When I was younger, I always liked the concept of “do-overs” – you know, when you mess something up, you get another try. I love applying that metaphor to our health. It’s easy to be overly hard on ourselves – maybe you didn’t eat so clean over the summer – too much sugar, alcohol or caffeine and processed foods – or perhaps you went to one too many barbecues where you filled your plate and ate with reckless abandon.
So instead of beating yourself up if you didn’t eat as healthfully as you wanted to this summer, let’s have a do-over as we move into fall. But let’s do it in a gentle way that doesn’t feel so restrictive and difficult to maintain. Here are a few suggestions to help you refresh and refocus on clean, healthy eating as we move into fall:
· Identify one food to “crowd out” – It generally doesn’t work to try to change up all the things you’re eating at once, that just sets you up for failure. Removing one less than healthy item, however, can get you on the path to healthier eating. What’s one food for which you’ve been overindulging that you could eliminate? Think about a healthier option for that particular food, something that you would find satisfying. For example, you could crowd out potato chips by making a batch of kale chips. You can still have that crunchy texture in a much healthier form.
· Do a cleanse for a few days – In late August I did a 5-day raw food cleanse that gave my body a nice break – no sugar, dairy, meat, processed food or salt. I ate and drank the most delicious soups, smoothies and green juices that gave me the perfect restart and I’ve been doing a great job of maintaining my healthy eating ever since plus my sugar cravings are completely gone! The good news is that a cleanse can be very simple and inexpensive – for example, identify a few items that you would like to eliminate for a few days so your body and digestive system can rest.
· Eat in silence at least once per week – I love eating in silence with no distractions although I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. Cutting out all distractions helps you connect with your food and get in tune with your body in a powerful way. When we turn off the TV, step away from the computer and learn to be with ourselves, we can often discover that we’re eating far more food that we need to. Quiet down and slow down and your body will appreciate it.
What’s my do-over for fall? Well since I’ve just done a cleanse and I’m in a groove with clean eating, I’m focused on adding in 1-2 more servings of vegetables, leafy greens specifically, each day. Not so much a do-over but an add-on.
What’s your simple do-over plan that will help you reconnect, recharge and take your health up a notch this fall? Do tell!