The holidays are over and the new year is here -- a special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities. The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are quite ready after the holidays. As tasty as the holiday tidings are, they leave us feeling a little less on track with our goals than we'd like.
Those new healthy resolutions don't have to be complicated, and they don't have to end before February even arrives. The key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. In case you've heard the term "clean eating" but haven't quite understood what it means -- clean eating is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out the processed junk. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I’ve got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating.
1. Focus on your inner motivation
Whether you’re determined to race in the Boston Marathon next year, or you have seen first-hand the damages done by not eating well through relatives or friends that have suffered as a result of their eating habits. Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it into your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.
2. Reevaluate what you’re currently eating
Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you are eating and look for patterns. After the stressful end of the week push at the office, you might notice you are more prone to ordering pizza, and you can take steps to head that off at the pass rather than fall into the same pitfall time and time again.
3. Set realistic, measurable and specific goals
When people make changes to things in their lives such as a change to their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. This means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should tackle one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific.
4. Clean out your pantry
Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label, and anything unnatural should go. If you have a lot of unopened items, donate them to a shelter.
5. Refocus your grocery shopping strategy
We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk!
6. Master meal prep
One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. You’ll find tons of healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to dump in the whole foods in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night!
As you can tell, it only takes small changes over time to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way, hit reply and let me know how you are feeling, and what you’d like to accomplish as your first step. I’d love to hear your plans.