A few years ago, I read an incredible book called ‘Atomic Habits'. It is one of the best books I've ever read, and I coach people on many of its principles today.
In case you don’t want to run out to bookstore or order one up on Amazon, I’ll fill you in on why this book has been a game changer and sitting on my shelf for the past few years.
As you may have guessed, the premise of the book is that in order to create and sustain long- term healthy habits, you must ease yourself into it. Start by changing one or two small things that feel manageable: if you overhaul your lifestyle in a week, you will become exhausted and frustrated and the changes won’t stick. By making 1% improvements, you give yourself an easy way to live a bit healthier each day. And it works.
I guide my clients to eliminate most – not all – processed foods (let’s be real: I know that I will never get to 100% whole foods all the time, so I wouldn't expect you to either. So I don’t beat myself up for eating boxed foods from time to time. And I never ask my clients to do anything that I don’t do myself, so we’re all on the same page).
Let’s say the first thing you choose to change is breakfast. If you’re used to grabbing a sugar filled, chemical dense breakfast bar or filling your bowl with cereal that totes a cartoon character, let’s estimate that you’re consuming about 200 calories worth of carbohydrates and protein.
Well guess what? A hard-boiled egg and a banana doesn’t take much longer to unwrap and eat. And it delivers more quality nutrition which means it will fill you up longer and keep you energized too. Don't get me wrong, a high quality protein bar can be a good back-up on busy days when you are screaming out the door. Just make sure to pick a good one, low in sugar and high in protein.
Don’t Give Up Your Popcorn
The great thing about making small changes is that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. If you love snacking on popcorn (like I do), you don’t have to give it up! Just trade it in for a healthier version.
About ten years ago I invested in an air popper. It was quick, easy, and tasty! Then two years ago I treated myself to a Pampered Chef microwave popper and it was one of the best purchases I've made. It takes me just 3 minutes to pop up a bowl of fresh hot popcorn and I save loads of calories in the process. Sometimes I melt a bit of unsalted butter over the top, other times I just sprinkle on a bit of nutritional yeast or cinnamon.
There are also a variety of different popcorns at the grocery store that are a perfectly healthy snack. One of my favorites is called SkinnyPop because there are just three ingredients: non-GMO popcorn, oil, and salt. That’s all. Perfect for grab-and-go and on road trips!
The same goes for all kinds of food: if you can’t go without your chips, try swapping your Fritos for Taro Chips that are made from sweet potatoes. If you've gotta have chocolate, swap your processed Hershey’s for a more healthy organic dark chocolate.
If you’re not sure whether it’s a healthier choice, take a look at the ingredients list on the back. When you see a jumble of words that would knock you out of a spelling bee, don’t eat it! The better choices have ingredients that you can pronounce and understand.
Embrace the Journey
Remember, the path to health and weight loss is truly a journey. You don’t have to be Evel Knievel and jump over 27 cars to see progress. In fact, this is where slow and steady really does win the race. When you integrate small changes and let your body and your taste buds adjust, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success and wellness.
So whether you start with one less sausage link at breakfast or swap out your regular drive thru lunch for a homemade one, every small change adds up. What is one thing you can do today to invest in your health? Maybe it's trading a piece of candy for fruit or swapping white bread for whole wheat. Keep it simple, make it easy and you'll be inspired to find other ways you can make deposits into your healthy living bank.
Want a few more healthy living tips and tricks? Download my FREE 5 Ways To Kickstart A Healthy Day Guide.
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