Getting started is always hard to do and it is important to focus on getting ready to start as much as actually starting a new healthy way of eating. Most people do at some point or other become overwhelmed with all the information that is freely available in books, magazines or on the internet. What to eat or what not to eat? What time to eat? Carbohydrate free or low fat? How much exercise to do? What exercise to do? When to exercise? etc etc. There are endless options.
Start making small changes a week before your official day
It is really important to think about and plan out how you will prioritize your new healthier lifestyle as research suggests that lifestyle changes are hard to make, you need to make them happen by planning what you are going to do.
Why do you want to have a new healthy lifestyle?
This will take time to write and it is a very important step, because you need to articulate to yourself the true reasons why having a healthy lifestyle is so important to you. What does having a healthy lifestyle mean as it means different things to different people. It may mean for you eating healthier as you have the onset of diabetes and do not wish to take medication, or it may mean because of your family’s health history you have a greater chance of having high blood pressure, a stroke or heart disease, or it could be that you are sick and tired of eating processed food and feeling drained of energy, and you know that the food you are consuming is not benefiting your overall health and well-being.
2. Menu Planning
Write a two week food plan, think about what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and add in one snack per day. Good food is key to your success, it will mean that you do not have to think about what to eat every single day because you have already planned what you will be eating.
Try and add in one or two new recipes but mainly use recipes you know already, again, keeping it simple is key.
3. Grocery List
Look carefully through your week 1 and make a list of all the food you need to purchase. You should be walking around the outside aisle of the store and not going into the middle section where the processed foods are. Timetable the day you will do your weekly shop.
4. Cleaning Cupboards/Emptying Fridge
Clear out and make room for the healthy food you are going to purchase, this is instrumental in getting started. However, this will be much easier if you are single but not so easy if you have a family. You need your family’s support through this process and you will over-time be making changes to their diets as well, but subtly. If your children have their own favourite biscuits /cakes put them in a cake tin/container in a different cupboard to yours, have a shelf for their food in the freezer. Over time, you will be replacing these with healthier options but for now just store them separately. Clearing out the kitchen is a huge step and it takes time but once it is done you will feel more organised and excited to begin your healthy new lifestyle.
5. Take your body measurements/weight and take a photo
By doing this you have a starting point, from here you are able to set realistic goals, realistic is the key word here, this is very important.
It is best to measure your progress on a weekly basis so decide which day is going to be your weigh-in day, you could mark this down on your calendar or keep a weight loss chart. If you find an outline of a picture of a female/male from the internet you could then add the measurements onto it, print it off, and then note down the changes each month. It is always good to have both systems: weigh-in and measurements, because there may be a few weeks where the scales stay the same and this can be disheartening, but if you are keeping track of your measurements you may see the changes here rather than on the scales.
You could also take monthly photographs and see how your body is beginning to transform from your healthy new lifestyle, that will also give you motivation to continue.
If you would like further information to prepare to make changes before starting a new healthy lifestyle or would like to join a Healthy Eating Weight Loss Group I run, please contact me (Karen) on the form below.