Healthy Habits – The Marathon Approach to a Healthy Diet

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Have you tried to diet multiple times, only to fail?  Do you make it through breakfast, only to fall off the wagon by lunchtime?  I understand, I totally do.  I’ve been there more times than I care to admit.  Then one day something changed.  I began to look at my relationship with food.  I realized that the journey to healthy habits is a marathon, not a sprint.

Healthy Habits - The Marathon Approach to a Healthy Diet

What did this mean for me?  I had to change my all or nothing attitude.  I had to develop life-long healthy habits, as opposed to 10-pound habits.  (You know those healthy habits you only keep until the pounds are off, only to go right back to the old you.)  How did I accomplish this?  By using the following simple steps…..

1).  Organize for success

Clean out your kitchen – This means out with the old and in with the new.  Now I’ve never been a fan of throwing things away, so some things I changed slowly.  I organized my pantry and cabinets so my healthy items were all up front.  I also purchased a good blender and extra measuring spoons.  These steps made healthy meals easier.

Meal Plan – Are you a meal planner?  If not it’s time to start.  One of the main ways I stay on track is by having a good solid plan.  This eliminates the “what’s for dinner” question that always leads to a drive-thru blunder.  Plus it helps save me needless purchases at the store.

Prep Ahead – Prepping ahead can save you time during your busy week.  You can start with something small….boil a few eggs, freeze some rice, cut up veggies.  Small things can make a big difference in your week.

2).  Start Small

In the beginning, I changed one meal at a time.  For me, breakfast was the easiest place to start.  I replaced Poptarts and cold cereal with bacon & eggs, or oatmeal.  My diet was 1/3 better than it was before.  Don’t make it all or nothing.  Find the place that is easiest to start and begin there. Maybe you are a soda drinker.  Start with that.  Once breakfast was a habit I moved on to lunch, then snacks, and finally dinner.  The big picture is overwhelming, but the small stuff is easy.

(Need help?  Check out these breakfast recipes from Sarah Montana, one of my favorite food bloggers.)

3).  Accept baby steps

I mentioned that this was a marathon, not a sprint.  This means that I didn’t beat myself up if I messed up and “fell off the wagon.” I simply restarted at my next meal and moved on.  If I slipped up 25% of the time then 75% of the time I was eating healthier.  This is way better than 0% of the time!  I had to learn to cut myself some slack.  This also means that I may eat real sugar on Christmas or my favorite recipe for my birthday.  I don’t let it consume me until I quit.  Instead, I start right back with the next meal.

4).  Decide you are worth it

As a mom sometimes it’s hard to spend time or money on yourself.  I finally realized that by investing in myself I was also investing in my family.  They reap the benefits of me being at my best.  This meant that I made time to fix healthy food and even spent some money on healthy cookbooks.  Last year I put a nice blender on my Christmas list.  My health had to become a priority.

5). Find a good group of friends

I have a group of friends that run my marathon with me.  They are my backbone.  Surround yourself with supportive people, who are on the same journey that you are.  Make sure these are people who will be kind & encouraging but will also be honest when you are being reckless.  Friends like this are invaluable to your journey.

(Need some support?  Check out my Facebook group Happy, Healthy Homeschool Moms)

6). Just start

As silly as it sounds this is where I was continually failing.  I was always “starting tomorrow.”  Then one day I woke up and just decided to go for it, one baby step at a time.  You will never succeed if you don’t start.  Don’t wait six months from now, when you will only find yourself standing in the same place.  You can ALWAYS quit if you want, but you have to make the effort to start.

So there you have it.  My tips for developing healthy habits, and making it something you can stick with.  Do you need more encouragement?  Check out Rediscovering You for 5 steps to a Homeschool Mom Makeover.