Changing your mindset to create better eating habits is easier than you think. These great tips will guide the way!
When it comes to our health and nutrition, many individuals struggle with reaching and consistently maintaining ideal eating habits. While there are many reasons for this, one reason commonly overlooked is the role mindset plays in our eating patterns. We’ve all done it before: emotional or pressure eating. Many people have a tendency to eat when they are stressed, bored, depressed, or in celebration. This emotional action is directly linked and influenced by our mindset, or, in other words, our mental attitudes.
While we can’t always change the circumstances and stresses of life, we can set up situations to help us to be more prepared and consistent with our nutrition. Below are some tips to help keep you stay on track and keep you from mindless eating!
Set a Goal!
Like anything else we want to accomplish in life, we need to have a goal—a clear vision of what we’re aiming for! While it’s true a goal could or should be big and cause us to grow, it’s also important to remember a goal must also be realistic. This is where baby steps become key. Consistent, small, manageable goals can lead to bigger, greater goals! A necessary part to actually achieving a goal is to not only think it, but to write it down and review it regularly. It’s also a good idea to share your goals with family and friends, not only for the support, but the accountability. Start with a list of the biggest areas of your diet that need improvement. Make “stepping stone” goals each day, week, or month to reach the ultimate goal. For example, if you are used to drinking several cans of soda pop each day, start by aiming to decrease it down to two cans a day for the first week or two, then down to one, then down to only a couple a week, until eventually after a few weeks, you’ve eliminated soda altogether! Checking off goals can be a really rewarding and motivating feeling and can be a great way to keep a positive mindset!
As you start working towards a goal, make sure you remember to be realistic! Our motivations tend to be higher in the beginning of making changes and working towards reaching a goal. When real life hits us though, and the changes become a bit more difficult, we don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up. Like the soda pop example above, setting a manageable goal by slowly progressing is a realistic goal to set for yourself. For most people, going from several cans a day to none would not be realistic and would set them up for failure. Especially when it comes to nutrition, it’s important to know even the smallest positive changes, when done consistently, can have a great impact.
The hard part about creating habits is the change required. Change isn’t always the easy thing. So deciding to improve your eating habits will require you to take charge of your health. This is done in various ways depending on the person and the goal, but taking charge by making lists of what to get at the store, making time to prepare meals ahead of time (food prep), taking the initiative to pack snacks and lunches, deciding to only have healthy foods at the house or in hand, and other such methods will set you up for a situation that will be a positive cycle. Taking charge means being proactive, and it will help to keep yourself accountable to yourself and to avoid excuses.
Don’t Be Too Rigid!
While it is important to be dedicated and take charge, it’s also crucial to remember that the above-mentioned realism is also needed. It’s necessary to remember that life isn’t always perfect, and allowing for some flexibility is okay. Whether it’s due to travel or other circumstances that make sticking to our goals a bit harder, do the best you can to prepare and plan ahead for success (by packing foods and snacks with you, visiting a grocery store where you are traveling, etc), but don’t feel like a failure if a situation arises that requires you to be flexible with your goals. However, don’t over-use the flexibility as an excuse to not being consistent or taking charge, remember, it is you and only you who can improve your eating habits and therefore your life.
Consistency is going to be required if better eating habits are going to be formed. Nothing great was achieved in a day, so taking the steps and preparation to be consistent with healthy eating is going to be essential. Habits such as weekly food preparation and daily packing of lunches and snacks will help you to be consistent with your eating habits.
Enjoying the journey is crucial to anyone who is trying to be consistent and proactive! Take steps to make the journey to your optimal health a pleasant and enjoyable experience! Whether this means involving family and friends, doing group food prep days, trying new and different foods and recipes, or discovering other fun ways to enjoy your experiences will help you to stick with your better eating habits.
Enjoy each stage as you progress and improve. Noticing the changes in how you feel and look makes it all worth the challenges that might arise while creating healthy eating habits!