Here are some quick tips
about healthy eating goals:
Instead of changing your diet overnight, make
your changes one at a time.
Try adding something to your diet instead of taking something away. Add foods that
you think you need more of, like fruits and vegetables. If you start off by
taking things out of your diet—like foods that are high in fat or sugar—you
might feel deprived. And that will make it harder for you to change.
Choose more of the healthy foods that you enjoy. Make a list of
the foods you like, and see how you can change them to make them healthier. For
example, make pizza at home using low-fat mozzarella cheese and lots of fresh
vegetables. Is there a special raw vegetable that you like? Stock up on it—and
reach for it whenever you want a snack.
Write down your goals, and
hang them up where you can see them. Reading your goals can be a helpful
Don't set goals that involve losing weight fast. Rapid
weight loss is not healthy and is hard to keep doing.
Track your progress
Keeping track of your progress
helps you see how far you've come. It also helps you stay with your
Use a notebook, journal, or
food record form(What is a PDF document?) to keep track of the healthy things you do. Look this over when
you begin to doubt yourself or feel discouraged.
Pay attention to
how you feel. Can you notice any difference when you are eating better? Or do
you notice any difference when you sometimes eat poorly?
whether your food preferences change. As we change what we eat, we learn to
like new foods. You may find that you don't like some of the foods you used to
eat before you started making changes in your diet. And you may have learned to
like new foods that you thought you didn't like.
Look over any lab
tests you might have if you are following a special diet. You may notice
Blood sugar tests will tell you whether
your diet is helping to control your diabetes.
Take the time to think about what things could get in the way of your
success. We call these things barriers. And by thinking about them now, you can
plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Here are some
tips for dealing with barriers:
It's perfectly normal to try something, stop
it, and then get mad at yourself. Lots of people have to try and try again
before they reach their goals.
If you feel like giving up, don't
waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Remember your reason for wanting to
change, think about the progress you've made, and give yourself a pep talk and
a pat on the back. Then you may feel like eating healthy again.
When you hit a barrier—and most people do—get support. Talk to your family
members and friends to see if someone wants to eat healthy with you or cheer
Don't forget little rewards. Something to look forward to
can keep you moving right along.
Expect to encounter some barriers. And remember: The idea
is not to get rid of barriers but to identify them ahead of time and plan what
you will do to deal with them.
It might help you to have a written
personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) where you list your goals, your barriers, and your plans to get
past those barriers.
The more support you have, the easier it will be
to change your eating habits.
If your family members tell you
that they love how you're getting healthier, you'll probably be motivated to
keep up the good work.
And there's more support out there. You can
even ask for encouragement. Here are a few things to look for:
Change your eating habits with a partner. It's
motivating to know that someone is sharing the same goals. That person can
remind you how far you've come. And that person can even motivate you with what
he or she has accomplished.
Friends and family may be a great
resource. Family members can eat healthy meals with you. They can encourage you
by saying how they admire you for making hard changes. Friends may tell you how
good you look because your eating habits have changed. Don't be afraid to tell
family and friends that their encouragement makes a big difference to
You might join a class or support group. People in these
groups often have some of the same barriers you have. They can give you support
when you don't feel like staying with your eating plan. They can boost your
morale when you need a lift.
Don't forget to reward yourself. When
you reach one of your goals—for example, eating five servings of fruits and
vegetables a day for 1 week—give yourself a present. Buy a new healthy
cookbook. Take a cooking class. Or just take some time for yourself. Do
whatever it takes to remind yourself that you've been meeting your goals.
Support is everywhere. You just have to look for it.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.