Healthy Eating: How to Determine if It’s Actually a Better Goal or Resolution
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Every year we are inundated with everyone’s Resolutions at New Years. According to Statistic Brain, the #1 Resolution is losing weight/healthy eating. I’ll tell ya, I’ve seen loads of documentaries about our food system, and I’m all about healthy eating (the whole food type-not the processed type that says ‘natural’ or ‘light’ on the label.) But the thing is, many of us just make this resolution when really we should know first if we should actually be using a resolution or setting a goal.
Go HERE to get some better parameters on the REAL difference between goals and resolutions.
So when making your decision on whether you need a goal or resolution for healthy eating, really you need to first ask yourself:
What is my purpose in healthy eating?
Option 1: To incorporate eating healthy into my lifestyle
If the answer is to fuel your body with better and more efficient vitamins while eliminating all the yuck stuff (artificial dyes and flavors, preservatives, added sugar, etc) you should state your resolution, figure out how to make it happen on a daily basis, and go for it!
Here’s a list of the top things you can do to eat better:
1.Eliminate added sugar
This stuff is so horrible for you body. I know, I know, it tastes like heaven. But consider this: every time you eat it, it makes you feel more hungry, and it makes you crave more, which will derail healthy eating every time. Sugar actually occupies the opioid receptors in the brain, making it as addictive as heroin. Read this article for some sobering statistics on sugar addiction (yes, it’s been well-researched!)
And if you want further proof to kick your subconcience into gear, watch ANY of Dr. Robert Lustig’s videos. Very compelling. He wrote a book, too, called The Hacking of the American Mind. You won’t believe what happens when food ‘products’ are created. Very eye-opening.
2. Add more veggies
As a whole, we do not eat enough veggies, Ladies!! Veggies are so, so important to our health! If you’ve ever heard ‘eat a rainbow’, that’s because veggies with different colors contain a variety of vitamin and mineral profiles. So you’re getting more variety in that aspect if you eat more colors. But if you’re struggling just to eat more in general, always start with leafy greens.
Another good option is to just spiralize some veggies and use them in the place of noodles. Yes, it takes a little adjusting to the texture, but they’re seriously not bad. If you can’t stand that thought, maybe spiralize some cucumber and quick-dill it. Seriously, my kids thought spiralized cucumber was the coolest thing ever. I think because it was just ‘different’ than normal veggies–but hey, they ate it! Here’s a good choice for a spiralizer if you’re interested.
And if you want to just incorporate more veggies for healthy eating into meal time with as little thought as possible, keep ‘salad greens’ on your standing shopping list and have a salad with every meal.
3. Practice clean eating
I know this was a trendy buzz word in recent years, but it has a ton of truth to it for healthy eating. Plus it’s way easier to get rid of the bad crap-ola that’s being put into processed foods these days if you just eat clean rather than try to sift through food labels and interpret words that have 87 letters in them and only choose those packaged foods that meet certain criteria. Cause I’m telling ya–most of them don’t.
There are a million and one recipes on Pinterest for clean eating. Find some awesome boards, or even bloggers that strictly do clean eating, and follow them. One of my faves is Lisa of 100 Days of Real Food.
4.Try some meatless days of the week
I am by no means a vegan. But I’ve noticed I feel better when I don’t eat red meat. Plus what it can do to your body is convincing enough for me to only have it on occasion. So healthy eating for our family involves trying to stick to white meats and fish. Then I try to have a meatless day at least one day of the week. This helps focus more on the veggies, but also–meatless meals are cheap, Yo!
5.Add in Good Fats
Fats get such a bad rep because they’re so calorie dense, but if your goal isn’t weight loss, you shouldn’t be worrying about it anyway at this point. Bad fats are trans fats. I also try to focus more on omega 3 fats. The reason is the ratio between the 3s and 6s is so off for Americans and the SAD (standard American diet). This causes inflammation, which leads to disease.
And even though ‘health experts’ will warn against saturated fats, some are actually really good for your body. (Also remember that your brain needs fats!!) Think: coconut oil and avocado for healthy eating. Both excellent!
And on the same note from Dr. Lustig, he also wrote a book concerning fats, called Fat Chance. It goes into further depth on the food industry and why you need more fats in your diet.
6.Give yourself a break
Listen, if you’re going from a multiple time a week fast-food diet to clean eating, it’s gonna be hard. Really freaking hard. Most of those foods have chemicals purposely in them to get you addicted. It’s not your fault. But you can fight back. Maybe you start out only having fast food 3 days a week, then the next week go to 2 days a week. Then 1 day a week, then you can only have it once a month. I personally am a ‘weaner’ when it comes to any new routine.
But I also know when I’m reaching my limits. If you’re being tempted and you’ve been a golden superstar with healthy eating for long enough that you’re feeling deprived, have a little reward. LITTLE. Don’t binge, you’ll just hate yourself later. Trust me.
7. Meal planning
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways for healthy eating. If you have a designated time once a week, or month, to figure out all your meals, you’ve got a plan. That plan allows you to not think about it. It’s already done for you. But also, it puts a plan into place to prevent setbacks (like that last minute Snickers bar instead of some celery and almond butter.)
Here’s a post on meal planning the tech-free way. And here’s a post on meal planning with the Mealboard App. (I use both of these methods, and the tech-free post has a free meal planner and shopping list template.)
Option 2: To lose weight through healthy eating
If your reason for healthy eating is to lose weight (fat), that resolution is actually going to need to move into the ‘Goal’ category.
Why? Well, how the heck are you going to track any kind of progress if you’re just stating an intention, doing some healthy eating, maybe throwing in some cardio, then waiting to ‘notice’ some results?
Goals are pretty defined tools that can (when used correctly) be your best friend. Most especially if you’re Type A.
Setting goals for weight loss can help you have a set, defined plan, and a road map of how to get there.
My best recommendation is to use the SMART goal setting method for healthy eating, and then add ER at the end to keep you going (so it would actually be SMARTER Goals.) Check out this post series for help on setting goals this way, and snag a free SMART Goal Setting Workbook to walk you through setting and achieving those healthy eating goals.
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