With the new year's arrival, many of us are expectedly contemplating ways in which to better ourselves for next 12 months. That's good. But while ambition for betterment is undoubtedly the place to start, it's essential that we don't overwhelm ourselves with change. For shifts in behavior to stick – ultimately morphing into habits – a progressive, thoughtful approach will certainly yield the greatest long-term outcome.
I'm pleased to say, however, that changes don't have to be major to deliver meaningful results. In fact, several small, seemingly unimportant shifts can actually lead to lasting life-improving gains.
Coming at it in the same fashion I would approach athletic training, dietary shifts are best done in small increments, which compile to produce significant results. Here are six small shifts I recommend.
Think of adding, not subtracting.
I find it a better approach to focus mental energy on foods that you'd like to add to your diet (hemp, chia, buckwheat, amaranth, kale, smoothies, etc,) than to think about foods you'd like to reduce your consumption of (refined carbohydrate, dairy, fast food, etc). Once I started including more of the good foods, I found I no longer had room in my stomach for the not-so-good ones. This made it easy to cut back. Before I knew it, my palate began to shift and I actually craved the good stuff and had no desire to eat the bad. Of course, from this point, everything got easier.
Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two- time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA, and the best-selling author of the Thrive book series. He is also the developer of the acclaimed ZoN Thrive Fitness program and the creator of Thrive Foods Direct national meal delivery service. He also just launched 'Thrive Forward,' an online video series on wellness.
Recognized as the world's foremost authorities on plant-based performance nutrition, Brendan works with NFL, MLB, NHL, UFC, PGA, Tour De France, and Olympic athletes and is a guest lecturer at Cornell University, where he presents an eCornell module entitled "The Plant-Based Diet and Elite Athleticism."
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