Starting a healthy diet
If you’ve made the decision to start watching what you put in your body, I think you’re definitely on the right track. It is well known, and it is not uncommon, that many people don’t see their diets through, or never seem to find the time to get a handle on their diet habits.
‘Baby steps’ are sometimes the best steps. And if you follow this easy series of questions, you can start to get a really firm grasp on what you’re eating.
It all starts with knowing.
A lot of the time, people just don’t keep track of what they eat. So, going from “not thinking at all about eating” and jumping to “thinking about eating and trying to eat differently” … well, it can be a big challenge.
Start a Diet with Knowledge
One step at a time, right? The first thing you can do is just keep track of what you’re eating.
Now, I don’t mean you have to carry around a little booklet, or a smartphone note app, and remember to jot down everything you eat; that will work, but there’s an easier way. All it takes is about 10 minutes every night. Sit down and make a list. You’re going to write down everything you ate in the last 24 hours.
But here’s the secret: don’t start with that morning. Instead, work backwards.
Step One: Working backwards, what have you eaten today?
Start with writing down your dinner. Then remember back and jot down a snack you might have had in the afternoon. And then write down your lunch. Finally, write down your breakfast, even if it was just grabbing something as you ran out the door.
Why does this work? Instead of going all the way back to this morning in one jump, working your way back is just an easier way to remember. As you go back in your mind, little cues will remind you of where you were and what you did.
Next, write down beverages.
Step Two: With your meals, and throughout the day, what did you drink?
Beside your meals and snacks, write down any drinks you had. If you drank coffee or tea, make sure you write down how much sugar and/or cream you put in.
Once you’ve done that, take a moment and scan through your day again in your head. Did you have any little drinks along the way? Write those down too.
Next, we cover add-ons.
Step Three: Did you have anything for dessert with your meals?
Lots of people forget about grabbing a cookie while cleaning up dinner. But, these small snacks can quickly make the calories add up.
And last but not least, the nibbles.
Step Four: Did you eat any small things over the course of the day?
Now that you’ve been over your day a few times in your head, it will be easier to remember any little bites or snacks you may have routinely grabbed.
When you picked up that coffee, did you get something with it?
Were there snacks in the office that day?
That’s all there is to it. Once you start working backwards, remembering what you’ve eaten gets a lot easier.
Do this for a few days and then think about the calories you’ve taken in. Look back at your lists. Notice any trends or habits? Know your eating schedule; it will make it easier to slide into a new diet.
You can even start by making small changes. Start with a healthy breakfast. Cut out the soda and other sugary drinks. It all adds up.