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A new year is a popular time to resolve to eat better, and we all know that better nutrition leads to better health.   We also know that making better food choices isn’t always that easy.

Good nutrition is the foundation for good health, and is the best way to strengthen our powerful  immune system, in addition to regular exercise, proper rest and good mind management.

Say good-bye to Twinkies and hello to broccoli  

Our motivation for improving eating habits can range from wanting to increase our energy level; to avoiding the nagging self-recrimination that tends to follow a Twinkie binge (can’t say I’m sorry that Twinkies are leaving the food pyramid); to improving our overall health; or, because a health practitioner has advised us to do so.

egardless of the reason, making new eating choices is a matter of reconditioning ourselves and developing new habits.  Give it time and be realistic.

Healthier nutrition doesn’t have to mean we‘re giving up life's pleasures or eating foods that make us say, "yuck!"  

Making better nutrition choices will also enhance our self-respect , which is a win-win for the mind-body connection.  

From a holistic perspective, this means that eating better will help us feel better physically, and when our body feels good we feel good about ourselves, which will improve our overall sense of well-being in life.

We really are what we eat  

Step one in any new program is to establish the goal; set the intention.   Goals give us direction, focus and fortitude when temptations arise.

Picture yourself enjoying nutritious foods.  Visualization is an exercise that professional athletes, public speakers and others use to create success in their lives.

Seeing yourself eating healthier foods will enhance your success in improving your eating habits.  

Eat more, not less!  

The idea of adding food to our diet is much easier to swallow than the idea of taking away the foods we crave.    

The best way to begin to change eating habits is by adding to the food routine we already have:

1) Add one to three servings of fresh vegetables to your daily meals.

2) Add one fresh fruit to your meals, especially at breakfast and for desserts.

3) Eat a handful of raw almonds or other nuts everyday; make sure your high protein foods, such as fish and meat are of good quality, organically farmed products.  

4) At every meal, add a serving of vegetables - yes, even at breakfast!  Tomatoes, potatoes, green or red peppers are excellent breakfast veggies.

It's always easier to integrate new habits and routines by adding the new to the current routine.  Let old eating reflexes dissolve as your body begins to crave the healthier selections.  

As our new appetite evolves, our taste buds will adjust, and we will stop craving all that stuff with salt, sugar, fat, and preservatives - our desire for them will literally just fall away on its own when we no longer provide the environment for it to thrive.

Believe it or not, we really can get to the point where we actually crave broccoli!

Listen, don't count calories  

Counting calories boggles and clogs the mind and just gives us one more thing to figure out how to manage each day.  Do you really want to count calories for the rest of your life?  Instead, we need to cultivate the habit of listening to our body.

Listen to how your body feels after a healthy, well-balanced meal.   At the end of a day of good eating choices, review the day:  Was your mood calmer? Was your energy level stronger and steadier?  How do you feel about yourself after a day of healthy food choices?

Also, notice how the other, less than healthy food choices (foods high in processed sugar, salt, processing agents, and fat) cause your energy to race, peak and plummet, or make your afternoons almost grueling to get through each day.  

After a few weeks of healthier, more nutritional food choices, you will see a positive difference in how you feel in your body, and this reinforces the new changes.

Oxygen is free fuel and everybody loves free fuel!  

Nutritious foods provide the body with vitamins, minerals and all the building blocks it needs, namely, oxygen.

Enjoy the increased energy level of better eating and improve your health even more by enhancing or beginning an exercise routine.  

It doesn't matter what you do, it only matters that you move!  

As a professional body worker, my hands are on a lot of bodies, and the bodies that are the healthiest are the ones that get regular exercise of some kind.

We don’t need a gym membership in order to exercise.  Walk, dance, stretch, wiggle, swim, play with your dog...anything...just move!

If climate or other circumstances preclude you from being able to walk, simulate it:  lie on your bed, and raising opposite arm to opposite leg at the same time, simulate the walking motion.  

Always check with your health care practitioner before beginning any exercise routine.  

A regular exercise routine is the single most beneficial practice we can do for good health, and combined with proper nutrition they are the cornerstone of great health.  

After a few weeks of improved eating habits and better exercise routines, you'll feel better, look better and manage the activities of your life with greater flexibility, energy and ease.  

Trust the process and be prepared for setbacks  

Change takes time.  

During the first few days of a new eating routine, be prepared for your body to purge the material that's still inside from your old eating choices.  It's a form of detoxification and you may not feel so good at first.  Trust the process and continue with your better eating choices.  You'll feel better after the initial hurdle which shouldn't last more than a week.  Drink lots of water the first week to flush your system.  

Be prepared for setbacks and don’t make too much of them.  In other words, eat the cookie or ice cream in peace and choose differently next time.  Life’s too short and cookies are too sweet to pass by every time.

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