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The One Next Thing

by Nancy Mehlert, MS
Edited by Mila McManus MD

Taking specific single steps toward changing eating habits.

One of the best New Year’s Resolutions I’ve ever made to myself was to quit trying to change everything about my diet all at once.  I was miserably failing at it.  Instead I decided to start taking small, single steps at a time.  I also emotionally accepted this lifestyle would take years to cultivate, and settled into the idea that it is a long journey and would be well worth it.  I began to liken it to getting a college degree.

Week by week working through one class.  Class by class, working through a semester, then a year, then two and so on.

I continue to stay on the journey by focusing on The One Next Thing.   My target every day is to choose clean, nourishing foods 85-95% of the time, and indulging infrequently; only 15-5% of the time.  I look forward and identify opportunities both to indulge as well as conscious decisions not to.  If I choose to do so, I also choose not to feel guilty about it.

The outcome of improved health, reduced body pain, better mental focus, stabilized weight, and increased energy, provides the mental, emotional and physical stamina to live out the challenges and joys of life with family, co-workers and friends.  Having good health has allowed me to redirect my mind away from irritating health problems and towards other things.

Give it a try this year.  Here are examples of how this happened for me as I focused on The One Next Thing

  • One New Year, I simply determined that I would never go to a fast food burger joint ever again. I haven’t. Instead, I developed the habit of finding better quick places to stop for food, including grocery stores, and I also practiced and learned to prepare ahead so that I would not get caught away from home, hungry.
  • Five years ago, I determined that Hellman’s Mayonnaise had too many terrible ingredients. While I was raised on Hellman’s, and it carried with it family tradition and memories, I made myself try other mayonnaises with healthier oils and ingredients. I found one just like Hellman’s that I love!  It’s so good, I wondered why I had not made this simple change sooner.
  • Over the last 5 years, I have added hemp seed, kale, cooked spinach, winter squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Brazil nuts to my diet. Initially, these foods were questionable in their appeal, but now, they are some of my favorites.  I did this by choosing 1 food to focus on, putting it on my “to do” list (Yes! I wrote down “Learn to like cooked spinach this week”) and added it to my grocery list, practicing until I found a way to prepare it, include it and like it. It took me about 90 days to accomplish one food.   7 new foods, 5 years. Seriously, you can do this too!
  • Last year, I resolved to remove as much food storage plastics as I could. I have practiced not buying bottled water, found containers for my tea and water that I can carry with me, and converted my lunch box and food storage containers to stainless steel and glass.  As a result, I have reduced the toxic load on my body.
  • Finally, I’ve always been a Starbucks junky. For years, I have gone to Starbucks at least once a day and often twice.  Ten years ago, I gave up my beloved Mocha Frappuccino’s and Hot Mochas in exchange for hot or cold tea.  That took some adjustment.  Learning that tea and coffee are very high-in-pesticides plants, I knew this daily cup or two of joy was toxic. In truth, most of my addiction was the feel of the double paper cups and the warmth emanating from them, much more than the tea inside!  This year, I searched for tea containers that offered the same manual comfort and warmth (I know this sounds like a personal problem, right?) and found organic teas, at the grocery store and online, that are satisfying and affordable.  My Starbucks addiction has finally ended.

My New Year’s wish for you is that this time next year, you will reflect upon 2018 and be pleased by your accomplishments toward a healthier nutrition lifestyle.  Remember, you have a resource for nutrition encouragement, accountability and direction readily available, me. It would be my honor to serve you in the New Year as you journey ahead on the road to greater health.  What’s your One Next Thing?






By |2018-01-06T14:02:17-05:00January 5th, 2018|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|