Module Plan: Eat Healthier
By Leo Babauta
Ready to start a month of eating healthier? Yes, you totally are.
It’s not going to be super hard — the focus will be on really small changes, and on trying to do it every day, once a day.
Don’t even think about the whole month, actually. Let’s focus on one change a week, one day at a time.
Here’s the general plan
- Take a look at where you are
- Pick a small area to change each week, and find a healthier alternative
- Make the change in a small, mindful way
- Enjoy the change
- Be accountable
Each of these steps is important, and no matter where you are, don’t feel like you can skip any of them. Not a single one, even if it seems trivial or perhaps doesn’t apply to you.
Let’s go over each step.
Take a look at where you are
What are your problem areas? Take a look at the Healthy Eating Overview, under “Common Eating Problems To Work On”. What areas apply to your diet? What do you think you should change?
If you have a large number of things on this list, don’t worry. You’re like most people. But you can change, one change at a time. Slow, gradual change is the most important concept here.
Where should you start? Pick the change that seems easiest. Don’t start with things you really feel you can’t give up (like your Starbucks lattes, or cheese). When you make the easier changes, you’ll understand the process, and you’ll start to realize that there really isn’t a single area you can’t change. That’s what I’ve learned, despite believing the contrary for years.
If you have no areas on this list that apply to you, congratulations! You are probably a very healthy eater already. Just look at what you eat for a day or two and see if there are little areas you think you could improve, even slightly.
Make a small, healthy change
OK, you have a few areas you can change … and you’ve identified one of the easier ones to start with. You aren’t going to change it entirely — just a little. For example, if you commonly snack on junk food in the afternoon, you’re not going to eliminate that entirely yet.
Instead, focus on eating a healthy alternative, once a day. For example, you might start eating carrots (with hummus if you like) as a snack, once in the afternoon. Or celery with peanut butter (look for natural peanut butter, without added sugars). Or an apple with raw almonds/walnuts.
Remember, make only one small change each week.
Small, mindful method
On the first day you make the change you’re going to make in this week, you should be very conscious about eating your new healthy alternative. Clear 5-10 minutes to eat this food mindfully. Read this method for more info.
Savor the new healthy food. Eat it slowly. Pay attention to all the flavors, textures, smells. Really appreciate the freshness and lightness of this food. Smile as you eat.
The flavor might not be something you love yet. Don’t worry. Just see if there are things about it you can appreciate. Your tastebuds will change over time.
Each day, set aside a small time for this mindful change.
Enjoy the change
Whatever you do, don’t look at this as a sacrifice. Don’t complain in your head. Don’t think of it as suffering, or as doing something you hate for your own good.
This is a positive change, and you should focus on enjoying it. Healthy changes can be delicious, if you are mindful and savor it.
And don’t forget — smile!
When you’ve eaten your healthy alternative each day, mindfully, go and report on the forum. Be sure to join an accountability team if you haven’t yet. Report to your team each day. Encourage others in your team who are making changes, or who are having trouble. Get each other’s emails and contact people who aren’t reporting in — be nice and encouraging.
The accountability will help you go through the changes.
One small change each week. You can do this!