Want to Get Healthy? Ask These Questions and Make a Plan!


Last night, as the snow drifted and never quite seemed to land, I relished the quiet solitude from my window... I could see the various Christmas trees across the street in the closest high rise and hear car tires scraping through thick, fresh ice on the street below. It is the week of Christmas, and soon, it will be the time for making New Year's resolutions. 

As I was making my to-do list for tomorrow, I received an email from a close friend who needs some extra help with his diet. Like so many of us, he has achieved a great deal in his life, but when it comes to beating the "diet" mentality, he is stuck. He has the best intentions. He starts well, but somehow loses that zest and returns to his old habits. I read over his email, and again, like many, he was looking to a popular diet book to get him back on track. 

If I've learned anything, it's that eating healthy is a daily choice - not a battle, but a choice. While I think it's great to have goals, the only way you reach anything in life is by tackling the day at hand (or in some cases, even the meal). If you can do that and get up and make the same decisions tomorrow and the next day, you form habits. So, if you find yourself still struggling with eating well on a daily basis, ask yourself the following questions and really take the time to write down your answers. Do it while you are having a cup of coffee or a few minutes of downtime at work. By pinpointing your issues, you can figure out how to tackle them and reset your body and mind to achieve ultimate success:

1. What is your ultimate healthy
Is it a weight, a feeling, a size? Be as specific as possible.

2. How do you see yourself getting
For instance, can you break this goal down into more attainable goals,
like setting a weekly goal, versus a monthly goal, to keep you more
accountable? What do YOU need to stay on track? Checking in daily, writing it
all down, calling a friend when you are having a bad day? Again, be

3. What happens once you reach your
goal or the end of a program?
Do you think you will have that "diet"
mentality? Will there be a sense of fear because now you don't have a program?
Are you scared of actually getting to your ultimate goal, because then you're
afraid you won't be able to stay there? Lay all the fears out so you can figure
out how to eradicate them. I think the hardest first step is agreeing to make a
true commitment to this lifestyle change. And this means that you will have
good days and bad days, but for a set period of time (perhaps a month, perhaps
two), you are going to commit fully and focus on YOU. Can you do that? Are you
ready to do that? 

4. Figure out what doesn't work for
you in your diet.
Where do you lose momentum? Do you get excited in the
beginning, go shopping, prep meals and then lose steam? Is it easier to order
out then eat right? Are you REALLY looking at all that you put into your body?
Is there a hidden culprit? Dairy? Alcohol? Salt? Too much meat? You have to
think about what's going on internally, as well as outside your body. Figure out
what you are WILLING to do in terms of eating, and DON'T think long-term. Think
about a single week at a time in terms of getting/preparing your food, or even
a single day. You are committing to eating right TODAY. If you can do that,
then you can get up and do the same thing tomorrow. 

5. When will you go out to eat? When
will you drink? What happens when you "cheat" or have an off day or a
celebration? Can you say no? If not, what's your backup plan? Can you accept
indulging once and getting back on track, or will you just go back to unhealthy
habits? What ARE your unhealthy habits?

6. In terms of exercise, how will you
reach your goals?
Do you need a trainer? Do you like yoga, dance, or a sport?
Do you need someone to keep you attainable, to push your body and really assess
what it is YOU need, or are you more comfortable on your own? You have to make
physical activity an integral part of your day, and on those days you can't get
to the gym (or partake in your chose activity), take stairs, walk, do yoga,
whatever. Just MOVE.

Take a long, hard look at these
questions. Really take a few moments and jot down all the reasons this hasn't
worked for you in the past, so you can figure out a way to combat this NOW and
everyday going forward. For instance, with me, the moment I eat dinner, I am already
thinking about a sweet treat after. I have had to come up with healthy recipes
to combat this because it's not realistic to just never eat something sweet
again. I love cookies, so now, I make a 10 minute cookie that is healthier (and
vegan) than any store bought kind. You can't deprive yourself - it's just not

You have to be forgiving, because we live in a world of
infinite food choices, and it's hard to say no. But, if you go to eat something
bad or "indulge," just ask yourself how you will feel after. Guilty?
Disgusted? Is it worth it? If not, walk away. Chances are, we have all indulged
enough in our lives. We don't need to remind ourselves that fast food or even
decadent dishes don't make us feel good and they do nothing for us in the
health realm. So, it really can be easier than you think to take control of
your food and health. Take it a single day at a time. Commit to today and then
get up and make the same decisions tomorrow. Move past mistakes and continue to
educate yourself about the way food affects your body. Come up with
a way of
eating that works for you and your family for the long haul! 


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