5 Tips to Eating Healthy

Making better choices

May 23, 2018
EATING HEALTHY

Eating healthy is a challenge. Frankly it kinda sucks, but doesn't everything we are supposed to do for our health suck sometimes? As we get older, the machine needs more attention! Think about that for a moment. As we get older, the machine needs more attention. Body parts start to creek and groan, we start to show wear and tear, and it takes a bit more effort to get the machine started in the morning and it might not last as long as it did five years ago or 10 years ago. Guess what? THAT'S LIFE! It won't do any of us any good to complain about something that will NOT go in reverse. So how do we deal with this machine? More attention to detail. If you take care of your machine, it will last longer. It will work better. It will be worth more to you as the years go by. I could be talking about a vintage car you see at those car shows, but it's actually your body! Not much different. Instead of a mechanic, you see a doctor. Instead of car show, it's vacations. Instead of cleaning parts, and putting in new fluids and gas, we talking about what foods and fluids we put into our bodies. Much the same in principle, but IT'S SO HARD TO DO! Here are 5 tips to help you make better choices as you help your body last longer.

1. STOP SAYING "DIET"

When we hear the word "diet", I think our minds immediately think of losing weight, and having to give up all the foods we love to eat carrots and lettuce. Well, that is partially true. I don't think we have to "give up" everything, maybe the correct words are we need to make better choices and enjoy in moderation. I'll be the first to admit I'm a sucker for all those foods that are on the "watch list" like Mac 'N Cheese, Ice Cream, Pizza, wait- these are all the foods that taste good! DAMN! What's important is that we are changing habits. I want to try this someday. Hear me out. Starting first thing in the morning, take pictures of everything you eat, and how much of it there is. For example, I LOVE Fruity Pebbles for breakfast on Saturday morning. (reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons) But it's not just one bowl. It's TWO, and those bowls are not normal bowls! I am going to take pictures of those two massive bowls full of Fruity Pebbles. I will take pictures of all the food I eat for the entire day. Then look back at those pictures. I bet it will be shocking. So maybe in the future (or next Saturday) I have SOME Fruity Pebbles. In a small dish. Like a small one with a small spoon. Maybe that will help. 

2. IT'S NOT A SPRINT, IT'S A MARATHON

Here's the deal. You stand in front of the mirror and you say to yourself "I gotta change this. I don't like this look." One thing you need to make sure you say to yourself is  that you did not get this way overnight. You did not wake up and say, "OH MY GOSH! How did I get this way?" When you decide to change your habits, understand that it is NOT going to go away overnight either. This is going to be a process. You are going to have ups and downs. You are going to blow it at some point. Understand that that is a part of the process. The other part of that process is that you need to understand when you blow it, you need to get back to changing those habits. A changed and sustained behavior is the only way. You need to get your body active. Chances are you are not active. I find that when I am active, it not only gets me moving around, but it also increases my mind activity. It gets me going. I walk first thing in the morning. Alarm goes off, I get up and walk. I think about the day, what I have coming up and how I am going to make it a great day. Not always easy. I hit the snooze button a lot! It's changing the habit that is the hardest part. The second part to this point of it not being a sprint- SLOW DOWN when you eat! Physically slow down. Smaller fork, or smaller spoon and a smaller plate. Eat slow. Then wait. Wait. Wait. Chances are your mind is not caught up to you eating. I have heard that it takes 20 minutes for your mind to know you ate and are full. It's a different kind of Wait. Weight. (smile)

3. PLAN AHEAD

This is another habit you have to change. If you are not a planner, then this might be a difficult step for you. That's OK. If this whole process was easy, then everyone would do it and everyone would be skinny and healthy. Plan out some meals. What's for dinner each night? What foods are you going to take to work for lunch? Plan out those meals first, then get ready to head out to get the supplies for those meals. Now it's time to plan your trip to the grocery store. Find out what foods you like. Google some tips of food that would be healthy for you. My suggestion would be to do this a little at a time. No one wants to go from their regular diet of crap food into eating nuts, berries and sticks. That would suck. Think about what you normally buy at the grocery store. Sort it out bad to good. Take out some of the bad, and replace with the good. Then the next week do a little more, and so on. Give yourself time to adapt to your new choices. Again, slow down. It's not a sprint. Once you have done your grocery shopping done, get ahead and do some portioning. That's the next tip. But before we get there, other things to plan for are weekends and vacations. What are you eating over the weekends? It's the most common time to fall off the wagon because your day is not as structured as it is at work. You can't get up 50 times a day from your desk and check the fridge. Unless you work from home in that case, you may be doomed! (kidding) Also, vacation is coming up. What will your choices be for vacation? Plan it out, and hold yourself accountable. It's all on you.

4. PORTIONS & DRINK WATER

Portions can be an issue. For example, when my wife makes spaghetti, she makes enough to feed the neighborhood. She then proceeds to put a massive heap of that on a huge plate for me. Add in the other items around like garlic bread and a salad, and you can see how it can get out of control fast. Grab a smaller plate. Instead of half a loaf of bread, use a substitute, or just have 1 or 2 pieces. What are the alternatives? Sometimes you can find some really good ones, other times- there is just no substitute for what makes that meal perfect. OK. Understand what you are doing, and eat a smaller portion. At least try. IT'S NOT EASY! I love mac 'n cheese and could eat an entire box of Shells & Cheese by myself. THINK about that. How much that is not good for me alone. That is what got me to this place. That is why when I go to the doctor and she says, you could stand to lose a few pounds. I don't want heart disease. I don't want to get diabetes. I want the opposite. Again, this is all choices and changing habits. Now, with all of that. Drink more water. This is something I have to force myself to do. Drinking water is like watching grass grow. I can think of every other kind of fluid to drink, and water would be on the bottom of the list. Boring. It's like saying your favorite color is "clear". But I drink it. I have to tell myself to drink it. You hear all kinds of amounts out there too. I drink enough to make my pee clear. When that happens (and you will pee, a lot) that's my gage on how much to drink.

5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF, BUT HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

This goes without saying, yet so many people are so hard on themselves. I would love to look like David Beckham, but the fact is I will NEVER look like him. I need to be honest with myself, and give myself the opportunity to do the best I can. To push myself at my own pace, and to hold myself accountable. I do not want to set myself up for failure. So- go easy on yourself. Be honest to yourself about what you are doing and how you want to change. Set some realistic goals and hold yourself accountable. In fact go you your doctor, and ask them. That is what they are there for. When you take the car into the mechanic, they tell you what it needs and you do it. Do the same with yourself. After all, when is the last time you took a bunch of sugar and dumped it into your gas tank? Never. Why would you dump it into your stomach? 

Best of luck and share your tips too! I need as much help as I can get.