Making changes to our dietary habits, meal planning, prepping, cooking and shopping can become overwhelming. It may feel like we have too much on our plate (pun intended!) So, where do we start? How do we begin to make sustainable changes to what we’ve been doing without overwhelming ourselves?  How can we involve our family in these changes too? There are lots of moving pieces within the topic of meals, and along with that, a lot of potential areas of opportunity! 

Before we dive into practical advice/ideas, it is important to note that we don’t need to make ALL of these changes at the same time. In fact, when we try to change too many things at once it can make it harder for those pieces to stay consistent and can lead to discouragement if we’re setting our expectations too high. Change takes time, and we may not always get it right on the first try!  Instead of changing everything at once, we can choose one or two action steps at a time. Work to standardize these pieces, then we can optimize/add new steps from there. In his book “Atomic Habits”, James Clear talks about getting 1% better every day.  At first, this may not seem like a lot, but it really does add up!  With this in mind, we can think through individual action steps that will progressively get you closer to the goal you have in mind.  

What does a realistic action step look like? It may be a bit different for each person depending on past experience, knowledge, motivation, confidence, so consider the following pieces as you’re building your next goal. We can use the SMART acronym to help us out here. Our goals should be: 

Now let’s chat through some potential first steps within the realm of dietary changes. And again, it is unrealistic to attempt all of these changes at the same time. Start with one or two that you feel more confident about then work up from there! 

Regardless of how/where you choose to start, the fact that you’re willing to take a step in that direction is already a BIG WIN!  Don’t forget to celebrate every step you take and even celebrate the lessons you learn from the mistakes you make. Understand that nobody is or will ever be perfect, so give yourself some grace and keep pushing forward. Find hope in the fact that we all make mistakes, and we’re all doing the best with what we have. YOU’VE GOT THIS! 

To your health and wellness,

Natalie Smith

Health Coach, EPIC Functional Medicine

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