Do you have a Plan B for Dinner?

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Similar to a patient long term investment strategy, where we aim to ignore the ups and downs of the stock market (not always easy to do), having a similar mindset with changing your eating and exercise habits also fares better with a long term strategy.  Have you ever slipped with either your meal plan or workout and allowed it to derail you for multiple meals or days?  If so, it's not uncommon.  Can you change your mindset and habits to help you stay on course?  Of course!

How to handle a slip and stay on track?  The next time you slip, the key is to 'get back on track at the next meal or snack.'  There is no failure with a slip.  We all slip from time to time because we are human.  Let the guilt (if you have it) roll off your back.  The key is to think about the situation and decide if you'd do anything different the next time (i.e. shop differently, order differently, etc.)

Another option is to have a plan B.  For example, let's say option A is to prepare dinner from scratch.  However, option A may not be realistic each night of the week particularly after a long or hectic day with work/kids/sports etc.  I know my household is on the run many nights of the week and keeping it simple and quick with dinner is crucial.

Let's create an option B for times when you want a quick meal within 15 minutes or less.  There are many options, but consider a veggie or turkey burger from your freezer with cut up raw veggies (peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots etc.) on whole grain bread (or as a lettuce wrap), or a salad with chicken breast that you can reheat from your freezer, or how about beans on a tortilla (fresh or frozen) with avocado or store bought guacamole (we had this the other night for a quick dinner), with salsa, lettuce, and tomato?  There are numerous options, but the key is to find 1-3 simple, and quick dinner options that you can easily put together in 5-15 minutes right from your fridge/freezer when rushed for time.  Brainstorm a few healthy, tasty, and satisfying options that'll work best for you! This will help you stay on track, avoid eating out more (and save on your budget to invest or take a vacation!), and help you accomplish your health and wellness goals!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Creating habits vs. utilizing willpower: what's more powerful?

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When trying to create new health, nutrition, and fitness habits, I rely less on willpower and more on creating habits.  I was listening to a podcast interview with Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics from Duke University, and he said that when you have a habit, you don't have to use your willpower. 

Do you have a simple, repeatable meal and fitness plan that is virtually automatic 90% of the week?  Are you focused more on creating habits than following the perfect diet or fitness routine? Certainly we want to eat healthy most of the time and exercise regularly, but creating simple, repeatable habits set us up for success. 

Tim Ferris, on this YouTube video, talks about how to overcome procrastination and create a habit (from approximately 2 minutes 37 seconds to 6 minutes and 50 seconds in the video) and it's worth checking out. 

For example, I exercise 5-6 days per week and have been doing so consistently for about 17 years.  Now I generally exercise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, but on days when I don't want to do anything, I lower my goal until it's achievable, say 10 minutes of exercise.  Once I get started exercising for a few minutes, my energy increases, I feel more motivated, and then work out for my usual duration.

Creating habits rather than relying on willpower and lowering goals until achievable make a powerful combination.

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist