Design Your Blueprint
By Michele Lubin, MS RD CDN
We've all been there. You walk by a tray of doughnuts at work and suddenly your diet unravels faster than you can say “glazed, please”.
So, what should you do? Well, starting a healthy eating plan is like building a house, you begin by establishing a good foundation. And just like building a house, you need a blueprint to guide you along the way. This is how you keep yourself working in sync towards your goal. You may need to tweak your plan from time to time, but your healthy eating blueprint can help you visualize how you’re going to proceed, from foundation to the top floor.
Hopefully, what you build will stand for the long haul. But that all depends on how well you’ve laid out your foundation and how well you follow your blueprint. Here’s what you’ll need to create the framework for your healthy eating plan:
Journal or Online Program/App. Eating healthy is something only you can do for yourself – no one else is going to do it for you. Learn to be accountable to yourself. Journal in a notebook: jot down not only what you eat, but how you eat, why you eat and where you eat it. Did you eat because you were hungry or just bored? Were you feeling emotional when you reached for that food? What are your motivations? What keeps you on track with the healthy eating? You can use an online app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It, if you prefer
Mindful Eating Methods. Mindful eating is a powerful tool for developing a healthier, happier relationship with food. Being mindful means eating with the intention of caring for yourself and enjoying your food and its effects on your body. A few practical ways to include mindful eating in your day is: identify and recognize trigger foods, pay attention to hunger and satiety by eating slowly and actually tasting your food and lastly, be aware of and limit calorie dense foods.
Strategies to Avoid Emotional Eating. Many of us use food for comfort, turning to it during stressful times, when unhappy or even when bored. It’s important to have many strategies in your healthy eating blueprint to replace emotional eating. When one approach fails, try another. Some ideas include: go for a walk, take a bath, call a friend, use relaxation techniques, read a book, drink herbal tea, dance, go to bed early or paint your nails.
To stay motivated and continue with your healthy eating plan, we need to constantly dig deeply to rely on our foundation and continue to add to our framework. When one strategy doesn’t work, you have the confidence in knowing you have a masterplan that covers all the details and will stand the test of time.