It has long been said that you are what you eat, and for some of us, that can be a frightening prospect.
Excess salt, fat, sugar, and preservatives can create all kinds of health problems for us. And things like alcohol abuse can add that much more trouble to our lives.
When we’ve had the same consumption habits for 20 or 30 years, it can be incredibly hard to make substantive changes toward a better lifestyle, even though we know we desperately need to do it.
So the best strategy for some people is to make incremental changes, eliminating one problem area at a time, and maintaining that change while moving forward to the next one.
While it is sometimes easiest to prioritize these changes ourselves, it still helps to have a basic blueprint for how to go about it.
3 Steps To Healthier Eating
Think about your dietary revolution as taking place with this basic sequence to healthier eating:
Priority One: The Immediate Threats
Some things that we eat and drink pose a real risk to our health right now. Certainly, anyone who has suffered a cardiovascular problem like high blood pressure or a heart attack should kick off their dietary changes with a more heart-healthy diet, with less fat and salt. In many cases, this can be a matter of life and death – and with a very short time horizon.
Likewise, anyone with an alcohol problem should find a good alcohol detox center and get to work on that issue immediately in order to preserve their physical health, relationships, and finances.
And diabetics should take immediate steps to make their diets more appropriate for their conditions. A single diabetic emergency from high or low sugar can be fatal, so these changes should be made first.
Next Step: The Long-Term Issues
Sometimes our bodies let us get away with abusing them. We eat a bad diet and somehow maintain good health. It lulls us into a false sense of security, allowing these bad habits to become entrenched and more difficult to break when our lifestyle starts to catch up with us.
Your cholesterol readings may be good. Your blood pressure might be ideal. You may even have a good BMI. But eventually, you will see those figures start to turn on you.
So your first step after the immediate threats should be to ditch the junk food in favor of healthier options that will give you a better chance at better health in your future.
The Home Stretch: Positive Impacts
If you have bad eating habits, the first thing you need to do is get back to a diet that’s at least health-neutral, causing neither bad nor good impacts on your health. Once you’ve reached that level, it’s time to start pushing back.
After all, it may not be enough for your cholesterol to stop getting worse or even just to stabilize it at its current levels. You should instead start a diet that pushes those levels down, eating foods that help with the process. And of course, don’t forget exercise.
Changes like these can really make an impact on your life. Not only will you avoid health issues, later on, you’ll also increase your quality of life now by having more energy. You may even be able to work your way off of medication if your doctor determines that you’ve made sufficient progress.
It is so easy to get into bad habits with eating, and it is often a process that has taken many years. When you finally get motivated to make a change, whether it’s a health scare or simply by way of frustration with your situation, you need the best possible strategy to succeed.
Trying to make wholesale changes overnight will probably result in abject failure that frustrates you and convinces you that you’ll never be able to make permanent changes.
Working through the process by prioritizing your changes will help you solidify your position one step at a time and give you a better chance to overcome the barriers to your improved health.