Do you ever feel like your diet strategy must be to do it all or you should do nothing? Many people I talk with postpone improving their eating habits because they feel they aren’t ready to do it perfectly. Have you said this before? “Oh, I have a big event on the 15th and I just know there is going to be a lot of temptation. I’ll get through that and then I’ll eat nothing but kale and Brussel sprouts.” Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.
My secret wish for my clients is that they will stick to the plan as much as possible. However, given the choice of a client cheating on a food plan rather than not doing it at all, I would choose the cheating option any day. A healthy choice still supports the body, even when followed by a “cheat food”.
Here’s how this works in action. Let’s say you want to change your diet, but you just aren’t ready to commit to the whole diet shebang. Perhaps instead you say, I’m committed to making my breakfast a nourishing and supportive start to my day. Now, if you follow my blog you know how excited I get talking about breakfast and how important breakfast is for making good food choices for the entire day. If all you can do right now is commit to a healthy breakfast, then you’ve at least made a very big step in the right direction.
I had a client and she never had time for breakfast. In fact, she didn’t eat breakfast at all. And she was shocked that her weight kept increasing, even though she didn’t eat until midday. (You can read why saving your calories for the latter half of the day doesn’t work here.) She had too much to do in the morning between getting her family ready for their day, getting herself to work and hitting her heavy schedule of deadlines.
The thing I did notice though was that while she didn’t have time for breakfast, she had plenty of time for coffee. In fact, the only morning fuel she provided her body was high doses of caffeine and sugary creamer. So I asked her, if you have time to drink in the morning, would you be willing to take a week and include a drink that will actually nourish you. I’m pretty sure she though there would be a catch. It sounded too simple. Nonetheless, she cautiously said, “Sure. Why not?”
So I had her start her mornings with a smoothie that took less than 2 minutes to make. She put in almond milk, some flax seeds, a small handful of spinach, a scoop of unsweetened whey protein powder, a half of a banana and a half cup of strawberries. She blended for about 60 seconds and poured it into her travel mug. Within minutes she was in the front seat of her car navigating rush hour traffic, her smoothie securely sitting beside her.
Did that put a dent in her schedule? Not really. Even the busiest of us can find 2 extra minutes in the morning if pressed. So how did she feel starting her day with actual nourishment? She reported feeling better not only in the morning, but also in the afternoon at the time when she often crashed. Fancy feeling so much better after one small adjustment!
Now, I’m certainly not trying to insinuate that you can hit all your health and weight loss goals by just changing what you eat for breakfast. To look svelte and radiant as you walk into your high school reunion will take you transitioning many bad habits into better ones. What I am saying is that doing one thing is so much better than doing nothing. If all you can do this week is build one healthy habit, you’ve made a productive change in your diet and health. And if you add one healthy habit every week for a year, you will get to New Year’s Eve in much better shape than if you spent the year lost in complacency.
So is there one small healthy habit that you could make start building today? If not, then what is getting in your way? Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments below!
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