For the last day of the October Unprocessed Challenge, I asked Andrew if I could write the guest post. I lobbied for this particular slot not because I’m a food expert, but because I’m a professional Coach. My job is to help people reach and sustain their goals.
First of all, congratulations. You made it through the month! As we say goodbye to October and the useful framework that Andrew created, here are my two best tips to keep you on track for wholesome eating moving forward.
Build In Some Automation
Every weekday morning, I eat a bowl of homemade granola. I started making the recipe a few years ago. It’s brimming with oats, almonds and dried cherries. In the jar of granola, I keep a 1/2 measuring cup and dole out the same amount into the same white porcelain ramequin. The routine never varies. I’m not generally a regimented person and the fact that I’m eating the same food in the same bowl on the same days of the week may sound boring, but it’s liberating and here’s why:
Eating granola has now become a fixed habit in my life, which means it doesn’t depend on will power. I no longer scour the shelves of my pantry and refrigerator trying to figure out what to grab. There isn’t the temptation to reach for a sweet pastry or cookie, my inclination for years. Each weekday, I’m assured of a delicious, unprocessed meal. Taking the choice out of the equation has guaranteed my success and it frees up energy for more creative pursuits.
So here’s my first challenge to you:
What part of your weekly menu can you automate?
In my case, breakfast was the easiest because I’m almost always home then. But if breakfast isn’t your thing, or that seems like too big a leap, how about automating your afternoon or evening snacks. Choose one food item for now and jumpstart your routine tomorrow.
Customize A New Framework
Part of what makes October Unprocessed so useful is three main ingredients:
- An opportunity to formalize a commitment.
- A fixed timeframe to lean on with a beginning, middle, and an end.
- Support of like-minded people sharing strategies and the journey.
So, my second challenge to you is to recreate these components for yourself. Here’s how:
- Create your own timeframe for a commitment to healthy eating, whether it’s a day, a week or a month. Figure out what seems doable, and then stretch by adding a few days more.
- Announce your commitment by either writing it down in a visible place, or saying it out loud to at least one person (pets don’t count). Recommit when necessary.
- Surround yourself with others who share your goal of eating well. Studies show health habits begin to merge with those in close proximity, so this is an opportunity to be a good influence on your spouse, roommate or family member. And for ongoing support, join and participate in the October Unprocessed Facebook Group.
Finally, I’ve learned as a Coach that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for reaching goals. When it comes to changing habits, some people do best with abstinence, others with moderation. I eat granola every weekday, but loosen up on Saturdays and Sundays. Make note of your successes to understand what works best for you. Celebrate your victories. Have fun and be well.
About the Author
Wendy Braitman is a Certified Career Coach guiding people who are looking for meaning and satisfaction from their work. She is a regular on-air contributor to HuffPost Live, and her essays have appeared in The Huffington post, Slate’s Double XX, Tifereret, and the book Singlism by Bella DePaulo. Wendy offers a 6-Day plan for getting out of your head and into action to find your next career, and for ongoing career resources, check out Wendy’s site, Love Your Next Career. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.