Principles of Eating Well
Most of us these days know what to eat. We know sugar is bad. We shouldn’t eat bread and excess carbs. We know we should eat more veggies and less processed junk. Why, then is it so hard to eat well? There are a few guiding principles that I have found over the years that make eating well long term more sustainable.
This is not a DIET, it’s a LIFESTYLE: The word “diet” has become a negative term mostly centered around losing weight. That’s not why we are here! We have to change the way we think about food. The food that we eat either gives us life, health, and vitality or it gives us sickness, pain, and disease. Will you lose weight when you eat well? Absolutely. But we are here for the long haul. We are here to change the way we choose to live so that the food that we eat adds years to our life and life to our years. We choose to change our lifestyle from one that builds sickness, pain, and disease to one that builds life, health, and vitality. Not just a fleeting diet that will bring us limited results, but a change of who we are and how we live that will bring a lifetime of health and abundance.
Environment over willpower: Willpower and motivation are fleeting emotions. They cannot be relied upon in everyday life to help us make good choices. But the environment you set for yourself can lead you to sustained success. What do you see when you open the fridge? If there is an ice cold soda staring you in the face it’s VERY hard to say no to it. If you open up the pantry and see a box of cookies you’re most likely going to grab one. If you are truly committed to making this change for the health of your family, create an environment for success.
Clean out your pantry and fridge. If it’s not on the list of what you can eat, throw it away. Remove the temptation altogether. Replace your unhealthy snacks with wholesome options instead and place them right in front of you. Leave the fruits and veggies on the top shelf for you to easily grab. Create an environment that supports you instead of tempts you.
Make a plan: As the saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” So it is with successfully changing how you eat. It’s when we are hungry and have no clue what to make for supper that we make bad choices and run to the fast food store on our way home. Or when it’s Wednesday and you are out of wholesome food and have to go grocery-shopping midweek. Make a plan for the day, for the week, even for the month!
Plan your meals: Plan out what you will eat and when for the week. Figure out what ingredients you will need, and then with your list in hand go to the store and buy everything you’ll need for your meals and snacks for the entire week ahead. You can even prep your food for the week. At the beginning of your week, prep as much as you can for your meals. Cook the meat, chop the veggies. Get everything as ready as possible so that all you have to do is throw it all together and warm it up. You can even go a step further and get all of your supplements in order for the week. The more prepared you are for the day and week ahead, the more successful you will be.
Plan for the struggles: Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what you’ll do hoping you’ll have the willpower to make the right choices. Choose ahead of time! If you are going on a road trip, pack plenty of snacks and meals to avoid grabbing something on the road. If you have a dinner out with friends, plan ahead to choose a salad and water, not the burger fries and soda. Always have a healthy snack on hand so that hunger doesn’t pull you to the junk food. Think a few steps ahead and make your choices before you’re confronted with the temptations!
Keep It Simple: Eating well does not need to be complicated. The more complicated you make it the harder it will be. The easiest way that I have ever found to be successful with nutrition is to commit to a smoothie and a salad everyday. Two of your main meals in that way will be full of great nutrients and you’ve taken all of the thought and struggle out of choosing what to eat. Snacks are even easier. Eat some nuts and berries. Minimize the choices you have to make in a day and you will maximize your long-term success.