Before Beginning a Wellness Program

Identify your goals

Examine where you are and where you need to be, and then choose a realistic goal for your initial transition. You must take into account all of your rate-limiting obstacles, such as time, money, support structure, etc. Then, figure out the steps to successfully manage these challenges…eventually you will overcome them. Just becomes it may not be realistic to overcome some of these hurdles right now does not mean you shouldn’t get started now. Your goal will be to manage and work with and around your obstacles. Example: No time to cook – your strategy could be to find one or two nights or a weekend day and make several dishes that you can refrigerate and freeze for the week, or find restaurants willing to accommodate your dietary needs and buy meals from them.

Develop a meal plan

The goal here is not just to plan out your meals for the week, but also to enable you to plan ahead. If you plan all the meals you will have for the week, you can make one big shopping list and buy all of the ingredients in one shopping trip. If you have the opportunity, you can prepare several meals at once and store them for later. The most important function of a meal plan is to make sure that you include enough rich foods, snacks, and desserts to make this a meal plan you look forward to, and keep yourself on track. Make sure to include plenty of starches and root vegetables – these are what your body thrives on and they are the foods that provide the “correct calorie” count.

Keep a food journal

I am a HUGE fan of journaling. The purpose of a food journal is to keep you mindful of what you are consuming while giving you a source to refer to if you are not progressing as quickly or as significantly as you would like. It is a lot like reading your bank statements each week, or month. In order to be successful, you must be as honest and as thorough as you can. You can also include how you were feeling before, during and after a meal, how satisfying the meal was, and whether you were satisfying a craving. Assess weekly, and use  its information it to create your meal plan for the following week!

Clean out your kitchen

This is so important because it is harder to succumb to temptation if it is not staring you in the face. So, go ahead and roll up your sleeves and dig in. Toss out all of your processed, refined, oil-laden products and replace them with healthy alternatives.

Identify quick and easy favorites

Specifically 3 or 4  meals (pasta, stir “fry”, soups), 3 or 4 snacks (pita and hummus, chips and salsa, fruit), and several sauces (peanut, cashew cheese) that you love and can easily prepare. The key is to make these dishes your go-to, which means to have the ingredients available to you at all times. Meals or snacks that need to be prepared can be made ahead of time so that you have them conveniently when you need to.

Commit to the program for one month

By commit, I mean to give it your all. Keep in mind that the larger the leap you take, the greater the benefit you will reap. For those of you interested in just getting your feet wet, consider adding fruits and vegetables while limiting or eliminating animal products, oils, and refined foods. For those of you wishing to dive in, make whole plant foods the basis of your diet and limit or eliminate all animal products, oil, and refined foods altogether. No matter what you decide, find your comfort zone and begin your journey. After one month of following the program, your success will be the factor that keeps you motivated to continue.


Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with information and scientific data, as this will become extremely overwhelming. For example, does it really matter whether you cook your broccoli or eat it raw? The bottom line is, eat the broccoli. Another example. why debate whether MSG is healthy or not when MSG is generally found in unhealthy foods. The take home message is, if you keep it simple and whole, you will avoid the MSG in the first place.

You owe it to yourself to live your life with intention, and feel your very best. Remember that slips may happen, and if they do, see them as learning opportunities. There’s no point in time that you’ve gotten so off track that you can’t get back in line. Just remember, what you eat Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will affect what you eat Friday, Saturday and Sunday…and have fun!



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