Did you feel the pressure to make a New Year’s resolution? If you made one, has it stuck or now, 2 weeks in, have you already fallen off the wagon?
Did you tell yourself that you would cut something out? Sugar, fat, carbs, salt? Trying to eat better is a great goal and one worth pursing but cutting ourselves off of something has the tendency to come right back on us. If your doctor has told you that you must avoid a particular food for your health that’s one thing but what if you’re simply trying to become healthier? Deprivation doesn’t work; statistics show that diets fail 95% of the time and most people gain all of the weight back that they’ve lost in between 1-5 years.
Does that mean you should give up? Definitely not, but it will take a change of mindset. Research suggests that a long term change is based more on developing good habits as opposed to deprivation which inevitably backfires. So let’s take a look at what that means for changing habits in 2015 by taking on only 1 of these habits every 2 weeks (yes, only 1 – perfectionists, take note), in no particular order.
- Drink 1-2 more glasses of water each day
- Drink only non-caloric beverages each day and avoid diet sodas
- Add 1-2 handfuls or cups of brightly colored fruits and vegetables to 1-2 meals a day
- Add 1 hour of exercise this week whether you do none now or already do some exercise. This could be as simple as walking your dog, marathons need not apply
- Create a mindful eating space to sit down and eat whatever you’ve chosen with mindfulness, eating slowly and enjoying every last bite: no reading, no tv, no handheld devices and no stressful conversations
- Choose high fiber grains only for 1-2 meals each day: whole grain brown rice, oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread and quinoa are examples
- Add 1 serving of healthy fats to your diet each day: raw, unsalted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, about 1-2 Tbsp), fatty fish or an omega 3 supplement, avocado
- Add 1 serving of high quality lean protein to 1-2 meals each day (beef, chicken, pork, tofu, dairy). Watch your portion size – a meat serving should be about the size of your palm, not a 16 oz steak
Okay, so once you’ve added one habit for 2 weeks, you keep doing that habit when you add the next. You then keep the 2 habits going while you add the 3rd and so on.
You’ll notice that nothing was cut out. Given all of the food issues we have as food allergic/intolerant people or parents, why add more angst and anxiety to our daily living, especially if we’re already feeling deprived?
If you truly want that bag of chips, you’re good as long as it is a conscious choice, you sit down at your mindful eating place, eat slowly and enjoy the heck out of it. For your next meal, you continue with your change of habits – no waiting for Monday, the next eclipse, your school reunion, etc. You know what I mean.
If, after 16 weeks, you’ve added in all of the habits to your lifestyle and practice them daily, there’s not a lot of room for all of the other stuff but it’s not forbidden either. Keep on going, but not to extremes; add 1 more hour of exercise for 2 weeks, then increase your veggie intake again.
Feeling healthier yet? I’d love to hear how you’re doing as I’ll be doing it right alongside you as my 2015 program for my own Nourish program.