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A Mental Approach to Eating Well

SO many people are trying to eat better lately. Whether it's more awareness to be healthier or to get beach-ready for the summer months, eating well is on everyone's mind and it can be HARD. Many people get frustrated, fall short or give up. Here are my best mental approaches to starting a clean eating way of life:

1. Set Goals: It starts by having clear and realistic goals. Write a list of things you want to change about your diet. What do you want to eliminate from your diet? What foods do you want to incorporate more of? Also, think about how you want your body to feel and look. I recommend setting daily goals, weekly goals, and long term goals. If you try and do everything all at once you can be overwhelmed and want to quit. Tackling the daily, short term goals feels easier to do and it's so much less overwhelming. This is a marathon, not a sprint! There's no specific time frame.

You may also want to write reasons why you want to make a change in your eating habits. You might share your goals with others who will help you meet them. You can put your goals where others can see them (on the fridge, at work) to motivate you to work harder. This will also get others behind you and involved in your new routine.

As you achieve your goals, check them off each night. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and add excitement leading to your next goal.

2. Be Proactive:When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you to eat, no matter where you are. Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy, and what foods you can take with you to work, in the car, wherever. Always keep healthy foods in your house and around you. If you don’t you will probably eat whatever is available at the time whether it be fast food, office treats, etc. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices and eat whatever is fast and convenient. Getting ahead on the weekend, such as planning and cooking dinner for Monday and Tuesday in advance will not only guarantee that you're eating well but it saves you SO much time during the busy work week!

3. Keep Realistic Expectations: Your plan needs to work for you and your situation. It needs to fit your schedule and your budget. So be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to meal prep and prepare. Also know that obstacles can and will come into your path from time to time to derail you and your progress, so don’t think that everything will be easy and will just happen. This takes work.

4. Consistency is key: Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy levels will stay high. You will feel better, and get in a healthy routine. It is easy to sabotage yourself by grabbing nasty snacks to meet uncontrolled cravings. The time you spend on planning and consistency is a true investment that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

5. Be flexible: Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Life can sometimes get the best of all of us. Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Also educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, books, and magazines. You can use this knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are compatible with your diet, for example if you are out with friends or stuck with no time to cook. Find items that are less time consuming that you can take with you in a pinch.

6. Relax : Nobody is perfect. There is no such thing as perfection, actually. If you mess up, miss a few meals, or even have a bad couple of days, just pick yourself up and get back on track. You’re doing this for you, and the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. This is why I personally PLAN in a cheat meal every single week. It takes the pressure off. 7. Stick with your plan: It takes time to develop healthy behaviors. After about a month of eating better consistently, you will have developed a habit. You will find that everything you initially may have had a hard time doing becomes more effortless and be a normal part of your day to day life. Just because it's hard in the beginning doesn't mean it will always be hard!!

8. Believe in Yourself: Remain positive about your choices. You have the power to change any negative into a positive, and you have the choice to have a positive outlook regarding any situation you find yourself in. Get friends and family involved. Set challenges at home, with friends, or at work to start eating healthier. Take the time to cook and try new and interesting recipes. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable.

9. Reward Yourself: So I'm not talking about food or treats here. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make. Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making, and in turn help keep you on your path to betterment. At the end of a week, reward yourself with a relaxing salt bath or at the end of the month if you've stayed consistent - get a massage! Do something healthy for yourself!

10. Focus on the journey: To live a healthy lifestyle can be easy. In order to enjoy this lifestyle with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Take pride in small victories along the way, they add up.

11. Be Patient: People always start with the best of intentions and will try and do everything at once. They get overwhelmed and quit before they really even started. Small changes add up and can make a huge difference. Work on one thing at a time and keep adding to it. Before you know it you will have many healthy habits that incorporate together to make a healthy lifestyle and a healthier and happier you. 12. Measure Success and Set New Goals: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is overlook progress or meeting goals! Track your efforts and when you achieve a goal, make a new one! It's a journey, there really is no end to living a healthy life. You will surprise yourself in how much you can achieve in 30 days!!!

Make today count!!

Does this resonate with you? Would you like to receive more support from me on a regular basis?! Join my next challenge group where I can personally help you set goals and achieve them!

A Healthy Hot Mess by Jennifer Stawarz

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