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When I look back at my food habits over the years, I have come a long way from eating bagels and a 20 ounce soda for breakfast—I shudder to think of that. While I was not super unhealthy, I certainly was not healthy. It was about my mid-20s when I really got serious about improving my diet and my overall health, and the endeavor was successful. Now, healthy eating is not a struggle in the least, but rather my way of life that I do not think twice about. Yet, I still manage to enjoy the good stuff. Here are some tips for developing a healthier relationship with food that worked for me and I think they will work for you too.
One of the biggest problems we face with changing our eating habits is that we live too much in the immediate moment, and when we fail in that moment, we think efforts to better our diet are hopeless, so we might as well just forget the whole thing. But, it is important to remember that you are not doing this for a short-term benefit, you are doing this so you can live the rest of your years in a better state of health. When you look at the journey like this, you will not get as discouraged with slip-ups, you will truly believe that tomorrow is another day to start fresh; you will not have to be perfect in your eating from day one.
Also, when thinking long-term, you will see that you do not totally have to give up the good stuff. In the grand scheme of things, having that ice cream cake at the birthday party or eating a bit too much during that one holiday party will not scar your healthy eating efforts for life.
When I first started getting serious about changing my eating habits, I knew the first place I had to start was my home. This one piece of advice is the simplest, but yet, the hardest for people to implement. Start keeping healthier food in your house and you will have no other choice but to eat it. You do not have to burn all the potato chips and cookies, but at least start increasing the ratios. Opt for the chicken instead of the steak; commit to adding at least two vegetables to your side dishes and cut back on the meat. Get a cookbook that boasts healthy meals that can be prepared quickly; I became a huge fan of the fruit smoothie, especially during the warmer months. All you need is a blender, fruit, water and ice and you have a refreshing, filling treat.
Getting super-clear on why we want the things we want is one of the most powerful ways to achieve our goals; this is because it strengthens the mind, the place where all decisions originate. Anything you can do to get yourself to make the decisions that support your health rather than detract from it, is a worthy investment of your time. Why do you want to be a healthier person? Why do you want a better diet? Write it down and go deeper into each reason, asking why you want that, and why you want that. The further you go, the more you will discover what is truly important to you and how changing your eating habits will support getting those things you most value. Make copies of this list and keep a copy in your house, in your wallet, at work and anywhere else it may come in handy.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics related to food and cooking. If you are looking for some quick, healthy meals and snacks, she recommends visiting Hamilton Beach recipes.
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