Hey, Jamie Sutton here, holistic Registered Dietitian. Today I’m coming to you to talk about making healthy eating habits that stick. The key is to make small incremental dietary changes over time. You don’t want to revolutionize your diet or your dietary changes overnight. Generally speaking, the path of least resistance will be the most successful one when you’re wanting to embark on a journey of greater health to improve your diet, you want to start with a couple things and focus on them until they become habits. If you try to implement too many changes all at once, you’ll be less successful. The more changes you attempt to make at once, the less likely those changes that you’re trying to implement will become habits that stick. Here are my recommendations.
Make a list of all the things that you feel you need to change about your diet and pick 2 to 3 that you want to work on at one time. Generally it takes about three to four weeks for something to become a habit if you do something repetitively each day. Focus on doing those 2 to 3 things every single day and don’t worry about anything else. After about a month, those things will become habits and they will actually become part of your life. You won’t have to focus so hard on them. They won’t be taxing mentally or emotionally because now they’re part of you. They’re part of your routine. At that point, you can pick another two or three things to work on. Keep doing them until they become habits that stick. That’s how you continue to move forward in making positive lifestyle habits that stick.
Here’s my three recommendations that i have found work well for a lot of people. My first one is start with 20 ounces of water first thing in the morning within a half hour of rising. Many of us are in a chronic state of dehydration and sometimes when we’re dehydrated we overeat because our bodies mistake thirst for hunger. When you’re in a state of dehydration in which you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, you’re not drinking enough to fully hydrate your body but you won’t necessarily feel thirsty. Sometimes this can manifest in premature hunger. A good way to make sure that you don’t confuse thirst with hunger is to drink 20 ounce of water first thing in the morning. Put some freshly squeezed lemon or some raw apple cider vinegar in your water. Either take a half of a lemon and squeeze it in your water or take one tablespoon of pure apple cider vinegar and put that in your water. This helps to alkalize your body. Fresh lemons will help your skin and your complexion. Lemons are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. This is a great way to get some alkalizing nutrients in your body.
My second tip is drink that same 20 ounce glass of water between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner. Do this about 20 to 30 minutes before meals. Drinking 20 ounces of water first thing in the morning and then again 20 to 30 minutes between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner will give you 60 ounces of fluids. You want to aim for getting about half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you do these things, you will get the majority of your fluid needs for the day. More than likely, you will be less hungry throughout the day as well.
My third recommendation is eat three to four ounces of protein with each meal throughout the day. Three to four ounces is about the size of the palm of the hand if we’re talking about animal proteins such as meat or that would be equal to three eggs. One egg is equal to 1 ounce of protein. 21 to 25 grams of protein powder or 1.5 cups beans are other examples of approximately 3 ounces of protein. Also, aim for either a cup of fruit (1 cupped hand) or aim for two cups of vegetables (approximately 2 cupped hands) with each meal.