Stop take a moment, it’s time to evaluate our food situation. Could you make it a day without going through a drive thru? How about a week? Yes this means not buying your morning coffee at Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s. Ask yourself, could you make an equally as good of a coffee? Or perhaps the bigger questions is, do you want to?
Is the want or desire to be healthier strong enough to eliminate what is unhealthy in your life?
Take for example your daily cup of coffee. In one scenario you have black cup of coffee (no cream or sugar included). In the second scenario you have a cup of coffee, but this time lots of liquid flavoured sugar and cream as well as whip cream on top. In the first scenario there are no real calories or nutrition has been gained but overall no harm has been done. However, in the second scenario, not only have you not gained any nutritional value, but you have also consumed a significant amount of empty calories. Having a fancy latte every day before work can easily add up to 2000 calories by the end of the week, which is almost a whole day’s worth of calories in coffee drinks alone.
Part of the struggle with fast food is that so much moderation in our eating of treats has been lost. Everything is easily accessible and for the most part relatively affordable. It’s okay to have your fancy latte, pop, or fast food, once in a while as a treat, but having any of these items in excess is not doing your health any favors. I'm saying this, not to scare you away from what we put in our bodies, but to encourage you to make conscious decisions about what you're eating and to be aware of the effects of what you choose to eat.
The fact is that those few extra pounds we all carry didn’t just magically fall out of the sky and land on our waistlines. We’re responsible for them consciously or not. These additional pounds are a product of our overindulging in food that doesn’t serve us or our bodies. Trust me, I get it. The temptations are everywhere. I run by a grocery store that still makes their own donuts. Let's face it, too much of the sweet stuff is not doing ourselves or our families any favors. I'm far from the world’s best eater, but I know I want to do better and to live a healthier life. Here are some tips I've begun to use in my own life that have made a big difference in helping me manage my eating in a positive way.
1- Eat a good breakfast at home. Starting your day off right makes a huge difference in how successful you are in eating well for the rest of the day.
2- Make your own lattes (or whatever your guilty pleasure is). This way you can manage and be aware of the additives (such as sugar, cream etc.) that are present in your food.
3- Meal plan -Spend 20 minutes with the family and decide on meals for the week. Then buy the groceries. When you have a game plan that everyone shares you’re less likely to stray from your goals.
4- If your children are old enough to help with the meals get them to do so. Not only does it take some of the stress off of you, but it also teaches them valuable healthy eating skills.
5- Get together with a friend and take an afternoon and cook a bunch of meals to freeze for those extra busy days. This gets caught up on much needed friend time, plus you’ve accomplished a big task.
6- If you don’t have self control when it comes to your favorite food then don’t buy it! Plain and simple if you can’t handle the chips being in the cupboard then avoid the chip aisle. Or if you must buy chips, buy small bags for the once and awhile treat.
While it can seem overwhelming to make these kinds of changes in our lives, especially when convenient and fast food is such a large part of them, my advice is this: start small. Pick one thing you want to change and be realistic. Even if it means that you start out with cutting back one thing or trying to make your lattes at home. Be patient with yourself. Every journey starts with a first step. You can do it.