What does it mean to you to eat healthy? I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to you?
I often get asked how I eat the way I do, or how do I not eat the way other people do, how do I stick with it… and often there is a lot of mention of willpower, or the lack thereof. But it has nothing to do with willpower.
Seven years ago, I thought I ate fairly healthy. I knew there was room for improvement, so I decided I would give up diet sodas. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but I could tell my daily habit was becoming more and more consuming and more and more expensive. I knew it wasn’t good for me, and I had a vague desire to get rid of them. And I really didn’t care for the idea of setting a bad example for my kids by drinking them. Half of the time I found myself drinking them and not even enjoying them! Or leaving them half finished because it just no longer appealed to me.
So April 1, 2010, I gave them up. I don’t really know what I intended with this goal, and to be honest, I don’t think I ever really looked past just trying. I figured I could give them up for a day, and see what happened. And when day one came and I managed to not have a single one, I figured I could see what happened if I went another day. Day two was successful, so I aimed for a day three.
With each day that passed, I felt more confident and content with my decision. And every time I had a craving for a diet coke, I immediately thought about how many days I had already gone without one, and the fact that if I had one now, I would have to start over from square one. I didn’t want to have to go through this again, so I just kept going. And here we are, seven years, four months and two weeks later. I still think about sodas sometimes, but it’s just a passing thought anymore.
But that was definitely the start of me eating healthy. Over time my desire to do better grew and I eliminated more poor food choices and added more good food choices. And over time, I came to where I am now. I can make some radical changes in my diet from time to time, but it really has been an evolution of sorts.
So when you look at your own diet, and you feel like there is so much for you to do, or you feel overwhelmed and lacking confidence that you can get where you want to go, just set that aside. Don’t worry about accomplishing everything right here and right now. Put one solid, important goal in front of you for now. Pick the one desire that resonates most with you at this time. Maybe it’s a big one, maybe it’s a little one. Maybe it’s a little one that turns into something with big effects for you down the road. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do something that is right for you in this moment.
Maybe you want to drink more water. Eat less sugar. Eliminate gluten. Add more green vegetables. Cook more meals at home. Give up candy. It all counts. It is all important. And it is all as valid as the next desire, the next goal, the next accomplishment. Because it all leads somewhere.
You never know where your journey will take you, and frankly, that’s kind of the fun in life! Accept it. Allow it. Embrace it. Take the road you haven’t traveled and see where it leads you. You might just be pleasantly surprised.