Four Steps to Improving Your Eating Habits

How do you feel today? Do you feel good with lots of energy? Or, do you feel drained and unable to get into the day?

How you feel at work is directly related to what you put into your body. Had a cup of coffee with 2 spoonfuls of sugar and a donut this morning? In a few hours you will be exhausted. Had fast food for lunch? In a few hours you will be exhausted. Had a pint of ice cream after dinner last night? This means you probably woke up exhausted.

Many people treat their cars better than their bodies. Would we put bad fuel into our cars? The answer generally is no. So why do we put less than optimum food into our bodies?

What you eat affects your power, passion, your energy levels and your recovery time. If you do not feel good inside, how can you expect to perform well on the outside?

Eating healthy at work is difficult.  We reach for sugar and caffeine to start our day because we are tired. Maybe, we pulled an all-nighter. Maybe, we have been pushing hard to make sure a project succeeds. Maybe, our boss or co-workers are driving us crazy and a piece of chocolate makes us forget about it for a while. And, what about the cake that goes along with birthdays and other celebrations? The candy on the desks of co-workers we pass by numerous times every day? The fast food that gets ordered in during lunch or dinner meetings? The non-stop chocolate fest that runs from Thanksgiving to New Years Day? Unhealthy choices overwhelm us constantly. Plus, “junk food” tastes good, so this makes choosing healthier alternatives a challenge.

“One day you will be tired of being sick and tired. On that day, you will move.” Anonymous

So, How Can You Improve Your Eating Habits:

1. Decide To Eat Better

This is an important first step. Many of us do not want to give up our great tasting treats. Some of us can’t even imagine ourselves without these foods because they get us through the day. Half of the time we may not even realize what we are doing. But, what about the other side? What happens once that momentary pleasure passes and you are left with the side effects? Feeling tired, jittery, or wanting more. Food gives us a feeling of elation. In the moment, we feel great. Afterwards, we don’t. We know the cycle needs to stop, but we do not know how to stop it. The cycle of unhealthy eating can stop once you recognize what you are doing and decide to stop it.

 2. Plan To Eat Better

Because unhealthy food choices surround us, the way to better eating is good planning. If you know you will be working through lunch and your boss is ordering pizza, request that a salad be part of the delivery. If Bob is taking orders for breakfast, check out Lose It or My Fitness Pal before placing your order. If you will be in your car all day for business purposes, pack healthy foods for the ride. If you know you get hungry every day at 3 pm, keep a few healthy snacks in your desk in anticipation of this time, or try taking a B complex with your lunch to keep your energy up higher. If you have to look for healthy choices when you are hungry, you will have a hard time finding them. Healthy choices will not be found at the gas station when you stop for gas, at the vending machine, or in the cafeteria. Healthy choices are found at the grocery store and prepped before your work week begins. Eating healthy is important for your mental and physical well-being, so plan ahead.  If you enjoy cooking, make a day out of it.  Plan your meals for the week, go to the store and only purchase what you will need for the week.  This will allow you to free up time for other activities or those late nights at work.

 3. Eat Better

You are sitting at your desk. You have an apple packed. You don’t really want this apple but you feel like you “should” eat it. What will you do? Throw the apple in the garbage and hit the vending machine for chocolate covered peanuts? Or, eat the apple because you know you will feel better AND you made a promise to yourself that you would eat better? We come to certain points when we know that if we do not do something different, then the outcome will always stay the same.  This is one of those moments. Are you tired of feeling tired? When the answer is yes, your food choices will change. The way to eat better is to eat better. The place to start is your next meal. The beginning (which requires change) is tough. But once you form new habits, you will not want to go back to your unhealthy ways.

 4. I’ve Tried All Of This Before – Try a New Approach

Are you the type to start a healthy lifestyle and then revert back to eating the food that you know is not good for you?  Were you overwhelmed by all of the changes that you made and were always “craving” the sweet or savory foods?  How about the “ahhh” feeling when you drink a soda?  Try starting off with a small change.  If you find yourself drinking a lot of soda and water with a lemon just doesn’t satisfy you, for one week try drinking sparkling water, it does not have the sodium and sugar that soda and those on-the-go packets have.  You will still get the “ahhh” feeling from drinking it and if you look you will find that they come in flavors that may even resemble the flavors of a soda.  You’ll see that after a week of drinking the sparkling water and then trying a soda it will taste too sweet and probably won’t want to drink it anymore.  Keep a close eye on the scale that week too.  The decreased number on the scale can motivate you to keep going.  Once you have conquered your first obstacle make another change and then another week after that. Remember when changing your habits, it is easier to create a new habit than to stop an old habit. You cannot just stop drinking pop, eating out, having 2 different starchy carbs with dinner. You must “crowd out the bad” by picking up a new habit to replace your old habit. Increase your water, your veggie intake, record your meals, and plan your food are all good habits to pick up as you drop your bad eating habits.

Are you ready to take a step today? Have you been on this journey successfully already and have a different take? I’d love to hear what you think. Remember, you must complete Step 1 before you can move on to Step 2 this time.