A couple of years ago I decided to start bringing my lunch to work. My schedule was 8:30a-5:30p. I was not thinking about food until I was told that I had become a grumpus.
My first idea was a salad. A little more work to prepare than a sandwich but fresh and delicious and healthy. So I set my alarm 20 minutes earlier and added this into my daily routine. 21 days to a new behavior. I found myself looking forward to my lunch everyday. The way it made me feel afterwards. I began scheduling my lunch at 1pm and would have my lunch at my desk. Apparently people didn’t realize I was “out to lunch” and kept interrupting my lunch and I wouldn’t finish it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I need to get away from the work. I began eating my lunch in the breakroom with my team. I built teams and partnerships in that room. I got to know my staff on a more personal level. They were shocked that I brought the same thing to eat everyday. I told them that it tasted good and it makes me feel good, so why not? They would be eating fast food and drinking soda. Bad choices. I wouldn’t say anything to them about their choices but sitting next to me they felt ashamed at their choices. Slowly a shift began to happen. More lunches were being made. Suggestions were being shared about dinner recipes and snacks.
When my opinion was asked, I would tell them a big step would be to stop drinking soda. Sugary foods stimulate a release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with both pleasure and addiction, and for anyone who’s used to getting a big hit of sugar every day, it takes a while to stop craving that chemical rush. You can’t expect to transform your taste buds overnight. Fortunately, the less of these foods you eat, the less your brain will demand them. It worked. The vending machine care taker actually made a comment to me on several occasions that I was hurting his business.
Look at what foods you are eating everyday and try to add different healthier versions into your diet. For instance, swap white rice for brown rice. You may not prefer it at first but after a few times you become adjusted to the taste and know that it is a better option for you. Give the new choice 5 tries before moving on.
Add more variety to your diet. Start learning one new recipe a week. Add some variety. If you eat burgers for lunch everyday why not make a steak for dinner and bring some to work the next day in a different variation. Add more vegetables, fish or chicken to your diet. Fresh vegetables are the best option for a healthier you, but frozen vegetables are a close second and so easy to prepare!
Use your current motivation to take control of your nutritional environment, you can turn a healthier way of life into the path of least resistance.
So here’s the challenge. Every day make one smart food choice.
Small Steps, Big Change