So many want to step forward on the path of healthy eating but many are uneducated as to what actual healthy eating means. For some the idea of completely changing how they eat seems quite daunting – and it can be! Cold turkey rarely works because not only is it a shock to the system, but it takes time to understand the art of healthy eating. And it is an art – it requires finesse and love, for yourself and for the journey. Healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to live off tofu and bean sprouts. In fact, though they are tasty, if you never journey into the world of tofu and never attempt a sprout, that’s okay.
How To Eat Healthy
I suggest three straight-forward and easy to follow steps:
1. Educate yourself: Gain a new understanding
2. Take baby steps: Make one small change at a time
3. Have the Intention: Make a commitment to your health
Let's look at these three steps a little closer.
1) Educate Yourself
Any new endeavor often requires research. Healthy eating is no different. With so many products on the market touted as natural, low-fat, low-calorie, lite, whole grain and the like, it can be hard to decide not only which is best for you but what is actually healthful. These labels are misleading at best. The keys to making healthful choices for your body are understanding what it all means, gaining a new understanding of health, and listening to your body. What works for one may not work for another.
Educating yourself on what your body requires to be at peak health, as well as, on various modalities of eating, nutrition, and healthful living will provide you a solid base on which to build. Healthy eating isn’t rocket science but diving in blindly has derailed many a person on their road to health.
2) Take Baby Steps
While lack of knowledge can easily throw one off course, nothing can cause a stumble quite as quickly as surging forward cold-turkey and cutting out all “bad” foods as once. Not only is this overwhelming emotionally, but physically it can be taxing on the body. The human anatomy gets used to one way of eating. If one’s diet is full of processed foods, sugars, and chemical addictives these ingredients are stored in various parts of the body resulting in toxification. When one abruptly cuts out these ingredients and replaces them rapidly with healthful foods that promote detoxification then all sorts of detox side effects can occur including headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, flu like symptoms, nausea, and intestinal upset – to name a few. If one would instead start small, replacing unhealthy choices with healthy ones over an extended period of time then the body has time to acclimate and adjust, thus decreasing the rate of detoxification.
Aside from the metabolic changes involved with going cold-turkey, there is too the emotional factor. Certain foods taste good! And when you’re used to eating them the palate has become accustomed to them. Others around you may eat donuts, chips, sodas, and burgers too. So when you suddenly go cold-turkey there are emotional ties to the foods you love as well as social implications to deal with.
Take baby steps! By starting small you can create the diet you want and turn it into a diet that will last.
3) Have the Intention
There is a big difference between “I want to” and “I will.” “I want to eat healthfully” is rather like saying “I want to be honest,” both are choices and wanting to doesn’t mean that you will do it. Saying “I will eat healthfully,” or “I make this commitment to myself” creates a much more solid intention. So before beginning any healthful diet or eating plan sit down and ask yourself why you want to do it. Set your intention. With intention backing you, your choice will be much more solid and you will be much more likely to stick to it. In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not – there is no try,” indeed there is no try. Trying to eat healthfully is like trying to breathe. Either you are or you are not. Set your intention then move forward in action.
With these three steps you can literally change your lifestyle. And this goes much further than healthy eating. Use these steps to create the change you want to see in other aspects of your life as well. In the coming weeks I will be posting about each of the steps in more detail so keep a look out for other ways to create the life you want.