This post on using small changes and mindful eating to help you make sustainable progress on your health goals is a modified version of a newsletter that I wrote. Every week I share nutrition insights and tips, along with a recipe and recommendations for things to read, listen to, or try. I would be stoked if you signed up: sign up here.
This week’s newsletter is about using techniques like intuitive eating and practicing self-forgiveness to help you make sustainable progress on your health journey. Plus, an awesome spiced tofu & eggplant recipe (can be done w/ meat optionally).
🎉Giveaway 🎉 Enter to win $100 of my favorite recipe + nutrition books. I’ll announce the winner in this newsletter in November.
Hope you enjoy the newsletter,
Deep dive on making sustainable progress on your health goals
When I write this newsletter every week, I’m often thinking about how people are going to read it and internalize it.
I don’t want people to feel like they have to be perfect with their nutrition / eating habits 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic, I know it’s not for me.
Shawn Stevenson talks about the 80/20 rule with food. Eat nutritious food 80% of the time. I think that’s definitely achievable for many people. I know I personally want to shoot for more like 90-95%. But, honestly I don’t always hit that goal…I LOVE french fries.
And, if you’re someone who is currently eating a diet of mostly ultra-processed/packaged food (or your family/partner is) even 80% is probably a long way off. And that’s OK!
You need to make changes in a way that can work for you.
Here are three techniques that can help you on your journey.
1. Make small changes
This one is simple, but it can be difficult for some to execute on. I know it is for me…I’m the type of person that likes to go all in, and then I often end up having to pull back.
Instead of trying to make all of the changes you want all at once, make one small change at a time and build on that.
Take a minute right now to think about one small change you can introduce this month, and try to do that for 30 days…
Here are a few ideas for people across the spectrum:
- Eat just one more whole food meal per week. It’s ok if you’re going from 0 to 1.
- Ensure there is at least one fresh vegetable or fruit at every meal
- Add in a 20 minute walk to your daily routine.
- Get at least 80% of your produce organic.
- Get at least 80% of your fish wild caught, and 80% of your meat grass-fed.
- Stop using your phone an hour before bed to help improve your sleep.
These are just ideas, create one that works for you. Only pick one of them for this month, and try another in 30 days.
2. Mindful eating
Mindful eating is all about slowing down. Paying attention to the sights, smells, sounds, and taste of your food.
It’s about listening to your body. What does your body actually want or need?
For example, recently I was out to dinner and normally I would have ordered some sake, but I could tell that my body didn’t really want alcohol so I ordered tea instead. Just look to your body for clues. (TBH I have lots of examples of ignoring my body, but that’s probably less helpful for you right now.)
My biggest tips for this are to just pay more attention to the taste and texure as you eat, put your utensils down, chew more and enjoy slowly (it’s better for you!).
Mindful eating often has a positive side effect of having you eat less because you’re taking your time and really paying attention to your body.
Here is a video on mindful eating with some additional tips.
3. Practice self-acceptance and forgiveness
A few years ago I read the book Radical Self-Acceptance by Tara Brach and I think about it often. I would highly recommend this book.
One of the things that struck me the most with this book is the idea of practicing self-forgiveness.
Basically, it’s the idea that you should forgive yourself for your mistakes, and even the way that you treat yourself. When you’re on a journey to live healthier, you will undoubtedly do something that doesn’t meet your goals.
In those moments, you should practice radical self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.
Treat yourself as a friend might treat you in those moments. Instead of being hard on yourself when you disappoint yourself, you can just forgive yourself. You can literally say to yourself, “It’s ok, I forgive you.”
…I know how lame this might sound, but don’t knock it until you try it.
The stress, shame, and anger you hold on to can actually make you less healthy, and may even lead you to console yourself with food (also something you can forgive yourself for!).
So…practice forgiving yourself and let yourself know it’s ok to make mistakes or even not to live up to your standards sometimes.
Here’s a video on self-forgiveness has a great story and tips.
Spiced Tofu and Eggplant Recipe
This is an awesome recipe that we make pretty often, because it’s really simple and really tasty. This recipe is vegetarian, but you can make this using meat (see the recipe for details).
- Try: I’ve tested a lot of meditation apps, this week I started to try the Waking Up App by Sam Harris. I like the straight forward and philosophical approach. Let me know what you think.
- Read: Intermittent fasting might be the key to better memory.
Thanks to all who read this far! I appreciate you.
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