How many times have you found yourself relapsing back into bad nutrition habits? You were doing so well, you felt great, you felt like you finally got the hang of this nutrition thing. Then all of a sudden, that one donut or one bowl of Mac n’ cheese caused you to spiral down into a world of bad nutrition choices and feeling like getting back into healthy eating is impossible. How many times have you started a nutrition plan cold turkey and a week or even a few days later find it hard to stick with and just give up? You’re not alone! Even people with strong will power and discipline find themselves in these situations, after all we are human! The hardest part about getting out of these ruts is getting back into it. It’s important to set yourself up for success that will help you ease back into healthier habits and better choices. Over the years of learning the hard way, I’ve been able compile a few tips that have helped me ease back onto the bandwagon of healthy eating. Start with a few goals that are easy to achieve and keep building on that. Create that foundation that will lead to long lasting habits!
Start with water consumption
Often times when we relapse into bad nutrition habits, it gets harder and harder to remember to drink enough water. It’s easy to think that taking in other beverages like coffee, soft drinks or juices are a decent substitute for water. There’s that downward spiral again. You start filling your day with more and more cups of coffee and less and less cups of water. It’s bad enough that most of us don’t drink the minimum required amount of water that our bodies need to function properly as it is. I have found it easier to start making better choices with this small achievable goal: drink at least 8 glasses of water a day for a week. Tailor the amount of water you take in to your lifestyle. Make sure it is an easy goal you know you can conquer. At the end of the week, you should feel like you accomplished a step in the right direction, now you’re ready for another challenge!
Add all the veggies
The hardest part of eating a balanced and healthy diet for me has always been consuming a good amount of vegetables. Especially since our meals these days have become less colorful and more neutral, looking like the color of processed carbs. When was the last time you had green, red and orange assorted vegetables on your plate? When was the last time you ate a vegetable other than the standard everyday green beans? Start another goal to include vegetables into every meal as your carb source. Be creative, think outside the usual and everyday veggies. I make my goal to have 50-75% of my meal plate to be compromised of vegetables for a week. Again, make this a goal you can achieve and tailor it to something you are able to accomplish for a specific amount of time. At the end of the week you should feel great about accomplishing your goal and you’ve created a foundation for a good habit.
Cut something out
That downward spiral of bad food choices always starts with that first donut. Then it’s easy to make that one harmless donut a habit of many donuts. A habit that you don’t need in your life. It’s time to condition yourself to cut that bad habit out and start the foundation to know that you don’t need that unnecessary calorie anymore, you can live without it. If it’s not a donut then I’m sure it’s something else. Something that you are incorporating into your everyday life that has become a unneeded habit. Let’s get rid of it! Pick that one thing that you want out of your life and challenge yourself to cut it out of your diet for a week. Whether it’s the trip to Starbucks everyday for that pumpkin spice latte or the daily Diet Coke with your lunch, rid yourself of that habit. Again make sure you set an achievable goal. If you need to wean yourself off of it gradually, set smaller goals with shorter timeframes until you get rid of that nasty habit for good!
It feels good to set goals and feels even better when you achieve them. It’s hard when you hit set backs and road blocks. Make a commitment to yourself not to head down that out of control spiral. Whatever goal you set, if you do happen to relapse, its ok. You’re human. Make a promise to yourself to be consistent by making sure that one cheat meal or bad food choice does not set you back and prevent you from achieving your goal. It’s not the end of the world, get back into it and make sure it doesn’t prevent you from creating that foundation of being a better you. Make that next meal or next choice one that aligns with the goal that you set and don’t look back! If you do happen to make a bad choice, set a goal to make sure the next meal is back on track with your previous commitments.