I hope that is this day and age of information overload we all realize that health and wellness is not only affected by physical fitness but also by what we eat. As a matter of fact, most experts understand that what we eat and how we eat is even more important than exercising as it relates to getting healthy
Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. Eating habits are called that because that’s exactly what they are… habits!
Many of us have developed poor eating habits over time because it is easy and convenient to do so… no thought… no effort. We eat not to properly fuel our bodies, but to curb a craving or want and the quick fix, fast fry, chocolate covered, salt coated, chemically laced mass produced junk food industry is tailor made AND MARKETED towards the North American lifestyle!
This is not a revelation; we all know this and most of us should do something about it. But again, there is the misconception that eating healthy is either too expensive or too difficult.
When it comes to cost, you can be smart when shopping and eat well for less, just a little research on your part will make it that much easier. In regards to the difficulty of eating better, I’ve never said that change doesn’t take some effort, but I do like to live by the K.I.S.S. principle…Keep It Simple Stupid.
I’ve written in a few of my previous blogs about the importance of incorporating small, manageable goals when it comes to moving towards a larger overall target. This exact same principle can be, and should be, applied to our daily eating habits.
A very easy way to make a big change over a 6 month period is to pick 6-8 major things you want to change about your daily eating routine. However, instead of trying to make all the changes at once, incorporate 1 change at a time until you get used to it, usually for about 3-4 weeks per step.
For example, a small change could be “I am going to make sure I drink 6 glasses of water per day”. Don’t deviate from this, you will get used to it and it too will become a habit. Suggestions could be; eat 2-3 pieces of fruit per day, eat at least one serving of vegetables fresh or cooked, cut back on read meat, choose grilled over fried at restaurants, use light mayo or none at all, ignore the salt shaker, shop on the outside of the grocery store, eat whole grain breads or pastas. This is a very basic list and it will be different for everybody. Again, incorporate one of these steps every 3-4 weeks and in 6 months your entire eating routine will be completely reformed!
One last thing, I’m a big proponent of having a free day. This is a day (usually a Saturday or Sunday) in which you can eat what you want. It not only satisfies any cravings you may have throughout the week, but it allows you to stick with your weekly routine because you can always use your free day as a reward.
Good luck, eat well, be healthy and stay awesome!
Peter Courtney is a personal fitness trainer and director of sales with 360fit in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He lives in Sackville with his wife Carmelle and step daughters Lauren and Jenna.