By Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.
The holidays are over and the new year is here -- a special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities. The most popular resolution is improving our health, and we usually are ready after the holidays. As tasty as the holiday treats are, they leave us feeling a little guilty and less on track with our goals than we would like.
The key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. In case you've heard the term "clean eating" but haven't quite understood what it means -- clean eating is all about eating healthy, whole foods and avoiding the processed junk foods. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, we have a few super-simple steps for a winning journey into clean eating!
1. Focus on your inner motivation
Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, please focus on your motivaton so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.
2. Reevaluate what you’re currently eating
Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you’re eating and look for patterns. After a stressful week at the office, you might notice that you’re more prone to ordering pizza or eat sweets and you can take steps to be aware of this, rather than fall into the same pitfall again and again.
3. Set realistic, measurable and specific goals
When people make changes in their lives such as a change in their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. That means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should try one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific.
4. Clean out your pantry
Unfortunately, most kitchen pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label. Start giving away or throwing away junk food. If you have a lot of unopened items, please donate them to a shelter.
5. Refocus your grocery shopping strategy
We are creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Do something different and go straight to the produce section when you enter the grocery store. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where the processed foods (junk foods) are!
6. Master meal prep
One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to plan your meals. You will find so many healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to put all of the whole foods in the crockpot in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night!
As you can tell, it only takes small changes over time to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
I’m here to support you every step of the way. If you are interested in a complimentary 15 minute medical consultation to help you with your health goals, please call our office at (760) 230-2711. I look forward to speaking with you.
About Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.: "Dr. Roopa Chari is a medical doctor in Internal Medicine and her brother Deepak Chari is an Engineer and Certified Biofeedback Specialist at The Chari Center of Health, an advanced integrative medical center in Encinitas, CA. * Sign up for a FREE 15 minute holistic medical consult with Dr. Chari and/or a FREE 30 minute Stress & Anxiety Relief session with Advanced Voice Biofeedback with Deepak Chari here or call (760) 230-2711."