Healthy Eating - Making Change a Habit
Making any kind of change in the way you live your daily
life is like being on a path. The path leads to success. Here are the first
steps on that path:
Have your own reason for healthier eating. Do it because you want to, not because someone else wants you
to. You are more likely to have success.
Set goals. Include
long-term goals as well as short-term goals that you can measure easily.
Think about what might get in your way, and
prepare for slip-ups.
Get support from your
family, your doctor, your friends-and from yourself.
Keep track of your progress. It can help motivate you to
do more and help encourage you when you feel discouraged.
1. Have your own reason for healthier eating.
Your reason for healthy eating is really important.
Don't do it just because your spouse, friend, or someone else wants you to.
What makes you want to change how you eat?
- Want to feel better and have more
- Want to improve your health?
- Want to prevent or
treat health problems, such as
high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, or
- Have another reason for wanting
to do this?
Whatever your reason, you may already know what areas you
want to work on. Maybe you want to cut back on high-fat snacks or eat more
If you aren't sure where to start, keeping a
food diary(What is a PDF document?) can help. For a week or two, write down everything you eat.
It will help you see which foods you need
to eat more of and which foods you're eating too much of.
Then compare what you are eating to the food-serving recommendations from
the USDA food guide.
2. Set goals you can reach.
Ask yourself if you feel ready to begin taking steps
toward big goals. If you're not ready yet, try to pick a date when you will
start making small changes. Any healthy change-no matter how small-is a good
When you are clear about your reasons for wanting to make
a change, it?s time to
set your goals.
Long-term goals: These
are goals that you want to reach in 6 to 12 months. A long-term goal might be
to eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Short-term goals: But you may not be
ready for 7 servings a day just yet. What are the short-term goals that will
help you get there? Your first small goal might be to eat 1 serving of fruit at
breakfast each day. As soon as you've reached that goal, you can set a new one by
adding a serving of fruits or vegetables to your lunch or dinner. Or you could
try eating a piece of fruit as a snack every day.
Updated goals: It will help you stay motivated if you track
your progress and update your goals as you move forward.
Tips for setting goals
- Focus on small goals. This will help
you reach larger goals over time. With smaller goals, you'll have success more
often, which will help you stay with it.
- Write down your goals.
This will help you remember, and you'll have a clearer idea of what you want to
achieve. Use a
personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to record your goals. Hang up your plan where you will see it
often. It will remind you of what you're trying to do.
- Make your
goals specific. Specific goals help you measure your progress and adjust your
plan. For example, setting a goal to eat 2 servings of vegetables each day is
better than a general goal to "eat more vegetables."
- Focus on one
goal at a time. By doing this, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed and then
- As soon as you reach a goal, set a new one.