Did you hear the joke about driving past the Krispy Kreme doughnut store when the HOT sign is on? Me either. It’s not a joke. Who keeps driving? (If you’re not familiar with Krispie Kreme doughnuts, lucky you.)
The food industry has done a stellar job of enticing our taste buds with fancy marketing and addictive ingredients. Our tongues are programmed to like things that are sweet as a survival mechanism. In the wild, sweet plants are usually safe to eat.
Now, however, sugar is handed to us in every possible form – processed, natural, artificial, organic – while we’re seated on the couch, not chasing down dinner. There’s no escaping.
Or is there?
What has actually taken place is a programming of our approach to food. We eat when we’re happy. We eat when we’re sad. We eat when we’re depressed, excited and bored. With every emotion tied to food and overzealous marketing campaigns, the only way to become master of your domain is to start paying attention to yourself and care about how you feel.
Sure the Krispy Kreme doughnut tastes good, but how do you feel afterwards? At some point, how you feel has to trump the food itself. Physical feelings of stomach upset, lethargy and irritability that often accompany eating foods we know to be unhealthy for us are our body’s way of saying HEY! I DON’T LIKE THIS TRASH YOU KEEP SENDING IN HERE! Even worse, feelings of guilt and shame that can follow overindulgence continue to weigh us down mentally and spiritually.
Eating better can shift more than the scale. It can create a whole new sense of self. It can develop a control in our lives that we have allowed to slip away.
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Being consistent with eating well, however, takes practice, will power and determination. These traits aren’t that sexy, but they can be if you jazz them up with tools and tricks to make things easier.
Tip #1: Back That Thing Up
Most people can’t stay consistent because the change they are trying to make is too large. Be real with yourself. If you’ve been eating fast food every day, trying to move to consistently eating only healthy foods is too much. Back that up. If you’re eating out 7 days a week, move to 6 days a week. Crawl before you walk and nibble before you bite. Making your initial goal absurdly easy to commit to is the absolute BEST way to start. Don’t underestimate the power of a baby step.
Tip #2: Prep For the Prep
Consistency only works if you prepare. Period. When approaching preparation, most people want to start making lists, grocery shopping, and cooking. If you’ve ever done this one week and failed to do it again the following week, you’re like most people. For example, if you want to start consistently taking your lunch to work, first you have to think about why you haven’t been taking your lunch already.
What’s holding you back? Time? If so, that needs to be addressed before you start making your lunch plans. Perhaps you can start sending the kids to bed 30 minutes earlier. Perhaps you can record your favorite show instead of watching it live in the evening. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, the point is that it needs to be addressed BEFORE you start preparing. Prep for the prep.
Tip # 3: Create a Donation Jar for Your Opposition
There is an organization whose values you love to hate. No matter who you are, there is probably an association in direct opposition to your core beliefs that is supported through donations. Create a measureable goal such as eating salad for lunch 3 days in a week. If you miss the goal, you have to put five dollars in a jar to be donated to that organization. Of course, you’ll need an accountability partner for this as it will required a high level of integrity!
You can do it!
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