September 14, 2016

Five Strategies to Eliminate Unhealthy Eating

As a health and fitness coach, I support others in learning how to create healthy meal plans with the mindset of nourishment, not deprivation. Healthy does not mean starving. It’s quite the contrary. It is absolutely essential to understand how food can either build us up or tear us down, physically and emotionally.

Of course exercise is critical and has its specific purposes, but poor nutrition will prevent you from achieving long term health goals. Unhealthy eating habits affect more than your weight. Over time, the food you consume impacts your heart, metabolism, intestinal track, gut (lovely word – gut), gallbladder, blood pressure, and much more. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for developing: heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and even certain cancers. 
Not to consider that it is expensive to be overweight and obese. For even more information about impacts of being overweight and obesity, click here for an article on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website.
These are very real reasons, it is important to eliminate unhealthy eating. 

So HOW do you eliminate unhealthy foods?


1. IDENTIFY THE JUNK
Ask yourself these questions:
  • What are foods that provide little to no nutritional value (protein, complex carbs, vitamins) yet you are eating on a regular basis. Make a list.Is there a time of day or month that you are more likely to crave certain types of foods high in sugar and/or sodium?Are leftovers a weakness for you, because throwing food away makes you feel guilty?
  • This alone will likely not prevent your unhealthy eating habits, but it makes you aware which is the first step.
2. AVOID IT
  • Clean out the pantry. Donate if it significant quantities. Throw it away. Get it out of your space.
  • Stop buying it. Don’t make excuses that you can’t keep your family from eating junk. You have a responsibility to influence your family’s nutritional intake as much as you have the responsibility of keeping them clothed, bathed, and safe.
  • If it’s a time of month thing, then stay away from those foods like the plague during that time.If it’s the leftovers guilt from throwing away food, reduce the recipe portions. This will also save you money. Win-win.

3. SWAP IT
  • Go back to the list of foods you identified in #1. Swap those foods with healthy alternatives.
  • If crunching is your thing, you need apples, snow peas, carrots, heart-healthy nuts.
  • Craving some chips and dip? Pair the apple with natural peanut butter or hummus with the veggies.
  • For an after dinner/before bedtime snack, don’t eat stand in the pantry and eat boxed cupcake that has a laundry list of ingredients – many artificial. Microwave a banana for 45 seconds and drizzle with raw honey. (Then call and thank me for that tip. I’m just saying…you will love it.)
4. STICK TO IT
  • Don’t half-heartedly try to eat healthy. Tell yourself ARE going to succeed.
  • Get it out of your mind that you can do this for a set timeframe. We’re talking long term. You want to live healthy long term. You must eat healthy long term.
  • Make the list of identified junk food the exception. Are you going to have some packaged cupcakes in your house ever again? Likely. Just don’t let them be a staple in your pantry.
  • Stay strong during your real and perceived withdrawals. True story – people have withdrawals from sugar. You may want to buck like a wild bronco at the thought of giving up something, but keep your eye on the prize – health.

5. MAKE A PLAN
Saved the best for last. A meal plan takes the guess work out of dinner after a long day at the office or ball field with your kiddos. It also encourages you to avoid skipping meals.
  • Choose balanced meals and snacks for the week.
  • Track the portions you planned.
  • Include multiple snacks during the day, so you’re not famished before lunch or dinner.
So, these are strategies. All good words and guidance, but you have to take action for them to work. 
If you would like more support in learning how to eliminate unhealthy eating habits or how to meal plan, let's chat! You can email me at soulfitmama@outlook.com or comment here.

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