By Olivia Bubri, MS, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Good Measure Meals™
This is the million dollar question, right? How do we build sustainable eating habits that carry us through the year, and our lives, instead of coming to an abrupt halt mid-February when our “willpower” wanes? (Side note: try to forget about tying willpower and morality to food. Being “good” or “bad” has nothing to do with food choices.)
Before touching on nutrition, it’s vital to build a strong foundation for success. Have you ever felt yourself so exhausted that your cravings felt like they were taking over? Or felt a little less like yourself when you haven’t spent quality time with the people you love? Your foundation includes, but is not limited to, adequate sleep, movement that feels good, and participating in activities you enjoy. We’re often quick to focus on our diet without thinking about these other foundational qualities that contribute to our habits. Instead of blaming ourselves for not making the best food choices, let’s examine what larger factors are at play in setting us up for creating well-being in the long-term.
Once you’ve assessed the bigger picture, recognize that each person’s “healthy” may look different from the next person’s. What is your healthy? Is it catching up with your best friend on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail? Is it having Sunday dinner with your family once a week? Or is it practicing free outdoor yoga at Adair Park? It could even be a combination of all of these things.
Olivia Bubri on the Eastside Trail
If 2018 is the year that you are going to find your healthy, I challenge you to take stock of your current lifestyle and habits. Which areas do you want to improve – and why? Acknowledging your why for each goal can make the journey feel less daunting and keep you on track when challenges arise. Start small, such as eating one extra serving of veggies each day, walking for one mile on the closest BeltLine trail, or getting a work out in at the nearest BeltLine park. Once that becomes a habit, add in another small goal. We’re all starting at different points, so being realistic with yourself is a key component of successful goal setting. And don’t forget to check in with your foundation, which forms the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.
While there is no magic bullet to being “healthy” 365 days a year, there is such a thing as a balanced lifestyle, which includes a balanced eating pattern – enjoying foods that are both nourishing and satisfying. Being okay with the ebb and flow that make up this balance shifts us away from black and white thinking, toward a more level area of self-care, where we prioritize what we actually need in the moment versus what we think we should do or should need. Building these sustainable nutrition habits starts with small changes in our everyday routine that eventually leads to a big impact on our lives – as long as we give ourselves the tools we need to make these changes.
Good Measure Meals™ (GMM) is Atlanta’s local kitchen on a mission and a supporter of Atlanta BeltLine Partnership programming. Together with non-profit Open Hand Atlanta, GMM empowers people to make a lasting difference, both in their health and in their community. Pairing the convenience of fresh-delivered and nutritionally balanced meal plans with personalized support, GMM helps customers reach their health goals, no matter how big or small. The best part of all? Every two Good Measure Meals™ provides one meal for a neighbor in need through Open Hand Atlanta.
Olivia Bubri, MS, RDN, LD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who joined Good Measure Meals in 2017. She provides nutrition education to a variety of audiences, and also works with individuals one-on-one to develop sustainable and balanced eating patterns that fit their lifestyle.