I think it’s a safe bet that most of us really do want to be healthier, but man, oh man, life sure does get in the way.
You plan to eat a salad, and next thing you know, your stuffing your face full of dollar menu. Then it gets worse; you feel guilty. (I refuse to believe this is just me.. ;))
But really, it’s actually not your fault you failed you healthy eating ambitions. Will power in many respects, is finite.
To completely change the way you nourish your body takes a tremendous act of will on top of everything you already do every day (like not yell at your kids, not send your husband an angry text when you find his socks on the floor). Add in the will to eat a chicken salad instead of KFC, and it’s just too much.
Setting up a situation where you have to step around your normal eating routine in order to eat healthily is destined to fail. So the key is to make eating healthy into a habit that you don’t event think about, so it doesn’t tax your will power – like brushing your teeth!
We cover this in detail, and how to overcome it in the 90 Day Guide To Healthy Habits, but for now, here are some things I’ve done for the last several weeks that has really helped out whole family:
Pre-prep veggies for snacks. One day I realized that despite my best intentions every day, despite knowing that I had a drawer full of perfectly delicious vegetables, when I got hungry in the afternoon, I would go straight to a microwaved brownie. Knowing the recipe by heart, it hardly takes any longer to make than peeling a carrot.
- What I’ve started doing instead: Wash/peel/cut enough carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks to last a week. That way snacking on veggies is actually easier than junk food.
Remove all the “kid snacks” that mom has a tendency to binge on from the house. We have a bog a snack-sized bags of sourdough pretzels for the kids to snack on. Problem is, I love sourdough pretzels.
- What I did instead: I had the kids take the box up to the barn, where they can have a bag anytime they want when they’re hanging out with Gabe while he’s working.
It is so important to interrupt your habitual food patterns in order to make meaningful change.
Make desserts to share. I love to bake, though I don’t have time to do it a lot, plus, as a small family, a normal sized dessert is a lot, so we all (mostly me), end up eating more than we should.
- What we do instead: Bake desserts for potlucks and get-togethers with friends. We’re lucky that our church has a weekly potluck after the Sunday service, which provides the perfect excuse to bake without over eating!
Stop buying trigger foods. Anything that sends you into that dreaded junk food/overheating/binging spiral. My trigger food is mostly peanut butter. I. Love. Peanut butter. And I can’t seem to just eat one spoonful. No, I have to go on and make peanut butter cookies, and peanut butter fudge, and then I see a recipe on Pinterest for Peanut Butter Texas Sheet cake, and I just have to try it! Peanut butter just isn’t safe around me, so I don’t buy it unless I have a very specific reason (like making energy balls for the kids) that will use it up, and not let it just sit in my pantry begging me to go back to my old habit of sticking a spoon in the jar.
Your trigger may something else – chocolate, breakfast cereal, nacho chips – whatever it is, try to stop buying it, and replace it with something healthier.
Bottom line: look for ways to interrupt, and overwrite old, less healthy habits. Take small steps, like committing to making one new habit at a time, and before you know it, you’ll will have completely changed the way you eat – for real this time!
Want to learn how to create healthy habits that stick? Use the coupon “EatHealth” to get $2 off of our 90 Day Healthy Habits Guide!
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Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says
I love this, Elise! Such great, practical tips. I know for me making sure that I have easy to grab, healthy snacks on hand is super important, otherwise I go for a few (that turns into a lot) chips or cookies or some other unhealthy thing. So yeah, basically just agreeing with what you said here! Thanks for the encouragement!