The dreaded 3 words that anyone trying to eat healthier, be it to lose weight or just feel better in general, doesn't want to hear are - Just Do It.
It's a hell of a lot easier said than done. It can be a huge struggle to even get started, so we've tried to make it a little easier on you by giving you these tips on the best ways to start eating healthy.
9 times out of 10 we hear that the reason that someone gives up on eating healthier is that it's too daunting. So many people dive in without doing the proper research - in a sense, dooming them from the start.
The tips here are meant to be a starting point, a way that leads to making solid choices that stick.
You're not going to hear a bunch of "eat more fish", or "load up on more veggies". Everyone knows this, and it's been repeated to the point that we don't even hear it anymore. We hear this and think "yeah, yeah, I know".
But we don't.
Before you start on your journey to a better you, take some time to learn about why you're making decisions in your life, and the thought processes behind them.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be a chore, and it doesn't have to be boring. Stick with us - after all, we're just getting started.
1. Healthy Eating Is A State Of Mind
There's a reason we reach for unhealthy foods when we're feeling bad, or sad, or tired. It comforts us, fills the hole, and it tastes great, unfortunately for us.
Getting healthy, making better food choices, and sticking to a commitment starts in your brain first.
If you don't have that part down, it's not going to matter what you do. Eventually you will fall back on old habits when times get tough.
Getting into that frame of mind has a few different components to it. Here's how you can set yourself up for success.
Set Goals - These will be important as you progress in your journey, be it looking forward to them or looking back and seeing how far you've come.
Buy a blank book, or a fancy one, and lay out your specific goals, what you want to change, and why you want to change it.
Updating it regularly helps to keep you on track and focused. It can also help you to look back and analyze areas that could use improvement.
Download A Food Tracker App - This will help you to keep track of what you're eating, and the nutritional value of it as well. It's super important to get the proper nutrients, day in and day out, to keep your body healthy and feeling good.
Keep A Food Journal - This may seem like the same thing as tracking your food with an app, but it's not. Here you are going to record what you're eating, what time you're eating it, and most importantly, why you're eating it.
Emotional eating is a real thing, and a struggle for a lot of people. Laying out the why behind your food intake can help immensely in overcoming unhealthy eating habits, and help you to form new ones.
Don't Compare Yourself To Others - Yes, we all want to be healthy, happy, and feel comfortable in our own skin. But constantly looking at others and feeling inadequate will only drag you down further.
Accept that this is who you are right now, and that you are taking the necessary steps to improve yourself. This isn't going to be the same you one year from now, so give yourself a break.
Once you can move past the fact that not everyone is the same, and that we don't all change the same way, you can start to focus simply on you.
Think Positive - When first starting out, it is common, and normal, to have setbacks - days when you don't feel that great, when you make unhealthy choices, and it can lead to a downward spiral.
But only if you let it.
One day of bad eating is not going to derail you, and is small considering it is a lifetime of choices that got us here in the first place.
By staying positive and accepting your failures along with your successes, you will achieve your goals.
2. Don't Rush Out & Buy Every Healthy Thing You See
Seriously, what you need to do right now is just sit back, take a nice, big, deep breath, and chill out.
We humans have a tendency to go overboard on everything, and this is no different for healthy eating as well. We want to do it so there is no room here for half measures, right? RIGHT?!
This is exactly the frame of mind that is going to be your downfall. Just waking up one morning and throwing away all your junk food and replacing it with a bag of avocados and some chicken breast isn't going to cut it if you're in this for the long haul (don't feel bad if you've already gone out and done this, we're guilty of it too!).
And this is precisely what this is, the long haul. You want to make sustainable changes to your eating in order for them to stick.
Thinking that by jumping in and doing everything right away is the right way to go about it is a fool's errand, but this stops now.
Start small, and get yourself a few things that can replace some of the unhealthy stuff you're currently chowing down on.
Whether it's just replacing the potato on your plate with a big salad instead a few nights a week, and changing up the chips for some carrot sticks, focus on making these small changes over a week or two.
After that, you can start replacing more foods this way. And remember, these are changes that we want to stick around for a long time, and it will take time to implement them.
The worst thing you can do for yourself is to jump in with both feet and realize you're in over your head. For the first little while, only making small changes is what is going to set this apart from your previous attempts.
2. Ditch The Soda & Drink More Water
Yes, you see this tip everywhere, but it is one of the most important things that you can do for your body and your overall health.
4 out of 10 people don't drink enough water in a day.
The recommended daily water intake is there for a reason, and a lack of proper water intake can lead to a whole host of different health problems you probably weren't aware of, including:
- Chronic tiredness and fatigue
- Kidney problems
- Low blood pressure
Nearly half of us are walking around experiencing some of this every day. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?
Getting the right amount of water in you daily is crucial to how good you are going to feel, and is vital to how your body functions as a whole. Don't skimp out!
Soda is not good for you. Even diet soda with no calories in it is not good for you. Look at these facts on soda drinkers and try to convince yourself once you've read them that this is in any way, shape, or form something you want to keep putting in your body on a regular basis.
Water has proven to be one of the most important ways to start eating healthier, so don't skip out on it.
Water doesn't have to be boring. There are tons of different ways to "spice" it up, including flavouring your water with MIO or other methods, or getting a water bottle with a fruit infuser in it.
We tested some of these water bottles out and they are fantastic. Bye-bye boring water, hello cucumber mint water!
When you're properly hydrated, you feel better, and you make better choices about your body. It really is that simple.
3. Start Learning About Why Bad Foods Are Bad For You
The mindless shoveling in our mouths of food with absolutely no thought or care about what is in it has gotten so out of control in the last few decades that it's a wonder people manage to stay healthy at all.
It's a lot easier to turn a blind eye to something when you really don't know what is in it, or what it's doing to your body.
The amount of fat and sodium in one single cheeseburger from MacDonald's makes up a quarter of your daily intake. When you consider the size of it (so small, and almost 300 calories!), and the amount of other junk going into the system in one single day - frankly, it's alarming.
Start small and keep a food diary for a week without changing anything. When your week is up, go through and research what is in it, what your daily intakes for certain things should be.
You'll start to see the reasons that you're failing in your attempts right there in front of your eyes.
By learning the why behind these "bad" foods, it makes it a bit harder to continue putting them in your body, and in turn helps you to make smarter choices.
There are some really informative documentaries out that really put the spotlight onto why these foods are so unhealthy, and they're worth a watch.
Stop Eating So Many Processed Foods
Food has evolved so much over the course of human history that it's scarcely recognizable anymore as anything nutritious.
For instance, back in the days when people still foraged for their food, including killing, butchering, and cooking the meat they consumed, there were no Fruit Roll-Ups, or cheesecake, or Pizza Pops.
These types of foods are loaded with sugar, and other unhealthy chemicals. Over time, consuming too many of them leaves you feeling weak, lethargic, and addicted to them, depending on them to make you feel good.
Stick to foods that have actual nutritional value, and learn about why the vitamins and minerals in them are good for you.
Knowledge is power, and what we are to change first and foremost is our way of thinking about food and how it works in our bodies.
Once we know this stuff, it makes it easier to implement in our day to day lives.
“Knowledge is power but enthusiasm pulls the switch.” - Anonymous
Finally, Keep It Simple
Eating healthy doesn't have to be hard, or a chore, or boring.
Keep it simple when you start, don't overload your brain and your body with stuff that you're not capable of at first, and have fun with it.
Learn new ways of cooking vegetables, try new foods, and keep yourself in a good frame of mind.
What are the best ways to start eating healthy? The ways that are easy to implement and have stick around - for good.
There are plenty of different ways to go about it, which we will cover in depth in further articles, but remember - this is just the beginning.