Making significant changes to your eating habits can seem like an insurmountable task, one that many find overwhelming. Rather than trying to jump from your current eating habits to something drastically different, trying the Kaizen Approach might help make for more long-term success. Kaizen is the Japanese word for “good change”. It was originally applied to business practices with the intention of continually making small changes that lead to big improvements over time. Now the Kaizen Approach has been put into practice in many aspects of business and life – including eating. Here’s how the Kaizen Approach to eating can work:
Dumping your current diet for one that’s brand new and a complete change from what you’re used to can be too much – so why not try something simpler. Drop one unhealthy food and replace it with one healthy food. Do this for one week, and then replace something else. Within a few weeks, you’ll start to notice how you feel: healthier and happier, which will help encourage you to keep going. Not sure where to start with moving towards a plant-based diet? How about Meatless Mondays?
Keep a Treat
When you cut out everything that’s unhealthy (or what you consider hands off), eventually you’ll cave and feel guilty. Instead, build a treat into your diet plan so it’s part of your routine, rather than a departure. This could be a weekly glass of wine or dessert, or perhaps a monthly trip to your favorite restaurant. You will probably find that over time, your desire for those treats changes as your palate and lifestyle change.
If you start out with lofty goals, then odds are you’re going to find it difficult to follow your plan and feel terrible should you be unable to stick to your goals. If you start small, then you’ll find it easier to stick to the plan and keep going. For example, rather than trying to work out five days per week, start with two. If you haven’t exercised in a long while, then perhaps walking a few days a week is a good place to start.
In for the Long Term
The key to the Kaizen approach is that it isn’t a quick fix. You aren’t going to see the pounds melt away, or feel a fantastic change within a few days. What you’re doing isn’t adopting a diet, you’re completely changing your lifestyle for good. Combining a gradual change in diet with a gradual change in exercise will lead you down a path to complete and total wellness – for the rest of your life.
Before you do anything, take a good look at your current lifestyle. Keeping a food journal for a week is an excellent place to begin. At the end of seven days you can step back and take a look, is there one change you can make this week to your diet and exercise habits? That one change could put you on the path to total wellness, one step at a time.