Hi friends! I hope are doing well. Today’s post is brought to you by my husband, Matthew. When we’re not chasing after the girls or trying to break up an argument over Shopkins, we have some pretty interesting conversations. As you can imagine, they typically involve something about health and fitness, a podcast we listened to, a recent study that was done, Carpe Diem Personal Training stuff, or good food we want to devour. The other day we started talking about the challenges of eating healthy, the role stress often plays, and the little things we can do to get back on track. So Matt’s going to take it away and I’m going to make sure he doesn’t use any offensive language before hitting “publish.”
Common challenges we face when it comes to eating healthy
It seems like we have less time in our day than ever before. It’s difficult to try to balance all of our daily commitments (like work, family, and household tasks) and the various forms of stress that we face with proper care for ourselves. As a parent, I understand what a lot of my clients face each and every day – we are all incredibly busy.
In my experience, one of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to eating healthy is not being prepared. Between taking kids to school, chauffeuring them to various activities, working full-time, to maintaining your home there’s just not enough time in the day. Less time and more stress leads to poor meal choices. We end up eating whatever’s convenient or easy.
I try to encourage anyone who wants to establish better eating habits to focus on being prepared. This means spend a day on the weekend prepping food for the week ahead. Have real food on hand so you aren’t tempted by garbage. Use your crockpot for mid-week meals. Don’t buy junk. Have items that are simple and easy to make and can be thrown together quickly. Make and bring your lunch to work. Small changes can set the foundation for better longterm habits.
Another common issue may be that the person who wants to eat better is met with resistance by his or her family. It can be difficult to get your whole family on board with a better lifestyle. Listen, I totally get the issue of trying to feed picky toddlers. However, this is where you have to show a little tough love. If you are making the meals then your family will just have to eat what you prepare. If they don’t want it then they can get their own food. One of my favorite expressions is lead by example. Show your kids that you care about your health as well as theirs. They will catch on to your actions.
Small changes can yield big results down the road. Here are a few, simple steps you can make today for better health tomorrow:
1. Eat your first and final meal within a 12-hour window.
This means if you eat breakfast at 7:00 am, then you shouldn’t be eating anything after 7:00 pm. This is beneficial for several reasons. First, it encourages more consistent and fulfilling meals. It also supports liver function as well as digestion. Finally, it hinders snacking throughout the day and bingeing at night.
2. Cut out processed foods and anything that comes from a box.
Learn to cook real food. Your meals don’t need to be elaborate. Prepare simple, healthy items. Meat, nuts, and vegetables are great choices. Contrary to public opinion, meat and fat are not bad. You don’t need to follow a Standard American Diet (SAD) simply because that’s the norm. Otherwise, you might end up like Joe Schmo Couch Potato.
3. Plan! Success comes from being prepared.
If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Make your food in advance, carry healthy snacks, and stock your fridge with whole foods. Be sure to eat every 3-4 hours. When you go too long between meals your body can’t function properly. You get tired, moody, and hungry which makes you more likely to grab junk food.
4. Understand your food triggers.
Stress is a huge contributor to poor eating choices. If your cortisol is high then you are going to crave foods that spike your insulin (sugar, carbs, etc.). Ask yourself: what are the sources of stress in my life and how can I find ways to reduce them? When you feel stressed at work, do you want to hit the vending machine? Understanding your triggers is a huge part of redirecting your habits. Once you are aware of what may set you off then you need to figure out how to combat them. One small trick I use to curb sugar cravings is to mix 2 teaspoons of L-glutamine with a glass of water (or a small amount of heavy cream). It’s an effective way to satisfy a sweet tooth.