Forget the All-Or-Nothing Approach
For years, Dietitians and nutrition experts have been advising people to improve their eating habits and health by making small changes and sticking with them.
But so many people want a “quick fix” and go for the “all-or-nothing” approach – which inevitably becomes impossible to stick with, often leading to feelings of defeat and failure.
Now a recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health further supports the advice that a more moderate approach can make a lasting difference. Results of the study showed that even modest improvements in the quality of diet, over time, may significantly reduce the risk of premature death.
So forget the all-or-nothing approach… Stop making yourself go hungry… Stop abandoning your favourite foods… Stop the struggle… Stop setting yourself up for failure… Stop punishing yourself…
Instead, start today by making just one small positive change that you can live with for the long haul.
Not sure where to start? Choose an improvement that will lead to any of the following:
Increased intake of whole grains. For example, replace white bread with a whole-grain bread. Replace white rice with brown rice, wild rice or quinoa.
Increased intake of fruits and vegetables. For example, have a piece of fruit at breakfast or as part of your mid-afternoon snack. Increase your serving size of vegetables at dinner.
Increased intake of nuts, beans and legumes. For example, have a small handful of nuts as a snack a few times per week. Sprinkle nuts over a salad. Dip raw veggies or tortilla chips in hummus.
Increased intake of fish. For example, have a tuna or salmon sandwich. Pan fry or bake a fillet of your favourite fish at least once per week.
Decreased intake of red and processed meats. For example, limit red meat to 1 to 2 servings per week. Limit processed meats (e.g. deli meats, hot dogs, bacon) to special occasions.
Decreased intake of sugary foods and beverages. For example, replace some of your daily regular soft drink intake with water. Dilute fruit juices with water.
Decreased intake of fast food and junk foods. For example, reduce your intake of fast food by bringing your lunch to work more often. Limit junk foods to small occasional treats.
Remember… healthy eating is about increasing your intake of ‘healthier foods’ and decreasing your intake of ‘less healthy foods’… not eliminating foods or going hungry. And whichever small change you decide to work on, it doesn’t have to be perfect 100% of the time.