Setting Yourself Up for Success

I received an SOS email from a reader up to her elbows in leftover holiday goodies that have taken control of her. A little cookie here, a few handfuls of Chex mix there, and her old habits are back and she can't seem to make herself pick up an apple any more. She wants help getting herself into the healthy eating groove again because she's starting to feel "like a bloated, lazy whale."

First of all, you are certainly not alone! I know many of you are feeling the same way right now. No matter how good our intentions are, sometimes old habits sneak back in and like to keep us hostage: those nasty old habits, just when we thought we had them beat!

At times like this, the key is to take care of yourself from the outside in--your surroundings. Think baby-proofing. When a baby first starts to creep and crawl, parents immediately race around covering stairways with gates, using plug covers, and making sure all dangerous glass objects are out of reach for that baby. Why? Not because that baby isn't smart, but because the parents love the child and want to protect him. The baby just isn't ready to make good decisions about his actions yet.

You need to love yourself enough to acknowledge that at this point, you aren't able to make good decisions about your food choices. You aren't stupid, a failure or anything else negative. It's just that, right now, that's where you are. You need a little extra care and love.

Take a survey of your entire environment: kitchen, living room, candy dishes, purse, backpack, car, office, everything. Safety first!

Clean up time!! Get rid of the foods that are giving you trouble that are sitting around in dishes and on counters. Pack them up and hide them at the back of the cupboard, freeze, give away, throw away or dump them down the garbage disposal. Whatever works best for you. If you want a little support with this, these foods are stale now (work with me here!) The more hands that have been in these foods, the more germs lurk within---totally yuck! You already know what it tastes like, so eating more will do absolutely nothing positive for you. Out of sight they go, deal?

Bring on the Healthy Foods! Hit the grocery store. Stock up on all your "old" favorite healthy snacks--go for the colors! Make sure you have plenty on hand and readily available. When you open the refrigerator, healthy snacks should be right at eye level: carrots, low fat yogurt, apples---not that leftover pecan pie!

Set Out Your Healthy Choices. I filled a pretty glass dish with my favorite Archer Farms organic 100% fruit leathers yesterday. It was a hit! Make a beautiful fresh fruit bowl for the kitchen counter. Pop some 94% fat-free microwave popcorn when you play a game with the family.

The key here is to recognize that even if you are still at home and in the snacking mode, you can encourage yourself to reach for the "happy body" choices.When you just can't seem to find your way back to healthy eating, it's all about safe guarding your surroundings. Once your environment is supportive, you will find it so much easier to start behaving like that healthy, svelte, buff person you are striving to become!