To get healthy, pick just one thing to change
Seemingly every day, I hear of someone coming into the market wanting advice about certain products to help them with their new diet, be it an all-starch, low-carb, all-protein, vegan, no bean, cleansing diet ... the list is long.
I am oftentimes curious why folks choose to be this extreme when they really have not eased into it. I have observed how this "quick fix" approach often does not work or last, because it swings the pendulum to fast from one side of the table to the other, which can lead to frustration.
Given that our dietary habits have taken a lifetime to develop, I would suggest trying to set realistic goals that will allow our new healthy diet choices to become good successful habits. I suggest you pick one thing to change at a time.
My story: Before we started having kids, I was a Big Gulp/super-sized soda drinker and I ate fast food at least five days a week — sometimes multiple times in the same day. I was living the fast food American dream, and in the process was overweight, had high cholesterol and was well on my way to becoming diabetic.
Not wanting my kids to grow up observing my poor diet choices, I made a conscious decision to change the way I eat. I picked one bad thing to eliminate and one good thing to add.
Instead of sipping soda all day, I slowly replaced my soda intake with water until one day all I drank was water — and still do today, 16 years later. It was easy and very rewarding, plus I lost 10 pounds right off the bat.
After that, I slowly reduced the number of trips to the drive-thru. While weaning myself off of fast food, I still ordered water with my order. Then I stopped eating fast food altogether as I grew tired of the greasy food smell in my car and the fact that it all started to have the same salty, sugary, fatty taste compared to real, natural food.
Today I still am working on making healthy choices. I love chips. I am working on replacing my chip count with more fruit and cruciferous vegetables. This process is not a one-hit wonder and requires attention.
New diets often require people to dramatically change their current eating lifestyle, which can be frustrating and hard to maintain for the long term.
Pick one bad thing to eliminate and replace it with one good thing in your diet. Create an environment that allows you to be successful. Tell everyone you know what you are doing so they can support you.
Yes, it's going to be hard at times, but it sure beats the alternative of being on prescription drugs for the rest of your life. The human body is very forgiving and wants to heal itself if we simply give it the best fuel possible.
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at New Earth Market in Yuba City.