What is preventing you from developing good eating habits? 8 things you can do to change that.
Last week we've explored some reasons why, often times, it is easier to stick to exercising than to eating well. If you have missed the article, make sure to check it out here.
Today I want to focus on some of the reasons why we can't always seem to stick to good eating habits, and provide you with tips on how to change that.
So, what is preventing people from developing good eating habits for life?
Let's be honest, most of us want to improve eating habits because of health or aesthetics reasons, not because we really really want to eat better. And once we start to incorporate some changes, we want the results to happen RIGHT NOW!!! If things didn't go as planned and as quickly as we had hoped, we often throw in the towel and stop trying.
2. Lack of stress management.
Stress is by far a number one factor, in my experience, on why people over-eat and over-drink. Food is comforting, stress-relieving and is always there whenever we need it. Not having alternative ways to relieve stress can be a great hinderance in a weight loss journey.
3. Not having family & friends on board and/or having junk in the house.
It's very hard to follow a healthy diet (especially initially) when everybody else around you eats junk. Or when you are surrounded by non-nutritious foods brought to the house by family members, or unhealthy things that you buy for them. Sooner or later somebody is going to eat it, and chances are it's going to be you. Even if you reach your health goals yet remain surrounded by temptations, you risk a relapse.
Most people think eating healthy means meal-prepping chicken and broccoli on Sunday for the rest of their lives, or that healthy eating is boring and just simply not fun. Filling your diet with nutritious foods does require some planning but it's not as time consuming and boring as most people think.
5. Not giving it enough time to work.
Kind of goes with point 1. but I still feel like it needs to be said again.
As you get older, the results are slower, especially when it comes to weight loss. The fact that you don't see the difference, doesn't mean it's not happening.
6. Cutting corners.
Buying pre-packaged foods labelled as organic, cholesterol-free, all-natural, fat-free, sugar-free (you name it) under the assumption that they are healthy. Anything with a barcode should be put under scrutiny. Remember food manufacturers are there to make money, not to make you healthy.
No doubt eating healthy, especially when out, is going to be more expensive. A small side salad costs as much as an order of chicken wings or nachos. Not to mention lean cuts of meat or fish. But health is worth every penny and you should see it as an investment not a worthless purchase.
What are the things you can start doing today to help yourself stick to eating better for life?
1. Get rid of the junk in your house.
I really can't stress how important this point is. Just throw it out.
If you are worried that people in your house will notice, make a pledge that you will throw 1 junk food item a week and have them get ready for it. Schedule this task in your calendar. That's a start.
2. Start with small changes and be patient.
Today, think about adding one simple habit that could help you with reaching your goals. Pick a habit that is almost too easy to stick to so that you cannot fail. One of my clients' favorite habits is to add a tall glass of water upon waking or use a small plate when eating dinner.
3. Stop eating fast food.
Make a hard rule of not consuming any liquid or solid calories from places like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Planet Pizza, Burger King, etc. Foods and drinks sold in those places are designed to make you crave sugar, fat and salt over and over again. They are in business of creating cravings that drive people crazy.
4. Re-frame your situation.
Whatever the situation you may be in right now (body composition wise), you can either chose to make it more or less miserable for yourself. Your mindset greatly influences whether your attempts at getting healthy are successful. If you tell yourself that you have no willpower over your choices, then most likely you will grab whatever there is in sight next time you are hungry.
If you need help with finding ways to re-gain control over your emotions, check out this article.
5. Add vegetables (and fruit) to your diet.
Start with adding one serving of fibrous vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach to your diet. Then you can try and replace a processed sugar snack (e.g. granola bars) with fresh fruit. Your gut, your heart and your waistline will thank you.
6. Manage your stress levels.
Work on finding pleasurable yet non-food related ways to de-stress. Exercising, petting your dog, reading, listening to music, meditating, yoga, spending time in nature are some of the best ways to relax. Give it a try - again, schedule it in your calendar. Put time aside for things that can make your life so much better.
This is a simple yet very powerful exercise. Close your eyes and visualize the kind of person you want to become.
How does this person look and feel?
How does this person behave?
What does this person eat and drink?
It's important to realize that if we want to become a certain kind of person (healthy, fit) we need to start acting like one.
8. Make a list of advantages of getting healthy.
This is an exercise I often use in my practice. I ask my clients to write down two lists:
1) Advantages of reaching their goals (whatever they may be).
2) Disadvantages of NOT reaching their goals.
It's very important to recognize what are the actual things that will improve once you reach your goals, and what are the actual things that will get worse if you don't.
One mistake that people make is thinking that things will remain the same if they keep on eating/drinking the way they do. But that's simply not true. Realizing that could be very powerful.
Do you need help with your eating or drinking habits?
Are you struggling to find the right balance or motivation to do it?
Send me an e-mail and let's meet to talk about it.