The theme of National Nutrition Month 2013 is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. I can’t think of a more perfect theme to remind people of what it takes to be successful at meeting nutrition goals. This theme reminds us that no matter who you are, young or old or whatever your whole health picture includes, if you don’t establish what makes eating well work for you then you are unlikely to be able to “eat right” for the long run.
I recently wrote about my top three nutrition priorities for success and narrowed all of the nutrition advice out there into just three “must have” nutrition goals. If I were to make that a “top four,” there is no doubt that I would add this theme as an essential part of following a healthful diet and adopting a better lifestyle.
On the surface this theme may sound more like a slogan than true nutrition guidance, but take a moment to consider what it really means. How many times have you tried to lose weight by “not eating carbs”? And how many times have you gone back to eating them and gained back the weight you lost (if you lost any)? This may be one example for you of several methods you have tried that may include a daily shake, salad for breakfast, skipping lunch or something else. The point is that if it is a method that exists in your past– and not your present–that means it wasn’t sustainable for you.
Adopt a method that allows you to meet your health goals- now and in the future- so that you are successful. More importantly, find the right tools that work for you so that you believe you can do it. Too many repeats of what I call a “diet mismatch” and you are bound to feel like a failure. Worse, you are likely to stop trying.
Ask yourself these essential questions:
1. Is this a natural way of living for me?
In other words if your “healthy diet” requires steamed fish every day for lunch can you actually do that?
2. Does the food I am eating taste good?
This matters for you and the people you are preparing food for. You are not likely to stick to the plan of eating vegetables every day if they aren’t tasty. Be sure to make the healthful foods you prepare just as desirable as the less healthful foods you cook. By the way, if you need help with this Guiding Stars has you covered with many fabulous recipes.
3. Will I have the support I need to achieve this goal?
Think about it…if your new lifestyle requires that you go to the gym every night, does it fit with your schedule?
4. Does my new way of eating eliminate all of my favorite foods?
Bottom line…if it does, you will not do it for the long run!
5. On the same note, can I eat out/enjoy social events while following “my diet”?
If the answer is no, then you are likely choosing a temporary way of eating.
6. If my new diet is shakes only…what is my next plan?
I understand that in some extreme cases, it may be necessary to follow a liquid-only diet. However, it is essential to know just how many calories you are consuming so that you can then convert into them into food. Skip this essential transition step and you are likely to regain any lost weight.