Tag Archives: cheat day

Goal Progress

Vantage Point: Progress is Progress

It’s been a month since you put your best intentions forward and made your New Year’s resolutions. You’re now a month into those goals and making them work (or not) for you. So here might be the welcomed or dreaded question (depending on how you’ve kept to your goals): How are you doing? Have you totally fallen off the wagon, or are you still moving forward? If you’ve kept up your New Year’s goals, awesome! Keep moving forward and making your way to a better and brighter 2019. You are an inspiration! We celebrate your determination and your discipline to make things happen. Shine your light by sharing your tips with others around you. But what happens if January has come and gone, and you’ve fallen off the proverbial goal horse? Are you like me, where a cheat meal turns into a cheat day, then a cheat week, then a cheat month, and then to totally giving up your New Year’s resolutions, like I have in years past? To those out there struggling like myself, I say a mighty and loud, YOU CAN DO THIS! Get up, dust yourself off, climb back on the goal horse, and ride away into the victorious sunset. Braveheart speeches aside, how does one get back on track for their goals? Well, I can only tell you how I’ve managed to get back on mine, and that is with this thought: Progress is progress, no matter how small. I try not to look at my mess-ups, but to a new day where I make progress, no matter how small. I take it one day at a time, and I try to think about my choices before I make them. Is eating this or that going to help me make progress or hinder my progress? If it hinders my progress, I’ve really got to think about if it’s worth it. To some, a cheat treat is worth it, but only if it helps push you forward and past that craving rather than drag you down into the cheat meal spiral, which I’m famously known for. Cheat treats can also be altered to make them less of a hindrance. For instance, over the holidays, I made macadamia nut brittle rather than regular peanut brittle. It had less of the bad stuff, and I still got my brittle craving taken care of. Score! Sticking with my goals has led to finally hitting my 40-pound weight loss goal, but I’ve also fallen off for months at a time. During our Annual Enrollment Period in 2018, I totally fell off the goal horse, and I put back on 15 pounds, but a New Year’s refocus has put me back to my goal. Yes, I’ve floundered here and there, but I stay focused on the small decisions I make and decide if they would push me toward progress or in the other direction. Maybe it would help for you to keep a journal of the things that push you away from progress. Take that list, and master it, one thing at a time. Pretty soon, what’s pushing you toward progress will grow, and the list of those things pushing you away from progress will grow smaller and eventually be pretty much nonexistent. I know if I can do it, you can, too! Just remember, progress is progress, no matter how small. Let’s refocus and do this!   Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.
Deciding on a Balanced Diet

Eating a Balanced Diet

Focusing on a balanced diet is one of the best ways to make healthy eating a part of your life.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The USDA sets Dietary Guidelines for Americans regularly to help guide balanced diet choices. While these guidelines can seem complicated, there are key takeaways from them you should know.

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating helps prevent and slow the onset of diseases, like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Include in a Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet, which for most people is around 2,000 calories a day, includes a variety of:

  • Vegetables, including a variety of dark green, red, and orange veggies, legumes, which include beans and peas, and starchy veggies, like corn and potatoes.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits, like apples and oranges, which are the perfect serving  size.
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grain.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy (like milk, yogurt, and cheese) or appropriate substitutes.
  • A variety of foods high in protein, like lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans,  soy-based products (like tofu), nuts and seeds.
  • Oils (like canola, olive, peanut, and soybean) or naturally occurring oils in nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.

Limit in a Balanced Diet

  • Added sugars should make up less than 10% of your daily calories, which can be hidden in processed and prepared foods, like soda, cereal, cookies, and more.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats, which should make up less than 10% of your daily calories. Foods high in these include butter, whole milk, and palm oil. Replace with unsaturated fats, like canola and olive oil whenever you can.
  • Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. Processed foods, like pizza, and canned soup and sauces can be high in this salt.

A Balanced Diet with MyPlate

MyPlate replaced the food pyramid as the guide to making sense of servings. It helps you look at your plate and strike a balance with each meal.

This chart can help you divide your own plates appropriately: MyPlate

Fruits and veggies should make up about half of your plate, with just over a quarter filled with whole grains, and protein should be under a quarter. (A few ounces of meat, a piece about the size of the palm of your hand, is a good serving size for most people.) Also work in a small serving of dairy through milk, cheese, or yogurt to round out your meal.

Making Smart Choices

Combine these guidelines with smart choices, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a balanced diet. And making these smart choices doesn’t have to be difficult. There are lots of tips and tricks that can help you make a balanced diet a part of your daily life.

Tracking Your Food

Then, you can target the number of servings you should be getting of the different food groups.

These can help you figure out calorie counts and limit sodium and sugar.

This can help you understand how balanced your diet and food servings are and set and reach food goals.

Making and Meeting Food Goals

  • Start small.

Making small changes in your eating habits can have long-term effects:

  • Switch to high fiber, low-sugar cereals.
  • Give up soda with flavored sparkling waters.
  • When you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat something.
  • Plan for all of the places you go in life:
    • Instead of eating out for lunch at work, start planning and meal-prepping ahead of time, and avoid the vending machines.
    • If you know your kids aren’t making great food choices at school, get them involved in packing lunches they’ll love ahead of time.
    • When you know you’ll spend the day at the mall, carry snacks and a water bottle, eat a healthy breakfast or snack before you head out, and skip the food court. If you just can’t avoid a meal or a snack while you’re out, find the healthiest option. Load up a sandwich with veggies, get frozen yogurt without all kinds of extra sweet toppings instead of ice cream, and choose hot tea or unsweetened iced tea instead of a frappachino.
    • Check menus for calorie counts when you’re eating out. Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, avoid fried foods, and keep in mind that alcoholic drinks can be full of calories.
    • Many communities have community gardens. Join in and help out to get moving and to grow things your whole family can enjoy in meals.

Results and Rewards

  • Don’t beat yourself up when you have missteps.

Everyone struggles with giving up the foods full of sugar and salt that they love, so it’s important to stay positive and get back on track.

  • Plan your cheat day.

Many people have found that planning a weekly cheat day can help them stay on course knowing they can treat themselves later. And once you get used to a balanced diet, you’ll find that you’ll cheat in smaller and smaller ways, even on the day you’re allowed to.

  • Find healthy ways to treat yourself.

For example, do you love watermelon or raspberries? Splurge on the healthy treats you love. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate each day or a glass of red wine each week. Another option, reward meeting your goals with a treat that isn’t food-related, like a new outfit, book, or manicure.

Up Next:

Now that you know the value of a balanced diet, learn to prepare before you go grocery shopping and shop smart to meet your goals.

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