Few things in life come easily to us, except for excuses. No matter what the circumstance, we seem always capable of finding extravagant and amazing excuses to keep us from doing that thing. Excuses and fear go hand in hand. And excuses aren’t just clever and sneaky towards the things that we don’t want to do. Oftentimes, even the things we truly want to do are not immune to the wiles of excuse-making. Personally, I could make an Olympic sport out of making excuses (#roadtorio). I already have the wall space mapped out to hang my gold medal. My excuses could beat up your excuses any day!
But I digress. A little tip that I want to share with you is something that I’ve lovingly coined “The Shredded Carrot Phenomenon: A Methodology for Success in the Kitchen” (insert epic echo effect here). One pivotal thing that I’ve discovered in my own life and health journey is that the easier I can make it on myself to choose healthy eating, the more apt I am to stick with it.
So let’s use carrots as an example (you were probably wondering what this post had to do with carrots, anyway). I typically buy a giant 10 lb Costco-sized bag of carrots, unpeeled, in all their glory. But when I open up the fridge, the first thing I’m reaching for is not one of those inconvenient carrots. They just aren’t user-friendly. They’re big, they aren’t peeled, and they live in the bottom drawer of the fridge, out of sight and out of mind. But what I’ve learned (after one or two shamefully wasted bags—did you know that carrots past their prime grow HAIR?!!) is that if I shred some of those carrots and keep them always at the ready, I will employ them on EVERYTHING: salads, soups, baked goods, smoothies, dinner entrees, you name it. Because I’ve made them convenient and readily available, they’re so much easier to add into my daily diet. Shredding those carrots was a first step into eating healthy and making better dietary choices.
Now, this tactic clearly works well for our orange crunchy friends. But how can you apply it to other things in life, food-related or otherwise? First, you start by pinpointing one thing that you often get hung up on. Break it down into action steps. This is the problem, this is what I want to happen, and fill in the in-between. Make it simple and small because it is important to begin with an easily attainable goal. Starting out too ambitious sets us up for disappointment if we can’t quite make it happen. Do it in a way that guarantees you’ll have success, and that will motivate you on to the next step or the next thing.
With improving your diet, don’t set out to do it all overnight. Many quick-fix diets are unsuccessful because they don’t create lasting change. Rather than a few weeks or so of crash dieting that may result in some pounds lost, yet doesn't truly create lasting change, it is more beneficial to make small, permanent changes initially that will truly stick in the long run. Pick one small thing that you can do today, whether it’s taking something out or adding something in. Work with that one thing, master it, and then add on the next. The success in the small things and the initial steps will be the fuel to drive you on to the next step and ultimately your end goal.
The struggle is real. I totally understand that. But to start moving forward, you have to begin to remove obstacles, take small steps, and do what it takes to make healthier choices. Simplicity really is key here. Go easy on yourself to start, and once you’ve mastered that first step and have the knack for how to go about it, move on to the next.
In terms of healthy eating and improving your diet, some small changes for you could be:
- Commit to packing your lunch for work a few days a week vs. eating out or grazing at the lunch room snack pile
- Cut out soda for 7 days
- Spend 20 minutes a week cutting up fresh veggies for lunches and dinners
- Choose one new healthy recipe to try for dinner each week
- Visit your local farmer's market and choose at least one new fruit or veggie to try
Whatever it is, make it something that is easy enough to employ immediately and that will work with where you are right now, in your life and in your diet.
What is your methodology, your “shredded carrot,” for success in nutrition and in life? And what is something that you can do TODAY to begin your healthy eating journey? Let me know in the comments below!
Shred those carrots!