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BOOK GIVEAWAY - The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating by Lynn Johnston

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Lynn Johnston blogs about how to take control of your life 10 minutes at a time using the kaizen approach:

Each week, readers of her blog receive a small, simple step they can use to improve some area of their lives.

She's the author of The Kaizen Plan for Decluttering Your Computer and The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating.

Lynn lives in central Texas with her husband. Her hobbies including reading, writing speculative fiction, and cheering on the anoles in her backyard vegetable garden.

Email: kaizenlynn AT gmail DOT com


We all know how important it is to eat healthy foods, but knowing and doing are not the same thing. Our eating habits are established when we're too young to make good choices ourselves, so we learn to eat what our parents eat. As we grow up, our food choices are influenced by those around us and we might try new dishes here and there, but chances are the patterns are already set by the time we're teens. By the time we're old enough to think rationally about what we should eat and why, we've been in the habit of eating the same types of foods for maybe a decade and a half. And the longer you've been stuck with a habit, the harder it is to break.

The good news is there's a way to make it easier to break those habits. We humans are wired to resist big changes because the risk of losing what we've got right now is high with a big change. But we've also evolved to adapt to small changes almost without noticing, because if we couldn't handle the little day-to-day changes life inevitably throws at us, we would never have survived as a species.

The Kaizen Plan for Healthy Eating takes advantage of your natural ability to adapt to microchanges with minimal effort. Other books will tell you to throw away all your junk food and replace it with foods you may not like yet and might not know how to prepare to your own tastes. The cold turkey approach fails because it triggers the automatic resistance that kicks in whenever someone tries to force us to do something (even if that someone is ourselves!).

I say, leave the junk food there for now. Let me introduce you to some small changes—so small you'll barely feel like you're changing anything. Over time, you'll find yourself eating less junk food naturally, because you'll have gradually trained your taste buds to enjoy healthier meals. You'll start to crave the good stuff because you'll have discovered it makes you feel better and you have found ways to prepare it so you like how it tastes.

In this book, I've broken down the elements of a healthy diet and identified one or more small changes that address each element. You're probably already doing some of the things suggested here. If so, good for you! Please choose the small steps that complement what you're already doing right.

This is not a weight loss plan, although if you implement the changes suggested in this book, you may find yourself dropping excess pounds. If your goal is to lose weight, the changes you make as you work through this book will make it easier for you to adapt to a reasonable weight loss plan later, and will build up your body so it can adapt more quickly to exercise.

This approach is not a quick fix. If you make one small change a week, you could easily spend an entire year improving the quality of your diet. But because those changes happen gradually and relatively painlessly, they'll stick with you.

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning "continuous improvement" and it's used in the business world to describe the approach of accomplishing things by making a series of small, simple changes that result in gradual improvement. It's the approach Japanese businesses took after World War II to remake their manufacturing industry and turn companies like Honda and Toyota into the world-renowned corporations they are today.

But the kaizen approach isn't limited to business. It can be applied to any goal or project that can be broken down into smaller steps. The biggest benefit of the kaizen approach is that it eliminates overwhelm. All you have to do is focus on one small step at a time.

What is a Kaizen Plan?

A Kaizen Plan is simply a set of small but doable steps taken one at a time. Each step addresses some aspect of the problem you want to solve or the goal you want to achieve.

The effect of a Kaizen Plan is cumulative. Each small step you take synergizes with the others, so life gets better faster than you’d expect.

Each step in a Kaizen Plan has to fit several criteria:

- Simple. A plan consisting of complicated, difficult steps is a plan that never gets executed.

- Short. A change that requires you to set aside a large block of time is a change that doesn't get made. But a change that you can do in a few minutes is much easier to squeeze into your busy schedule. Most of the changes I've suggested can be done in just a few minutes per day.

- Personalized. The most effective small steps are the ones that directly address your needs. Always feel free to modify any of the suggestions in this book so they work for you, or use them as inspiration for coming up with specific changes that meet your needs.

- Affirming. You shouldn't have to change your personality to change your habits. The goal isn't to become a different person, it's to become a healthier version of who you already are.

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