Three Best Practices to Start Your Commitment to Healthy Eating
Anybody can fall into the mistake of neglecting proper nutrition. Our bodies had faster metabolism when we were young, and we generally had varied physical activity, even if we weren’t mindful about it at that age. Later on, settling into different jobs often comes with sedentary patterns of activity, more stress and less time and energy to spare towards ensuring a healthy diet. When you find that you need to break out of this cycle and commit to a healthy diet, it can be tempting to do some research online and follow a diet plan that promises quick results. But here’s why you should focus on mastering best practices for proper nutrition, instead.
Start with self-education
In the age of social media and instant, free information over the internet, you won’t have any trouble finding advice on how to follow a healthy diet. But the quality and integrity of online sources can vary greatly, and you wouldn’t want to stake your health on any piece of potential misinformation. When you’re starting from scratch, you need to identify sources you can trust. Know how to parse the internet and look for reliability across websites and social media.
Using these credible sources, begin to educate yourself about the nutrition values and overall calorie content of common food, especially the ones which you encounter every day.
Ease your way into changes
Many people love instant results because they translate to gratification and the promise that a difficult goal will soon be within your grasp. In truth, anyone who’s drifted into unhealthy patterns will have a sizeable task ahead of them to get healthy.
Be honest about the challenge ahead, and think long-term. This way, you won’t be tempted to take shortcuts. Crash diets, for instance, can help shed weight rapidly but are unsustainable, can drain your willpower and can put your overall health at risk. Make gradual changes, instead. Reduce portion sizes slowly each day or week, and try to shift the composition of each meal increasingly towards healthy components.
It’s also all right to enjoy a treat on occasion but mind the calories. Instead of hitting the local fast food joint, try a fast-casual burger restaurant, where you can enjoy the same meal prepared using healthier, high-quality ingredients.
Shift to home-cooked meals
One of the biggest challenges we all face in committing to a healthy diet is the lack of actual control over what’s in the food we eat. Most people who lead busy lives end up faced with daily decisions about where to buy lunch at work, or what to order for take-out on the way home for dinner. When your daily food choices are prepared by someone else, you lose control over what exactly goes into the dish. At some point, you should be making those decisions yourself.
Start to learn the skill of home cooking and carefully plan your schedule so that you can always make time for preparing meals. At first, one or two meals each day will be sufficient — perhaps a packed lunch or a 20-minute recipe you can cook after getting home tired from work. Later on, you can complete the shift by preparing a week’s worth of meals after grocery shopping on the weekend. This way, you’ll regain control over the nutrition in your daily life.
At the outset of your journey to improved nutrition, take it slow. Adopt a long-term approach and master these good habits, and you’ll make the transition easier for yourself while enjoying steady and sustainable results.