Top 6 Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating habits to practice now and after the Coronavirus.
Eating healthy might seem like a difficult thing, but I promise you, it’s really not. We tend to overcomplicate it, focusing on macros, overanalyzing, and labeling foods as good or bad. We also tend to focus only on food, but real success with healthy eating has a lot to do with mindset and your environment. Here are my top 6 healthy eating habits.
You’ve heard the saying: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. I think this is so true when it comes to healthy eating. We THINK that because we want something badly (i.e. to lose weight or to feel healthier) that we’re just going to make good decisions all day long. But that doesn’t happen by magic, and we all know that willpower is FINITE. We need to stack the deck in favor of making good decisions, and that all begins with planning.
I highly recommend beginning your week with a simple meal plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to follow it 100% every week (life happens) but if you have a foundation (and a PLAN) you are far more likely to be successful.
Start Slow. Add On.
Don’t try to change everything all at once. Instead, choose small do-able new habits, incorporate them into your life, and then add in others. When we try to change too much too fast, we are far more likely to resort back to our old habits. Start with something you have the least resistance to.
A lot of people do well with the concept of adding or swapping something, rather than simply taking away. Consider that when you start thinking about some of the things you want to work on changing. You could start by ADDING an extra serving of vegetables to your lunch and dinner, swapping one of your packaged snacks for fruit, replacing whole-grain toast for white, or perhaps not eating after dinner.
Lose the Perfectionist “All or Nothing” Thinking
Especially when it comes to nutrition, people often have this notion that they have to be perfect. Then, when a minor misstep occurs, it turns into a major binge or complete derailment and “oh what the hell” thinking/acting.
Instead, I always encourage my clients to just begin again the very next meal if they have had some “off path” eating. You do NOT have to be perfect — but you do have to be consistent over the long term. Interestingly, we often overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term and underestimate what we can accomplish in the longer term. Consistency over intensity. Always.
Make Whole Foods the Foundation of your Diet
Ok, so I would be remiss if I didn’t actually talk about food here. Would you like to know the real secret behind healthy eating? I’ll tell you: Just eat real food. That’s it. Make that the focus of your diet, and you are seriously well on your way.
If MOST of our foods are whole, we are easily and naturally eating healthier. Whole foods have no added salt, sugar, refined oils, preservatives, or artificial anything in them. And the great thing about eating more whole foods than processed foods is that we tend to eat a lot fewer calories this way and get full much faster. Processed foods are way more “packed” in terms of calorie content, without the benefit of providing much in the way of nutritional value.
Eat Only Food You Enjoy
No, this is not an excuse to binge on donuts and KD all day long because you “enjoy it”. Rather, this is an invitation to include as well as experiment with foods and cooking styles that bring you the most flavor “bang” for flavor “buck”. I know a lot of people that only like to eat a certain vegetable if it is cooked a certain way.
I for one can’t get enough of roasted Brussels sprouts, but if you boil or steam that same veggie, I won’t be as eager to eat it. So while the “whole foods” requirement still stands, we have a lot of leeway here for taking good healthy food and preparing it in ways that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy Brussels sprouts prepared ANY way, that’s ok — find another veggie that you actually like. When we actually LIKE the healthy food we eat, we are more likely to return to it again and again.
If we’re eating a primarily whole foods diet (let’s say 80% of the time) your diet does have some wiggle room for thoughtfully and purposefully selected less-healthy food that you really enjoy. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, and for some people, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie is the world’s best treat, where for others it may look like hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury dough. The important thing here is to make sure you really enjoy it (that it’s WORTH it) and that you savor it while you are eating it.
Keep in mind that finding new ways to incorporate whole foods you enjoy into your life will also keep “eating healthy” both fun and inspiring. Ask friends for their favorite healthy meals, follow some people on Pinterest to get ideas from them, and don’t be afraid to experiment in your own kitchen!
Ask for Help. Get Support.
We all know it’s far easier to do anything if you’ve got some support. Eating healthy is also so much easier when your spouse or someone else in your household is also eating the same way. But that isn’t always the case. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out for support. If no one else in your house is interested in eating healthier or you live alone, find an accountability partner or group to join. This can make all the difference to your success.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Focus on whole foods, set your environment up for success, and focus on consistency by viewing healthy eating as a lifestyle.
Hey there! I’m Stacy! I am certified in Holistic Nutrition and even though I am a nutrition nerd, I am actually a foodie at heart. My motto is: Be healthy, but enjoy life — just choose wisely!
In my current accountability practice, I help women take control of their own health through the use of real, whole foods, and assist them in creating (and sustaining) lifelong health habits so they can FINALLY get off that horrible diet-rollercoaster!
When I’m not coaching, eating or trying out a new recipe, you might catch me hanging out with my amazing 11-yr old daughter, working out (I love barre and spin), or perhaps watching my favorite reality TV program, 90 Day Fiance!
I practice in my hometown of Calgary, AB but because most of my work is done online — I am available for consultations or coaching wherever it is that you happen to call home.