Have your healthy eating habits gotten a bit sloppy?

Ever been in a groove of healthy eating habits when suddenly you look up and you’re veering off track?

A snack-size Snickers here, a couple of Red Vines there. A bit more wine won’t hurt. 

Maybe you’ve gained back a few pounds. Or halted your progress. 

And if this happens you may tell yourself that you deserve a treat now and then. 

Or that sticking to your plan is boring. That life is meant to be lived and not have to worry about eating healthy all the time.

WARNING! This is self-sabotage in action!

It starts out innocent sounding. Very believable. Because it’s partly true: you deserve a treat and shouldn’t have to be bored with, or worry about, what you eat all the time.

But these partial truths cover up the lie:

  • A treat does NOT mean eating or drinking in excess, or mindlessly snacking on foods you really don’t want or need.
  • Making choices based on the health and body you want is NOT boring.  
  • Worrying about food is NOT the same thing as being intentional with healthy eating habits.

These insidious lies take hold and if you don’t catch them, soon you’re back to old habits. Your weight gained back. And beating the crap out of yourself. 

All because you believed the lie.

healthy eating habits
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

So if you notice your healthy eating habits slipping, pay attention. Why are you making different choices than when you were on plan and making progress? How will you recommit and refocus? What will you learn from this experience to prevent it – or catch it earlier – next time?

Here are some ways to keep yourself on track: 

  • Remind yourself of the outcome you want from eating healthfully, and why it really matters. 
  • Focus on all the great foods you “get” to eat
  • Count every single healthy choice as a win. 
  • Don’t believe the lies.
  • Hire a coach.

To be a healthy hottie requires vigilance. Just like anything of importance. 

And, you’re worth it.

We’re not supposed to call them “bad foods”

If you equate eating bad foods with being “bad,” that’s a problem. Whether or not you eat certain foods has no bearing on you as a moral person. 

But let’s be honest. There are foods that are bad for us!

Why can we call cigarettes bad without thinking someone who smokes is bad, but we can’t do the same with things like ultra-processed foods?

It’s not that one Oreo or one hotdog causes diabetes or heart disease. Just like one cigarette doesn’t lead to lung cancer or emphysema. 

It’s that a steady stream of eating bad foods is wreaking havoc on our health. (Calley Means contends that “11 out of the 12 leading killers of Americans are caused by or worsened by processed food.”) And when we’re told not to demonize foods because it’s the same as demonizing ourselves, we let the bad foods off the hook!

And we say things like, “all foods in moderation.” 

Is anyone promoting cigarettes in moderation?

eating bad foods

Now, whether you use terms like good/bad or healthy/unhealthy to describe foods isn’t important. 

What is important is to decide which foods nourish your body and bring about the health, strength and energy you want. And that you make decisions about food that are deserving of you as a healthy hottie. 

I recommend (just like I do with my clients) that you adopt food standards that you’ll follow, no matter what. And when you go off plan, you do the mindset work to figure out how to get back on plan. Remember that eating bad foods doesn’t mean anything about you. If you struggle with that or you notice a moral tinge to the way you talk about your food decisions, look into coaching with me. It’s the best way I know to achieve the results you want and to feel better faster.

Do healthy eating habits make you feel like you’re ‘missing out’?

Growing up, I didn’t have a concept of healthy eating habits beyond the obligatory vegetable on my dinner plate. Like any child, I wished broccoli would taste like chocolate brownies. Then as I got older, I wished brownies were just 45 calories and contained the cancer-fighting properties of the cruciferous broccoli. 

Even up to a few years ago, healthy eating had a whiff of deprivation for me. But that changed when I started to look at all the foods I “get” to eat. Have you ever had those little orange tomatoes fresh from the farmers market? If I’d had those as a kid I may never have “needed” so much chocolate.

Of course you can think about all the energy you’ll have, and how great that pair of jeans will fit if you can just stick with your healthy eating habits. Creating a clear picture of how fit and strong you’re becoming, imagining yourself looking and feeling fantastic, is great motivation. 

But there’s that part of our brain that likes instant satisfaction, and thinking about those results can feel too vague and certainly not “instant.” So thinking about all of the delicious healthy foods we get to eat provides that spark of immediate enjoyment.

And I learned not to expect a sweet, juicy strawberry to give me the same feel-good dopamine spike as mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s a different level of satisfaction. Like the difference between marriage and that initial dating phase.

Staying on track with healthy eating habits requires balancing brain chatter and temptation with your desire for losing weight, and this is one strategy that really helps me and my clients. When you not only focus on the healthy foods that you really like, but make sure to have them readily available and incorporate them regularly into your daily fare, you will feel more satisfied. And the more satisfied you feel, the less you feel deprived.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt like I was missing out.

Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

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