Establishing healthy eating habits – version 2.0

Allow yourself an occasional indulgence to keep your cravings in check

Wish you ate healthily like you used to? Here’s how to get back on track.

Are you on the roller coaster of healthy eating? For years you ate a healthy, balanced diet, but for whatever reason your eating habits took a turn for the worse and you haven’t been able to get back on track.

Maybe it was a vacation, stress, the holidays or just laziness that led to unhealthy eating, but remember—it’s never too late to make the changes necessary for regaining your health.

Start eating healthily again with these tips.

New beginnings. Think of each day as a chance to start over. Tell yourself that today is a day of new beginnings. You have the choice each morning to eat right that day.

It starts with breakfast and continues with each snack, lunch and dinner that you choose to eat. Remember, eating healthily isn’t a punishment for weight gain. Rather, you have the freedom to eat right, and that’s a gift.

Learn from mistakes. You’re not a failure because you gained a little weight. You’re human. Leave your mistakes in the past. There’s nothing you can do to change the past, but you do have the ability to change the future. Mistakes are a part of life, but don’t let them define you.

What were the consequences of your poor food choices? What are the triggers that tempt you to overeat? Take good mental notes and learn from your past mistakes so you won’t make them again.

Set goals. Weight loss and good health aren’t achieved by chance. You’ve got to have a plan and stick with it.

Write down your goals for healthy eating. Keep your goals simple, realistic and doable. Set both short- and long-term goals to keep you motivated.

Examples of initial goals might include drinking only one soda per day, eating more vegetables with dinner or eating eggs for breakfast every morning. The firsts few days may be challenging, but it’ll get easier as you go.

Track progress. One of the best ways to reach your goals is to track your progress. Keep a food journal with pen and paper or with an app on your phone. Tracking each bite and sip makes you think twice about what you’re eating and drinking. After all, it’s a lot harder to eat that bite of cake knowing you have to record the calories in your journal.

Get support. Accountability is an important key to lasting success. Work with your personal trainer to make a diet plan that works for you.

Then along with your personal trainer find a friend, co-worker, or family member who will stand by your side to keep you on track with healthy eating. These are the people who will encourage you along the way, not eat donuts when you’re around, and check in to see how you’re doing.

Make a lot of small changes. Some people find that purging the pantry of all junk is the only way to start eating healthy again. Others need to make gradual changes in order to form new habits. You’re likely in the second category. Because more than likely, you’re not ready to give up your favorite foods all at once. Doing so would certainly backfire. Instead, start with small changes.

Replace unhealthy foods with healthy foods you like. Rather than eating chips for a snack, eat nuts or a piece of fruit. Replace soda at lunch with ice water or unsweetened tea.

Eat whole grain cereals and pastas instead of those made with refined, white flours. Once you do this, you’ll find your weight, health and outlook on life will be on the upswing and you’ll be ready to take on the next big challenge life throws your way!

Scheduled off days. Depriving yourself of your favorite treats will only make you crave them more. Allow yourself an occasional indulgence to keep your cravings in check.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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