NNMC Getting Started: Take Small Steps

When it comes to changing one's diet, it can often be overwhelming. You may feel like there is so much information and so many changes to make, you just can't get a handle on it. Today's tip, and the overarching theme of this challenge, is to take small steps, because, no matter how cliché it may sound, they really can add up to big results. It's not about the shake up where you change everything at once. When you tackle one issue at a time, you can master it and integrate the change into your lifestyle. Before you know it, you'll have made great strides. Throughout this challenge, I encourage you to take things at your own pace. If something has really got you stuck, take the extra time to iron out any problems and get the hang of it.

To illustrate this point, I want to share my own food journey with you. Four years ago, I was quite health conscious, but my idea of what was healthy to eat was very different from my philosophy today. Calories were my main concern so anything that cut calories was great in my book. My typical diet consisted of artificially sweetened yogurt and gum (5-10 sticks a day), processed meats, low-calorie canned soups, sugar-free Fudgesicles, frozen dinners, Flaming Hot Cheetos,  Diet Coke, and Fat-Free dressings. Now, I did still eat my fair share of fruits and veggies, but I was always focused on calories. Since then, my diet has changed dramatically. I don't eat any artificial sweeteners, I can't remember the last time I had a soda, and processed foods are not an option. I'm not saying I don't ever have a treat (say hello to the homemade chocolate trifle in my refrigerator), but I'm now focused on wholesome, real ingredients rather than a low-calorie product created in the lab. The point of all this is, I didn't make this change over night. It started with one small step: cutting out artificial sweeteners. Next, I switched to organic dairy. This went on and on until, four years later, I eat a whole foods diet that is a world away from my old style of eating.

I understand how daunting this may seem. Food and our eating habits are such an integral part of our lives. When I started tinkering with the idea of quitting artificial sweeteners I just couldn't imagine how I could live without them. But, by taking that first step and pushing myself, I began a journey that has truly changed my life. So join me in simply putting one foot in front of the other until, before we know it, we'll be miles away from where we started.