You're starting one of those food challenges to lose weight and eat healthier. Or you might just be looking for some healthy eating tips. You have a lot of questions.
What foods do you choose? When do you need to be disciplined? When can you be a bit more relaxed?
At Live Free America, we understand that it can be difficult to navigate a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to change your eating habits.
Start with a small change
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Making your diet healthier can feel like a daunting process. Chunk it into “bite sized” pieces that are easier to implement! If you’re on a weightloss challenge for beginners, give yourself a small, manageable goal that has great short term results. A 1 month challenge diet might be a good place to start.
The short term results might be more mental than physical. For instance, start by introducing more healthy food, like fruits and vegetables, into your diet. The vibrant colors will be unmistakable in your diet, and you’ll know you’re incorporating a change into your diet every time you eat them. Keep doing this for 30 days. You might not see immediate physical results, but you will feel mental benefits that motivate you to do more.
If you’ve been making these changes for some time and feel like you might be ready for a change that requires more willpower and provides fewer short term results, begin to use a dietary habit tracker that helps you become more aware of your dietary habits and your daily diet. Ask yourself what kinds of changes you’d like to make.
Whichever level you're at, make sure you've created a meal plan. It'll help you work out your daily diet, remember what to eat and stay aware of the long term vision.
Keep the junk food out of reach
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One of the biggest problems is the convenience of processed food and fast food. We become accustomed to reaching for this option, and it becomes easy to procrastinate switching to minimally processed foods. Though it’s prepackaged to make it easy and ready to eat, it often lacks nutritional value, comes with added sugar and other potentially unhealthy additives, and can lead to health conditions like high blood pressure.
It’s time to make that food less accessible. Let’s make it easier on ourselves to make better food choices! Increase the amount of time and effort to retrieve junk food and make healthier options more accessible. Make a plan to stop going to those fast food restaurants and ordering the dollar menu items.
Let's cut down on the french fries and other popular fast foods and put in more healthy foods like salad dressed with olive oil.
Plan for failure
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There are many challenges of weight loss and healthy eating. Life throws all kinds of situations at us! Realistically, there will be times when we succumb to past routines. You'll go back to the junk food and fast food chains. When you do this, ask yourself a few questions to help you get back on track and create a support system!
What will be my plan to contain the damage from this failure?
How will I return to my healthy eating routine?
How will I use the failure to make a better plan to stick to my healthy eating routine?
Where do I want to be in the long term?
Create a support system
Healthy weight loss and healthy eating are not just about nutrition and habits. It's much more holistic. Find others who are on similar journeys and share your stories. When you share with like minded people, you improve your mental and physical health.
Healthy eating isn’t always fun, and it’s even tougher when you have to stay consistent through the grind of life. Individual willpower has its limitations. Don't try to do it alone.
Become resources to each other! Band together, check in with each other routinely, and help each other through highs and lows. You will find it easier to stay consistent.
Reward yourself strategically
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A diet challenge is just that -- a challenge. It’s important to reward yourself with a cheat meal or cheat day to maintain your consistency and willpower. Find a healthy eating option that fits in your plan and allows you to relax your discipline.
If you want to enjoy it more, share the occasion with your support group! After the hard work you all went through, you deserve to share the memories as you celebrate.