Don’t let one unhealthy choice derail your health journey!
Habitually eating a colorful, whole food plant-based diet and engaging in a solid exercise routine every day are the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to benefit your heart.
But if that sounds unattainable, don’t let it derail your efforts. You don’t have to be perfect! You just have to be better than before. If there’s anything we’ve learned at Step One Foods, it’s that small changes can add up to big health results. We recognize that perfection is not attainable for most - including me! That’s why we recommend small changes that accrue benefits over time. Remember what happens when you replace that Pumpkin Spice Latte or Snickers bar with Step One Foods.
So, here are my tips for those of us who are not always perfect:
- Beware of triggers
According to WebMD, one of the most common reasons for relapsing into unhealthy habits is stress. Major life changes or work issues can trigger old, familiar ways of dealing with stress – and certainly can make you less mindful, especially when it comes to food. But the danger isn’t in having one bad meal or even one bad week. The danger is in letting one relapse slide you back into an unhealthy ongoing pattern that outlasts the stress. During periods of stress, recognize that the situation is temporary and continue as best as you can to attend to your healthy habits. So you can be more resilient regardless what life throws your way.
- Keep track
Make sure to jot down your healthy habit successes. This way, when you slip up, it’s easy to look back at the overall picture and note that one relapse is just an asterisk in an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Review the healthy habits you’ve created regularly and feel good about them!
- Be kind to yourself.
Lastly, and most importantly, do not beat yourself up when you overindulge. Food effects are cumulative; you won’t erase weeks of healthy eating with one blow-out dinner. So keep guilt out of the equation. If you eat a less-than-perfect meal, move on and get back to your better dietary and lifestyle practices as quickly as possible.
I’m certainly not perfect but I really do try to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. So when I overeat, the next day the one thing I DON'T do is spend a lot of time worrying about my dietary indiscretions from the day before. Instead I just go right back to my default healthier lifestyle pattern ASAP. That means no matter how bloated or tired I am, I will start my day with my usual 5K run/walk. I might not want to get out of bed on those days, but as soon as I’m up and going I feel so much better! And because I’ve taken the first step to get back into my routine, the rest of it just follows without too much effort. Turns out after a while, routines really do become…habits.
In the end this isn’t about one meal, one day or one week of your life — it’s about living your best life overall. Adding not just years to life but life to years.
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