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Filed in Kim's Corner — September 12, 2016

It is the new year – the time we all feel the enthusiasm of a fresh start. Most of us have renewed energy to lose weight; unfortunately, for many of us the energy and enthusiasm fades within a few months.

To quote the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” So too, a weight-loss goal, no matter the size, begins with a series of small steps in the direction of a healthier lifestyle. This article, along with future articles in 2012, will focus on the steps we can take and changes we can make that will lead us to a lean, healthy body. Instead of focusing on the 30 pounds you want to lose, focus instead on the steps needed to support a healthier way of life. Each small step in the direction of healthier eating will empower you to meet your weight-loss goal, resulting in a body that is lean, a mind that is strong and the energy needed to complete your daily activities.

Whether we’re focused on our body or our homes, everyone loves a makeover! There is something exciting about change and improvement. This kitchen makeover is not about new cabinets and granite countertops. It’s about improving the functionality of our kitchens to support our weight-loss goals and fuel our bodies to be the best they can be!

Out with the bad

Getting a new look starts with taking a good look at the food in your kitchen. Read each label, and determine which food items support your move toward healthy eating. Most of us will find we have food in our kitchen that supports our commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Let this serve as a reminder that you’re already taking steps in the right direction!

As you conduct your inventory, you’ll likely discover a number of food items that have little or no nutritional value. So long as these items remain in your kitchen, either you or someone you love will probably eat them. Of course, eating food with little or no nutritional value moves you no closer to your nutritional goals. Go through your pantry, your cabinets, your fridge and your freezer and rid yourself of the foods that have no real nutritional value. Remember: it’s better to dispose of junk than to eat it.

Smarter shopping

Now that you’ve inventoried your kitchen to ensure the food you have there supports your move toward a healthier lifestyle, be sure your next trip to the grocery store supports that goal, too. Remember, old habits die hard. Set yourself up for success in the grocery store by creating a grocery list and sticking to it. Your list should include only foods and drinks that coincide with your nutritional goals. Ask yourself, “If the food isn’t good for me and my family, why buy it in the first place?” If you feel like you can’t refrain from the cookie aisle, consider calling your order in ahead of time or ordering your groceries online. Our local grocery stores provide this service for a nominal fee; this will save you time, can save you money, and help you avoid impulsive purchases. Ridding your kitchen of unhealthy food choices and keeping them out by shopping wisely are important steps toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Smarter choices

Replace the foods that aren’t helping you reach your goals with foods that do. A good strategy is to write down the typical junk foods you have on a regular basis, and next to each one, select a nutritional replacement. Plan ahead for these substitutions; it’s important that it be something you like and can live with. Making food choices that are more beneficial can sometimes require help. You may need to do a little research or seek the help of a professional.

Beyond food

Make your kitchen a fun place to be! There are several simple steps you can take to “build” a kitchen that you’ll enjoy. Among my favorites:

Turn on some music! Listening to music while preparing meals and as the background when eating serves to enhance the whole dining experience.
Watch TV. Get one for your kitchen, and enjoy your favorite shows while preparing meals for yourself and your family.
Have the right equipment. Make sure you have the basic kitchen tools to help you prepare healthy snacks and meals.
Keep your kitchen clean and de-cluttered. Create an environment where you feel good and you’re much more likely to make better food choices.

Healthy eaters have healthy homes. People who truly want to improve their lifestyle ensure that their environment supports these goals. Changing your surroundings through these simple kitchen makeover steps is one of the best ways to start your health and fitness journey.

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