Eating healthy isn't always easy, especially when you're just starting out. Succeeding and sticking to it is even harder. I've lost count of how many times I've started to eat healthy, only to go back to my old ways after a few days or weeks.
We here at Living Chirpy haven't always eaten a mostly whole and natural diet. We still struggle sometimes, but we've come a long way and we continue to try and improve our habits.
These 10 Tips To Succeed At Healthy Eating are our personal tried and true methods that have worked for us through the years...
1. TAKE IT EASY
Going cold turkey DOESN'T WORK - I've failed at it enough times in my life to know????. Suddenly cutting out everything you're used to eating is a recipe for disaster. Eat as you always do, and simply ADD healthy habits. One in, one out.
An easy way to start is to drink more water. You don't have to suddenly chug down gallons, you just have to start slowly drinking more and more. If you normally drink 6 cans of soda a day, replace on with a glass of water and then another a few days or a week later. Work your way up. Slow progress leads to lasting change.
2. START WITH THE EASY STUFF
Make easy switches in the beginning. For example, if you usually use toxic vegetable and seed oils to cook, swap them with butter, ghee, or animal fats.
Making small, healthy changes won't traumatize the sugar-lover in you. Cut out the stuff that you don't really care about first. I've always felt very neutral about rice (didn't hate or love it), so it was easy for me to cut out, because it wasn't something that I would miss. Gradually cut out unhealthy foods, and leave the ones you love/crave the most for last.
3. THE BEGINNING IS THE HARDEST
Saying no to food you love is hard. The first time I declined a brownie it felt like the end of the world ????. Healthy eating felt like something that would be impossible to stick to. But I'm here to tell you it's not. It gets easier with time. Much, much easier. I can now say no without batting an eye, and it doesn't feel like my world is falling apart.
4. MAKE DELICIOUS FOOD
If you don't enjoy your new lifestyle, you're not going to stick to it. Period. Too many times have I made the mistake of eating bland food when trying to go healthy. Ugly piles of steamed broccoli now, leads to hands in the cookie jar later.
5. PLAN AND PREPARE MEALS AHEAD
The less thinking you have to do, the better. Healthy eating is much easier to stick to when it's not stressful or an effort to do. Have healthy snacks around. Make meals ahead, or at least know what you're going to make. When you plan a menu a few days ahead and have all the ingredients in the fridge, there's a much smaller chance of making bad, impulsive meal choices.
6. EAT SLOWLY
This one is very important. Slow down considerably. Chew your bites AT LEAST 20 times. Put your knife and fork down between bites. Breathe ????! In the beginning, it'll be a conscious effort, and you'll have to count in your head. BUT you'll eat a lot less, because you'll be better able to tell when you're full.
So, even when you eat processed food, you won't overdo it. One slice of pizza isn't healthy, but it sure is a whole lot better than eating an entire pizza and dessert by yourself (yes, I've done that ????).
7. VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
Experiment with flavors and ingredients. Don't eat the same thing every day, no matter how healthy it is. I know it's easy to have a go-to meal or snack, but it gets boring pretty quickly. The second I get bored with what I eat, I start craving processed or junk food.
8. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
The second I "can't" have something, I find myself wanting it more than I've ever wanted anything in my entire life ????. The truth is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. There is no "can't". So throw that word out of your vocabulary.
Instead of telling yourself that you "can't" have something, make your own damn choice ☝????. I CAN have that, but I don't WANT to, because it makes me feel sluggish/bloated/sick etc.
9. DON'T GIVE UP WHEN YOU'RE NOT PERFECT
Your lifestyle change isn't messed up when you had pizza for lunch. I know this vicious cycle very well. 'Since I had pizza for lunch, I'm just going to go ahead and have that pasta and cupcakes for dinner. I messed up, so I'll start again tomorrow morning.' I then repeat this the next day ????. If you fall off the bandwagon, just hop back on as fast as you can.
10. INDULGE, BUT ALLOW IT TO FADE
Allow yourself the occasional treat, especially at an event or gathering. Instead of having three cupcakes, have two, and then the next time only have one. Gradually indulge less and less, and soon start skipping dessert and it won't even be a big deal.
That's the big secret. Big changes happen in small steps. An unhealthy lifestyle doesn't magically disappear, it slowly but surely fades away (sometimes without you even really noticing).
One day you'll just wake up and realize you haven't had a slice of cake in ages, and it won't really bother you, because you're living a wonderful healthy lifestyle and you feel fantastic. So...Bye, Felicia ✋????!
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