by Kindal Boyle
Why is eating healthy so hard?
Oh yea… labels, fads, and temptations make it hard!
If you’re trying to eat healthier, then this is the blog post for you. Let’s cut through the BS of nutrition and figure out what’s holding you back from getting results from your diet.
Before we start, realize that you’re not alone.
When it comes to losing weight, diet is the hardest part.
It’s easy to fit in an hour or so of exercise into your schedule a couple of days a week. It’s hard to break habits you’ve had for decades, especially when food is around most hours of the day.
And because we need food to survive, it’s not as if you can just quit cold turkey to break bad habits. What’s even worst is that exercise isn’t enough. You can’t workout 5 times a week but eat crappy and expect your body to change.
But that’s okay because I’m going to break down what you can do starting today to tweak your nutrition and see results.
“I’m going to eat whatever I want tonight because starting tomorrow, I’m giving up sugar, grains, wheat, dairy, and red meat. I plan on just surviving off chicken and broccoli for every meal!”
This is an exaggeration, but I think we’ve all said some version of this before. I know I have!
And I know you know what happens...
It’s short lived.
It's nearly impossible... you’re miserable after a few days and before you know it, an empty bag of chips/cookies/popcorn/etc is in your lap and you're licking crumbs off your fingers while simultaneously shoveling chocolate chips in. Sweet and salty. AHHHH.
Doing too much too soon leads to cravings, binging and feeling like a failure. You start to wonder if you can ever change and why are you so weak when it comes to food?
You’re not, you’re just expecting too much change. Start small.
Spend a month just packing lunches. Or a month giving up soda. Or a month cutting alcohol in half. Then when that month is over, add another change.
Overtime the changes will add up and you’ll build a new diet for yourself without the OCD attitude of overnight complete hauls.
It starts with a bite of cookie and ends with the entire batch gone in the blink of an eye.
You immediately feel food guilty and wonder why you can’t have better self control. When this happened to me in the past, I would make the decision to give up on “eat healthy project” or if I didn't give up all together, I'd think, "well, I already messed up for the day... I'll go ham the rest of the day and get back on track tomorrow."
After all, I've messed up. Why even try?!
Because one mess up isn’t the end of the world.
There is no way to be 100% perfect with nutrition.
Food is good. Cookies are meant to be enjoyed and one over indulgence won’t kill you.
An important message I tell my Plan Smart Eat Clean ladies is this, “Does eating one salad make you thin? NO. And one bad meal won’t make you fluffy.”
If you find yourself going off track, take a deep breath and get back on track. Don’t throw in the towel or go on a binge thinking you’ll start over Monday. Get over what you ate (the past is in the past) and control what you eat in the present.
I know this sounds crazy:
If women are eating too FEW calories, then why are so many struggling with weight?
Because they’re eating too few.
Eating too little is just as bad as eating too much.
When you eat too few calories, the body works really hard to adjust. You’ll lose weight initially but quickly your body will find a way to make that caloric intake your new “set point metabolism”. That means to lose more weight, you have to eat even less.
For this metabolic reset, the body rids itself of things it doesn’t need… and that doesn’t include body fat. It includes lean muscle. Which is very metabolically active.
The less muscle, the less calories you need.
Thanks to apps like My Fitness Pal, where 1200 calories is set as the weight loss norm, women are lead to think this is a healthy number. It’s not! If you find yourself eating 1200 calories or less, it’s time for a re-feed program.
Most women should (I say should because age, weight, health and activity levels play a part) should consume 1600 calories or more EVEN FOR WEIGHT LOSS!
How do you know? Track. Use an app (like My Fitness Pal) to see where you are. If you’re too low, add 100-300 calories in for 2-4 weeks and see what happens!
Quick story… On my dad’s first trip to Whole Foods, he came home with all sorts of things. Cake, cookies, ice cream, etc. When I asked what he was doing, he responded with, “it’s from Whole Foods… it’s healthy!”
Sugar that is organic is still sugar. Just because something says it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, or fat-free, doesn’t make it healthy.
This is why it’s critical to look beyond the front of the package.
Flip it over and check out the ingredients. Avoid foods with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, etc. If you can’t pronounce something… probably means you shouldn’t eat it.
Look for foods that are all natural and made of REAL foods.
This is the #1 mistake I see:
Mindless snacking adds up fast! At 3:00 pm do you find yourself in the candy drawer? While making dinner, are you nibbling on a few chips? After dinner, do you need one more little sweet treat?
A snack isn’t bad but when you become unaware of your snacking habits, it can be.
Here’s what I suggest… track your food (yup,back to tracking)! Spend a week or so tracking everything you eat and if you can, what time.
Snacking can quickly add up to an extra 500 to even 1000 calories without even realizing it. If the temptation is too strong, toss out candy, stock your kitchen with healthy alternatives, and continue to track. When you know you have to log what you eat, it helps accountability and might just make it easier to say no!
This list can go on and on, and I do go on and on in my Nutrition Coaching Group. But these are the 5 places I’d recommend starting to look at with your food.