I was pondering over how one can work towards being fit irrespective of whether they can make time for exercise during the day.
Eating healthy is the key cornerstone of one’s fitness. I would like to share the lessons learnt by me over the years to help others to help cultivate positive habits with regard to eating. I would like to touch upon the key points which are the foundation of any healthy eating habit. The Word diet has not been intentionally used in my writing since I feel it tends to bring in a negative image in most people’s mind and they tend to see themselves starving when the word Diet is used
Thumb rule of Eating Healthy:
Eating healthy is the One thing that most of us really want to do earnestly and it is extremely difficult with the office cafeteria being loaded with plenty of processed foods. There are also friends and colleagues around us who would not think twice before digging into food which is unhealthy. Do not make drastic changes immediately to your meal plan. Making a gradual change is something that can be sustained in the long run and will also be practical.
For example I eat healthy right now compared to when I did start a couple of years ago. I have mostly removed all processed foods from my meal plan and generally stick to home cooked food that includes lots of fresh fruits,vegetables and nuts.
I am working towards being a full time vegetarian from presently being a fish/eggetarian.All this is possible due to the small goals that I worked on over a period of time and it’s now become a habit.
In order to set small goals write down everything that goes into the mouth every day for at least the first 3-6 months to keep a watch on what we eat and learn our eating habits. It’s a simple exercise but a powerful one nevertheless.
Pick One or two things to change in your Eating habits:
It is prudent to be practical and work on making small changes to your meal plan . First thing that I removed from my meal plan was all the processed Sugar starting from my morning Cup of coffee. Even though it was terrible to drink coffee without sugar in the morning with my newspaper it eventually became a habit and now I tend to enjoy it.
Working on one-two small changes works to your advantage and it is easier to come back on track if we tend to trip. I have replaced white bread with Whole Wheat Bread and it’s now become a habit not only for me but also to the Shop Keeper who hands over the Whole Wheat Bread the moment he sees me. This is called ‘conditioning’ in NLP terminology (more about this later).
Find healthy options you love -make a list and keep it close by.
Replace Bad food options with a healthy and tasty option:
What I tend to avoid like the Plague are sugary and Processed foods. You can replace this with Freshly cut Salad and Fruit Bowls (you would find this in any cafeteria/hotels if you ask for it). I avoid eating out as much as possible. you will always find uncut fruits in my Gym Bag and car to take care of the Hunger pangs which tends to make us binge on refined foods. I was not a great fan of carbonated drinks and was drinking bottled fruit juices thinking it was a safe option. How wrong I was when I discovered the amount of sugar that is added to it. I switched over to plain water. Use the creative side of your brain (on this topic later) to replace guilty foods with healthier options.
Eating Small portion during the day:
Never wait till you get hungry. Keep eating every 2-3 hours. Even a small fruit will do the trick. When I was working full time, I would manage to eat every 2-3 hours. A handful of raisins/nuts or even peanuts is good enough to keep the hunger pangs away. This is especially difficult for students and working professionals but I would advise you all to work towards it. Eating small meals will spike your metabolism and eventually more calories are burnt which in turn leads to our desired goal of being fit.
Pack healthy Meals for the road and Plan your day ahead;
Another rule of the thumb is planning your day and packing a healthy meal in advance. It is always smart to plan for the day ahead by having a good healthy meal in hand. whenever possible pack healthy food for the day.
Drink Lots of Water:
One of the Critical Mistake most of us tend to make is not to keep ourselves well hydrated. The rule of the thumb is to drink at the minimum 8-10 glasses (200 ml) of clean water. Another reason is that most of the time when we do feel hungry it is usually means we are thirsty. So a good glass of water usually does the trick
Set Long term Goals and don’t expect Quick results:
It is important that one has a long term objective to make healthy eating a habit. Do not expect to lose weight overnight as it is extremely unhealthy. Work towards making the above mentioned points a habit over a period of time and you will start noticing the difference in a couple of weeks itself. Be ready to hear compliments from your friends and loved ones who do not see you regularly. There are many more tips but if one gets these basics right then rest of the things can be worked on. Incorporate these small changes and you will eventually Love yourself for doing this.
Will cover the Exercise part in my next article