Eating healthier, or beginning a successful diet does not begin at the grocery store, nor does it start with the advice or custom plan designed by a dietitian. For a healthier lifestyle and dining habits the first step in the progression starts in the individual’s mind. A proper mindset is paramount in both starting and learning to live everyday as a new, and healthier you.
A positive mental approach when beginning any new program is a multi-tiered task that includes the following:
1. Begin by setting a clearly defined, realistic set of goals. For example, instead of setting 1 large goal such as losing 10 to 15 pounds in the next month, break it down into weekly or even daily goals. This is a two-fold advantage system because you are rewarded by seeing your goals met much quicker which only reinforces your attitude and positive mindset and you do not have the let down of not seeing 10 to 15 lbs fall off right away.
2. Next, by not focusing on a distant goal which can become hazy and at times unattainable, your full focus is directed towards the next smaller and much closer goal or level. Sure the primary goal of losing 15 pounds in the next month should be set, but imagine it as a pyramid, one that has your primary goal at the top (this is your destination) below this there are multi-layered goals making the body. The obvious conclusion once the pyramid is envisioned is the small goals are steps that are stacked in such a way that makes the walk towards the primary goal a steady, non-stressful path.
3. Finally, there is the need for some level rigidity when working forward to your goals, if you slip up never belittle yourself but rather use a positive reinforcement and a vow to not slip again. One technique is to understand that a difficult procedure is only made easier by repetition, or another way to view it is to consider it mental practice for your brain, a warm up before the big game. As any successful coach will tell you the big games are not won that night but rather before hand on the practice field. With practice everyday willpower grows stronger.
Now that you are mentally prepared the next step will be easier. Research different dieting plans to find the one best suited to you personally, not the one recommended by a friend or family member. If dieting is not exactly what you are looking for but rather just eating healthier and living more heart healthy, the short guide below is a good starting point. But remember that everyone is different and adjustments can be made, and other ideas can be added until the system is designed just for you.
• Select smaller portions for the main meals, and enjoy healthy snacks for the midday hunger.
• Never skip meals during the day. A small meal at lunch with a healthy choice dinner entrée will go a lot farther to shedding the pounds than starving during the day.
• Get into the habit of drinking glasses of water with lemon wedges throughout the day, but especially before sitting down to eat. If not a lemon fan opt for the glass of water with a piece of fruit and hour before the main meal.
• Avoid fried foods, or foods prepared with butter and oils. Also steer clear of pasta dishes with heavy sauces, or cheeses.
• Try eating meals that highlight grilled chicken dishes with steamed or grilled vegetables.
• Substitute battered, or fried foods with broiled, grilled, steamed, baked, or roasted meats.
• Regardless of what meals you choose the main key to any program is to practice moderation.
• When there is a choice always take the stairs.
• Try a brisk walk once each day, this will not only help you physically, but mentally you will feel better.
• Take at least 30 minutes each day for yourself. A healthier you includes mental well being.
A healthy eating program in conjunction with some form of daily exercising practiced with a positive attitude towards the project will not only result in a healthier you but a much happier you.
UW Health / www.uhs.wisc.edu/