My Five Action Steps for Achieving Better Health

A bowl of soup

I want to find a way to live a healthier lifestyle that will be permanent.

In my previous post, I talked about the hamster wheel of bad health habits. I am tired of that wheel. I’m tired of being on it, getting fed up and finally jumping off, only to find myself back on it again when I fail to plan ahead on how to stay healthy!

This time, I am using my knowledge of achieving lasting changes to make it work for me! In the past I’ve been all about talking the talk. Now I am going to start walking the walk as well!

I started searching for healthier recipes online the way I always do when I feel the need to try and be healthy. However, this time, instead of just marking them for later, like I always have in the past, I created a “meal planner” tab on my Google Calendar and began pinning the different recipes there. Since I look at my calendar multiple times each day, that big block was there daily for me to see.

Since I can see what the meal planned for each day for the entire week is, I know what I need to grab at the store when I’m out and about each day. I am remembering to take whatever might be in the freezer out first thing in the morning or the night before so it is ready to prepare when dinner time comes.

Using a calendar and starting to plan meals advance really has helped.

So far this month we have made home cooked meals nearly every night. D is excellent at being my prep cook by doing a lot of chopping vegetables and browning meat. As I am getting more adept at planning and thinking ahead, I will be able to have the prep done for more than 1 meal at a time, which will save time and effort.

                                                                                                

I got D to go through my cookbooks and mark other recipes he would like to try. In the past, I’ve always had a terrible habit of getting WAY too much produce, which obviously goes bad before it can be used. I don’t know where I got the habit of feeling the need to buy produce in bulk, but it has been an expensive one!  D keeps telling me to “just get what you need for a day or two” and I am finally jumping on that bandwagon (finally….after sooooo many times of him telling me to…..poor D.)

My new plan is to stock up only on things that can be frozen or kept in the pantry. When we need something fresh for a specific recipe, I will get it that morning or a day before and make sure to use it BEFORE it goes bad. Instead of getting a bag of peppers and a dozen tomatoes, I just get how many I need for the meal.

On that same note, I’m learning to just make the amount for 2 servings. I have been known to make so much that we have leftovers for a week, and since Don isn’t a fan of leftovers, I end up eating or tossing the remainder. So, cutting down on the amount prepared initially will help in that department. So far it is working!

Since both of us drink WAY to much soda, I got us 48 ounce “Bubba” cups so we could start drinking more water. (I’m happy to report that D carries his around regularly with actual water in it!)

I had ordered “Eat for Health” audio book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman earlier this year. Recently I found it under the pile of “to do” items on my desk and popped it in the car CD player. This past week I’ve listened to it every time I was driving.

I finished the 5th and final CD this morning, and after listening all week about the power of adding vegetables to your diet, I was actually craving vegetables and looking forward to cooking and eating the way he suggests!  While I don’t think I’m going to be able to go 100 percent Nutritarian, I am definitely going to start adding in more of the foods he recommends to my diet.

So, to break it down into an easy list of steps (mostly so I can see what I need to do….) here goes:

  1. Check out Pinterest and my own cookbooks for healthy plant based recipes and add them to the meal planner for the following week’s worth of meals
  2. For each day’s meal plan, see what items I have on hand frozen or in the pantry. Make a list of what fresh ingredients I need to stop and pick up NO MORE THAN 1-2 days ahead of that meal’s execution.
  3. Early in the day of, or even the day before the meal, do whatever prep work is necessary, such as GETTING THE FROZEN FOOD OUT OF THE FREEZER, chopping vegetables, mixing spices, etc.
  4. When it is time to make the food for the meal, make only enough for the 2 of us and NOT enough for an army of hungry giants. (If there are leftovers, we will eat them the next day. If he doesn’t want to, I’ll refuse to cook again until they are eaten.)
  5. Finally, I will make a big pot of vegetarian soup one day each week and put in Mason jars in single servings. This way, I can grab a jar of soup, take a few minutes to heat it up and then eat. Poof, a new go-to lunch and any-time-I’m-hungry option so I will be putting nourishing food in my body instead of the chips, lunch meat or cheese that I normally use when I’m hungry and don’t feel like making the effort to prepare something.

I’m finding that this thinking ahead for meals is addictive in a good way and leading to other thinking ahead activities.

Before I leave for my morning pet visits, I take a moment to think of what I need to do for the day and put it on my Google calendar.  During the drive to and from my visits, I plan my execution of the day. When I get home, I have food to eat and a guideline of how to spend my time. So far it is MUCH easier to be productive!!!!

I’d love to hear from anybody who has trouble planning, and from anybody who has figured out how to make it work!  Please comment below.

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