Self-Care: Formulas for Eating Healthy

Figuring out how to fit healthy eating into busy schedules is something that I focus on with about ninety percent of my clients. Even if that’s not why they came to work with me, most people are neglecting their nutrition. We all have different nutritional needs, but nearly everyone should be getting more water and eating more vegetables. Here are some easy-to-remember formulas that I share with my clients to shift their eating habits in a positive direction.

Add Two, Subtract One = Progress

The equation “Add Two, Subtract One” is a good rule to use as you embark on a new plan. You should add in two good habits and take away one bad habit. One of my clients added in of warm water with fresh lemon to start her day and an extra vegetable at night, and she subtracted alcohol during the week. Another client added in veggies with her morning eggs, added Greek yogurt for her afternoon snack and subtracted sugar from her morning coffee. Once you have these three new habits down, you can take on another “Add Two, Subtract One” equation. When you add in habits, it makes you feel pampered and that you are generously caring for yourself. Conversely, when you deny yourself something, it leaves an empty space. You feel deprived and it takes more willpower to stick to your commitment. This “Add Two, Subtract One” formula sets you up for success because you are adding in twice the positive feelings to counteract the deficit of denying yourself something you like. The formula applies to other habits also.

Veggies = Free + Beautiful

Vegetables are very low in calories, so I like to think of them as being free. When something is free, you want more of it. With a few exceptions (carrots and avocados), you can eat as many veggies as you want without impacting your caloric intake. More importantly, they are full of vitamins and provide roughage. Take a second look at the underappreciated vegetable and you will see that they are beautiful. Hold an orange or yellow bell pepper, what a color! Artichokes are complex flowers with layers of thorny and soft petals, a succulent heart and a meaty stalk. Swiss chard has a gorgeous red stem that contrasts with the deep green leaves. Broccoli and asparagus look like miniature bushes and trees. It’s time to embrace the extraordinary vegetable. Veggies = Free + Beautiful!

8 + 8 = Success

Getting 8 glasses of water a day and not eating after 8 pm, “8 + 8”, is a formula to keep you hydrated and set limits on nighttime munching. To hit that mark, I find it’s helpful to start off your morning with 2 glasses of water right away. Rehydrating after a night’s sleep is a great way to help you wake up and set your path for success. If you have one more glass at lunch and dinner, you are already half way there. Buy a nice mug to remind you to drink water. Keep a 12-pack of canned seltzer in your car to have a quick drink while you are driving. Have a favorite water bottle to track your intake through the day. There are dozens of delicious herbal teas that make it more palatable to get in your 8. Add a simple slice of lemon to enhance your water or buy non-calorie flavor enhancers to add some zest to your drink. I do not recommend artificial sweeteners, as many of them are bad for you.                             

Eating after 8pm will most likely leave you feeling too full when you go to bed and we don’t digest food as well when we are sleeping. Let’s face it, anything you eat at that time is not likely to be healthy. Make sure you hit your calorie count and nutritional goals before 8pm. If you still feel hungry, have a cup of herbal tea to fill you up.

Formulas can help you remember what your goals are and allow you to visualize the steps to success. Try creating your own formulas for success and let me know if they work.