can help prevent you from judging yourself a failure if you mess up and encourage you to get back on track. Knowing what your triggers are can help you prevent those mess-ups from happening.
10. Have a plan. Identify your triggers and decide ahead of time how you will handle them. Is lunch out with co-workers where you usually eat poorly? Decide what you will do instead. Bring your lunch and skip the lunch out. Or find a healthy spot to go and suggest that the group goes there. Pre-scan the menu on-line and decide what healthy alternative you will order. Come up with a variety of alternatives. Practice what you will say.
11. Learn all you can about nutrition and why changing how you eat is important. When temptation hits remembering that the burger you are thinking of eating comes from a tortured, hormone laden, cow that may have been fed food tainted with mad cow’s disease may help you say no and choose the veggie burger instead.
With a bit of planning and support your transition to a new and healthier you will be a success!
We would love to hear from you. What are your goals for 2013? What tips do you have to share? What was your transition to healthy eating like?