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A Realistic Guide To Eating Healthier

May 07, 2022 3 min read

A Realistic Guide To Eating Healthier

On some level, many of us want to improve our health and fitness by following a healthier diet. But changing up your entire diet can be intimidating, especially if you have no idea where to start. Read on for a step-by-step guide to eating healthier and treating your body right this year. 

  1. Brush up on what “healthy” really means. 

When you think of eating healthy, you might think of piles of boring salads or dry, tasteless chicken breast and brown rice. The good news here is that that definitely does not have to be the case! 

In truth, eating healthy can look different for a lot of different people. So before you get going, it’s best to brush up on some of the basic tenants of healthy eating:

  • Whole foods (aka foods that have been minimally processed and are found in their natural forms) are generally more nutritious than processed foods (aka foods that you find in a package at the grocery store). 
  • Your plates should always be balanced. Start with an appropriate serving size of protein (a deck of cards is a good visual for most meat), then fill in the rest of your plate with healthy carbohydrates like whole grains and colorful veggies. Finish off with a small dollop of healthy fat like nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, or dressings. 
  • Your portion sizes are important, and this is where many of us tend to overdo it. 
  1. Start planning your food strategy out. 

“Winging it” usually isn’t a good plan when it comes to changing up something as all-encompassing as your eating patterns. While many of us have a pretty good idea of what healthy eating looks like, that doesn’t always translate to your real life actions, especially if a random craving for something much more delicious hits. 

So minimize the other variables by writing out a meal plan for yourself every week. Generally, the more specific you can be, the better, since it means you’ll have a solid plan that you can follow (and that means results over time!). Meal prepping is even better, since it means that you’ll always have healthy foods on hand that week even if your schedule gets unexpectedly busy. 

You can’t just plan your meal plan, either. You’ll also have to plan exactly when you’re going to make it all happen. Set aside some nonnegotiable time every week (for example, from 12-3pm every Sunday) to dedicate to meal prep and cooking. 

  1. Make it as easy as possible for yourself. 

Your plan will probably fall to the wayside if it gets too difficult to follow, which means that it’s imperative to make it as easy for yourself to follow as possible. If your meal plan consists of boring and tasteless foods, change it! You need to be able to look forward to your meals if you want to stick to them for any length of time. 

To make your life even easier, consider meal prepping your foods at the beginning of the week or using a meal prep delivery service to get foods delivered ready-to-eat style. The less work you have to put in during the week, the more likely you’ll be to follow through. 

  1. Don’t go “cold turkey.” 

It’s not always realistic to expect someone to give up the foods that they love without any issues. 

While some lucky people can immediately cut out the snacks, sweets, and processed foods and have no issues adjusting, most of us tend to find that it’s easier said than done. You might be able to go cold turkey and eliminate all of the “bad” foods from your diet for a while, but it can lead you to feeling deprived and really craving all of those foods that you miss so much. Unfortunately, this often leads to binging and overeating if you give in to that temptation. 

Instead, start on a smaller, more realistic scale. For example, if you know that it’s going to be a huge problem to cut out all of the sweets completely, start with limiting your portions and the frequency with which you eat them. If you can’t stop thinking about those chips you want so much, buy a single-serving bag of them and eat them as slowly as you can until the craving subsides. 

  1. Learn that “failure” is inevitable. 

Yes, if you’re human, you’re probably going to have a couple of slip-ups along the way. 

Here’s the important part: that’s okay! You have to learn that eating healthy is a lifelong journey, not a temporary habit. Teaching yourself to move on and carry on with your healthy eating the majority of the time gets you results, rather than dwelling on it and giving up from frustration the first time that you slip up. Progress, not perfection! 

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