Tag Archives: Healthy Eating Habits

Good Nutrition Is Essential for Busy People

 Too Busy to Eat Healthy? Then, You Are Too Busy

You have heard the arguments regarding the importance of a nutritious diet and living a healthy lifestyle. This is an additional alert to help you understand that good nutrition is essential for busy people in order to live long, healthy lives. In the rush of living and getting everything done, that is often the last thing on their minds.

Image by Wavebreak Media
Image by Wavebreak Media

You rush in the morning to get everything organized before you jump in the car and go to the office – often skipping breakfast, or grabbing a strong coffee latte and doughnut on the way to work.

McDonalds Big Mac and FriesYou scramble through the day, grabbing a Danish and another coffee mid-morning, and a little later, you spend a quick 30 minutes to grab a hamburger and fries at the nearest fast-food establishment or local diner for lunch.

Then, it’s back to the office to work diligently until the mid-afternoon slump hits a couple of hours later. You guzzle down another cup of coffee, a cola, or the Monster drink you brought from home, and a candy bar from the vending machine – just to keep you going. With all that sugar and caffeine running through your system, it is no wonder that you have trouble sleeping at night.

Finally, the day is over. It is time to pick up the children from school and try to figure out what to serve for dinner – often it is order-in Chinese, a couple of large pizzas, a quick-stop at the nearest drive-thru, or prepackaged/frozen dinners that can be prepared and served in a matter of minutes. Everyone wolfs down the food and then collapse in front of the TV until it is time to fall into bed completely exhausted.

This scenario, with a few variations, is the average weekday for a majority of the working class in the United States. If you stop to analyze the eating habits specifically, it should not be surprising that we are a nation of exhausted, overweight, and unhealthy individuals – rearing overweight and unhealthy children.

Taking it a step further, people seem to be completely unaware, confused, or simply disinterested in what actually constitutes a healthy meal. As a result, even though there are healthy options available, people either choose to remain uninformed or ignore what they know to be true, because ease and convenience are their highest priorities.

On the other hand, there others who actually have no idea that their eating habits are hurting them and believe that as long as they eat regularly, they are OK, with little thought about what they are eating.

One fact that busy people do not consider is that the busier they are, the more important good nutrition becomes.

When you spend your entire day running from one responsibility to another, your body must have the proper fuel to sustain the effort and stay healthy. When you do not feed your body foods filled with the necessary nutrients, it will eventually begin to break down.

Any (or all) of the following can happen: you feel tired all the time, have trouble sleeping, experience the jitters, become short-tempered, and you catch every bug that comes around.  Your amazing body can only take the mistreatment for so long and as it steadily weakens from the lack of nutritious food, you can develop serious chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, and heart problems – plus increase your risk for contracting many other diseases. Your body cannot protect you if it is denied the nutrition it needs to do its job.

The real problem is that on some level people believe that if they are eating (anything) they are fueling their body. As a result, when they get hungry, very busy people tend to fuel their bodies with foods that are high in calories, high in unhealthy fats and refined sugar, and loaded with caffeine, sodium, and additives. The bottom line is they are ingesting an excessive number of calories and receiving practically no nutrient value what-so-ever.

Start the Challenge by Making the Time to Eat a Healthy Breakfast

People get into the habit of thinking that they do not have the time to eat a good breakfast, or to pack a healthy lunch. The reality is that their health is not important enough to get up 15-20 minutes earlier every day to make the time. Those few minutes will make it possible even with the morning rush to sit down to scrambled eggs and a whole-grain bagel with almond butter, rather than grabbing a Mountain Dew and Pop-tart as you run out the door. You will even have a few minutes to pack a healthy sandwich and fruit for lunch.

If that 15 minutes of sleep is a problem, go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier in the evening.

Taking the time to start the day with a healthy breakfast is one of the most important things you can do for your health and the health of your family. Remember, the habits that you teach your children are the habits that they will take with them to adulthood.

Take Your Time to Make New Behaviors Stick

New Eating Patterns Take Time

Getting started is the hardest part about changing your eating habits to a more nutritious way of eating. Always keep it mind – the goal is to have a healthier body over the long-term, so don’t try to change everything all at once. There is absolutely no reason to go cold-turkey. That method may work for some, but it does not work for most people.

If you want to make the process as simple as possible, tackle one thing at a time. Take it month-by-month, over the next year. Commit to one step each month and never falter. (Obviously, you don’t have to start in January – begin the first of the month that is coming up – or even better start today!)

Except for November and December, you can work the steps in any order. The key is to pick one-step and stick with it the entire month (and after, or course). Then, add the next step – building one healthy habit at a time.

  • Month 1: January – Start drinking 8 glasses of water per day, or drink six glasses and eat 2 servings of watery fruit. (Watermelon and/or watermelon juice is perfect for this.)
  • Month 2: February – Eat more fruits and veggies. If sweet desserts or high sugar items are difficult for you to turn down, start replacing them with fruits and veggies. Try “juicing” for an easy and delicious way to consume fresh veggies and lose weight. (For more info on juicing, check out my book, Why Juice – The Secret to Vibrant Health on Amazon.com.)
Vegetable Baskets
Image by fo2Trends
  • Month 3: March – Eliminate processed foods from your diet. Clean out your pantry and start shopping the store perimeter. Say no to processed foods regardless of how healthy the packages claim they are.  Learn to read labels! It is time to begin eating as close to nature as possible. This step is critical.
  • Month 4: April – Get moving. Start with five minutes a day if you have to, doubling it each week until you are moving at least 30 minutes to one hour a day. You can do it in segments – 15 minutes in the a.m. and 15 minutes in the p.m. or 30 and 30.
  • Month 5: MayGive up one dangerous habit such as smoking or excessive alcohol, cut down by half each day until you are over it.
  • Filtered Drinking Water
    Image by Gina Sanders

    Month 6: June – Reach for water instead of any other beverage – especially soda, energy drinks, bottled juices, teas, coffee, even milk.

  • Month 7: July – Start meditating. Try five minutes a day until you can work up to 30 minutes of meditation per day.
  • Month 8: August – Eliminate sugar from your diet completely. Find replacements for sweet treats. You can actually make very tasty sweet treats using fruit. Try eating pitted, fresh, gooey, Medjool dates instead of candy for a snack.
  • Month 9: September – Give up dairy products and substitute other high calcium items such as almond milk and steamed leafy greens. Adults really don’t need any dairy to get their calcium quota.
  • Month 10: October – Cut back on your meat intake, turn meat as a main dish into an occasional meal or serve meat as a condiment. Start by adding one meatless meal a week.
  • Month 11: November – Even though the holidays are near, do not lose your momentum.  Focus on finding delicious, nutritious recipes that can be prepared without the extra salt, sugar, and fat. Really get into it! I promise you will be very happy with the results
  • Month 12: DecemberTake note of the habits that stuck, and those that did not (even if you have only been at it for two or three moths. Use what you have learned to plan the coming year. Whatever you do – DO NOT beat yourself up. You have a whole new year to move forward.  Remember every positive step is a step in the right direction toward a healthier you.

The habits you are trying to break have taken a life time to develop and they will not go away easily. Changing your eating patterns does not happen overnight. The fact that you are committed to eating more nutritiously in order to enjoy better health and possibly reverse disease will take time.

Each day is a new day – and each month is a new month – Stick to Your Goals. Before you know it a year will have passed and you will be much closer to accomplishing your goal and healthier than you were before, or you won’t.

Which do you want it to be? I suspect that morning donut and strong hot coffee in place of a good breakfast is not worth it when you really think about it.