Want to get fit and stay that way? Of course you do. If you’re working out regularly, congratulations, you’re halfway there because being active is merely 50% (if that) of what’s necessary to get and remain in good health.
The other half? Eating correctly. But of course you knew that, didn’t you? Everyone knows that. So how is it that nobody does it? Because it’s hard. Really hard.
One of the keys to eating properly is making your own meals. I’m not talking about tossing together the latest high-sodium Hamburger Helper concoction, I’m talking about an actual, honest-to-goodness home-cooked meal.
Preparing your very own meals may be a obstacle, particularly when so many of us don’t need to know how to cook in today’s world of prepared, instant, ready-to-eat, frozen Frankenstein foodstuff. The good news is that with a bit of willpower and some hard work you can make cooking your own food a habit, one which will benefit your well being – and your appearance – all through your daily life.
The key to creating a habit is to start small. Instead of assuring yourself that next week you’ll prepare all of your own meals, start by committing to preparing one meal each week for a month.
Why begin small? It’s much easier to commit and follow through on little things, and the minor steady wins you accomplish by following through on the small stuff will give you the confidence to commit to more substantial stuff.
This is the way habits are developed.
So begin today. Sit down together with your calendar or phone and decide which day next week you’re going to cook one meal. For consistency’s sake keep the same day and meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for the next month. Give yourself a few minutes to decide what you would like to have for that meal, research a recipe, and put together a shopping list.
If needed, schedule 10-15 minutes to research the cooking techniques you’ll need, such as stir-frying, poaching, grilling, etc. Once all of the above is complete you’ll be set up for success and able to make your meal.
Repeat for the next four weeks. Once you’ve successfully prepared your single meal for one month, allow yourself a pat on the back and raise the number of meals to two for an additional four weeks.
Following that, scale up until you’re making all or the majority of your own meals. These minor accomplishments will give you the momentum you need to establish a healthy habit.