In just about every aspect of our lives, we embrace the notion of second chances. Children learn from the mistakes they make. Bosses don’t fire employees for one screw-up. Movie directors say, “take two.”
For the most part, we accept that life is beautifully imperfect—and that part of the way we grow is through trial and error. We accept this truth in all areas of our lives except one: our food choices.
When we make mistakes with our diet, we beat ourselves up. If these poor decisions occur repeatedly, we often crawl into a hole and set up camp for the long haul. We don’t forgive ourselves. And sometimes when we find ourselves feeling ashamed of our choices, we self-medicate with sugary treats the size of the Colosseum.
We have to stop treating our less-than-satisfactory eating decisions as irreversible mistakes. Embrace the fact that you get a second chance. You can reverse health problems—such as obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes—associated with overeating or poor food choices.
What better day to start than today? Every day the sun rises is a chance to move toward better health. Here are 9 ways you can make good choices while still being gentle on yourself:
1. Eat when the sun is out.
Research shows your body will perform best and be healthier when your eating aligns with your circadian rhythm.
2. Pack it in early.
Stack your meals so that three-quarters of what you eat is before 2 p.m. and the rest between then and sundown.
3. Stop stereotyping foods.
Salads can make for great breakfasts, while an egg-white frittata with veggies can be a delicious dinner.
4. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t get hung up on exact ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrates. If you’re eating healthily and intuitively, you’ll be getting the right mix of each. (Just don’t overdo it on the fats by downing entire bowls of guacamole or nuts.)
5. Mistakes shouldn’t derail you.
Don’t worry if you eat a big dinner or stop eating well for a day or two. Just pick things back up tomorrow.
6. Be social.
Encourage your friends and family to join you on your quest to eat better. Community is the best side dish you can have.
7. Stay hydrated.
Water isn’t just good for you—it will also make you feel fuller.
8. Make a plan.
Preparation is temptation’s kryptonite.
9. Love what you eat.
Experiment with spices, flavors and new ways of preparing foods. A whole new world of eating—and a whole new body to go with it—awaits you.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
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