March is no ordinary month. Instead, its a month full of possibilities and food related holidays. Those two characteristics of March may seem highly unrelated, yet one food holiday in particular may inspire you to change your life in monumental ways over the next 31 days. Of course, I’m talking about National Nutrition Month! For many, this celebration may mean nothing, but for us here at Around the Plate, it means a lot more than you might think.
In its 40th year, National Nutrition Month is all about inspiring you to change the way you eat. Although you may think this means adding more vegetables to your plate or reducing portion sizes, it actually goes beyond that. This year, it’s all about developing a unique plan that will help you achieve your healthy eating goals in a realistic, can-do sort of way. That’s right, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants you to Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.
Instead of focusing on a one-size-fits-all plan, emphasis has been placed on your uniqueness. Your lifestyle, your food preferences, your health concerns, and your cultural traditions all play a role in the food decisions that you make. As you set up your healthy eating plan, it only makes sense that these factors are taken into account. If they aren’t, chances are your plan will only take you so far before you start to struggle or give up completely.
As we wrap up our Love Your Food series, this seems like a great place to start. Instead of trying to change our life to fit a rigid diet plan, lets instead change our eating plan to fit our lifestyle. Not sure where to start? Here are a few action steps to help get you going:
Identify your goals. Everyone has their own unique reasons for attempting to change the way they eat. Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply want to feel your best everyday, knowing the reason behind your motivation is important. As you determine your goals, make sure they are challenging, yet realistic. The more specific and measurable, the better.
Create a “how to” list. Most of us know what aspects of our diet we want to change and many of us even know why this change should occur; however, it’s not always easy to put that knowledge into action. If you struggle with changing the way you eat because you aren’t quiet sure where to start, consider creating a “how to” list. Your how to list should include step-by-step instructions for how to survive some of those tricky eating situations that often cause us to stumble. Whether you struggle with eating more meals at home, eating breakfast everyday, or overindulging late at night, a set of instructions can help you navigate through those situations successfully. As you develop your list, be sure to identify what it is about those situations that make them so difficult so you can be adequately equipped to handle them.
Be wary of excuses. Its easy to excuse your way out of everything. Even this month’s theme, Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day, may sound like an excuse to just keep eating the way you are currently eating. When it comes to nutrition though, there are always improvements we can make. Make sure you are being honest with yourself and don’t let your excuses get the better of you. Stay focused and give your plan the best you’ve got.
What does your ideal eating plan look like? How do you handle tempting food situations?