Pick One Thing
Last weekend, I was asked to do a Healthy Eating Cooking demonstration for Fast Freight Expeditors, a long-haul trucking company located in Johnstown, PA. The purpose of the class was to teach their drivers and their spouses how to make some healthy meals that could be cooked ahead and heated up in the truck during the week, or could be made in a slow cooker while the driver is on the road.
While I think they got some good ideas from the event, and they really liked the food, the discussion during both sessions focused mainly on habits and how to change them for the long-term. It is very easy this time of year with New Year’s Resolutions to make big, broad goals -like I am going to eat healthy this year. Which, if I break that down, means I am going to stop eating sugar, processed foods, white flour, fried foods, red meats, cheeses (NOOO, not cheeses!), limit my wine intake - the list goes on and on. Reading through that list, I start to feel defeated before I even get started. So, how do I set myself up for success when it is so easy to fail at something on this list (cheeses)? Pick one thing.
Here is an example from the group this weekend. One gentleman talked about how much he loved pasta. For the class, I made a Pasta Bolognese with whole wheat pasta and ground turkey in the sauce. His wife said he wouldn’t try whole wheat pasta. Guess what? He did try it and he liked it. After we talked about cutting out soft drinks, potato chips and eating more vegetables, I asked him to pick one thing that he would like to change. He was going to start with switching to whole wheat pasta. I gave him a box of pasta to get him started, and recommended that he go home and get rid of all of the white pasta in his house and replace it with whole wheat. You have to make it easy to succeed; if you don’t have white pasta in your house but have whole wheat, which one will you cook?
Another driver drinks pre-made Southern Sweet Tea by the gallon. One gallon is almost 1,500 calories and about 370 grams of sugar. This was the one thing he picked to change. I suggested he make a gallon of homemade unsweetened tea at home and fill an empty sweet tea jug with it. Then when he filled up his cup he should start with ¾ sweet tea and ¼ unsweetened tea. When he got used to that level of sweetness, fill his glass half and half, and then ¼ sweet tea and ¾ unsweetened. He should do this until he was drinking completely unsweetened tea. After drinking unsweetened tea for a while, drinking the sweet tea would taste awful to him. Plus he would have a lot of extra change in his pocket if he wasn’t buying pre-made sweet tea. Quitting cold turkey is hard, so if you can ease into it, you have a better chance of success.
It may seem like it will take you the whole year to get to the point where you are eating completely healthy, and it very well may take you that long. But at least you have spent the year redirecting your habits from bad ones to good ones and making changes in a way that will stick. So what’s it going to be? What one thing would you pick?