One of my biggest struggles and the reason most of my clients come to me is lack of consistency. We all know that we should be drinking more water, exercising daily, and eating our fruits and veggies, but we just don’t do it. At least, not consistently.
A lot of us are used to the diet-binge cycle where we are constantly going on a restrictive diet only to fall off the wagon and dive back into the potato chips. We continue to repeat this cycle and we just don’t understand why we can’t be consistent with it!
And it’s absolutely NOT because you’re lazy, uncommitted or lack willpower.
It has taken me YEARS to learn how to be consistent with healthy eating. And let me tell you, once you can eat well consistently it makes everything else easier and reaching your goal becomes inevitable.
Ok, here we go…
7 Reasons You’re Struggling to Be Consistent with Healthy Eating & How to Overcome Them
#1 - Your goals aren’t specific enough.
It’s so easy to set a goal such as “lose weight” or “gain energy” or even “lose 10 pounds”, but if you aren’t super specific about what your goals are and how you are going to reach it then it’s pretty pointless to set a goal. I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals and the reason they are so well known is because they work. Research has shown that people that set SMART goals are more likely to actually reach their goals.
Set a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based goals. Once you set a specific goal you know exactly where you are going and then you can plan out how you are going to get there. For example, a good specific goal could look be, “Lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks by eating plant-based, no processed foods, and exercising 30 minutes a day.” Then you will want to plan out how you are going to reach that goal. What time will you work out? What type of exercise? How will you make plant-based eating effortless and fun? The more prepared you are the easier it will be to reach your goal.
#2 - You don’t have a big enough why.
Many clients come to me saying they want to lose weight so they finally feel confident wearing a bathing suit. But often times, when we did a little deeper there is an even bigger why behind their reason for wanting to lose weight or eat healthy. Perhaps they want to feel and look better for their partner or they want to live longer so they can play with the grandkids. It’s so important to really dig deep and find a true meaningful why so that it makes sticking to your plan easy. And if you’re big why is really to look good in a bathing suit, that’s perfectly fine too. Just make sure you own it and allow it to inspire you on your journey.
Dig deep. Ask yourself why you want xyz goal? Then ask why again. Keep asking why until you really connect with the reason and know that it is a powerful and motivating reason to sticking to your goal when things get challenging.
#3 - It’s not really a priority.
Most people say their health is a priority for them, but when you take a closer look at their daily actions you can easily see that it is not the case. If it’s truly a priority for you, your actions will show it. Changing the way you eat can be quite challenging especially if you’ve been a chronic dieters or simply eating a terrible diet for years. If it is truly a goal for you to eat healthfully consistently then it needs to be a priority in your life. For some people, they would much rather stay comfortable in their way of eating and are really just too afraid to make any drastic changes. They may prioritize social outings, comfort foods they are used to, and not stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s so important to ask yourself, “Is this really a priority for me right now?”. And trust me, sometimes in different seasons of life it can be challenging to make healthy eating a priority. I totally get it. But if you are saying you want to eat healthy and if you are reading this post, I’m assuming you want to make it a priority so it’s imperative that you start doing that.
Decide today that healthy eating is going to be a #1 priority for you. You will do whatever it takes to change your way of eating and remind yourself daily that this is a priority. Simply declaring it and being aware of your choice along with your big why can make healthy eating so much simpler.
#4 - You aren’t eating enough calories.
If you’re used to dieting then I’m sure you are used to restricting calories. It’s imperative that you start shifting your mindset around calories. I often do not recommend people obsess over calories, but if you are so used to restricting what you eat it may be helpful to track them for a while and make sure you are eating an adequate amount of calories. And NO, 1200 calories is not a sufficient amount of calories most people. You need to practice listening to your hunger and fullness cues and truly honoring them. Do not ever let yourself starve or feel hungry. In order to lose weight, gain energy, or get health you need adequate nutrition which means you need adequate calorie intake.
Try eating a magic bowl and watch how truly nourished and satisfied you feel. Practice honoring your hunger and fullness cues. If you are eating a mostly plant-based diet, you definitely want to make sure you are getting enough healthy fats and protein in your meals to help keep you full and satisfied. Remember, if you are restricting your calorie intake you will slow down your metabolism and actually hold onto fat. So please, make sure you are eating enough. If you think you need help to relearn how to start eating intuitively, please sign up here and schedule your free breakthrough session with me now.
#5 - You aren’t setting yourself up for success.
I may have slightly mentioned this throughout this post, but it is SO important in your success. One of the biggest pitfalls for people “falling off the wagon” or not being consistent with healthy eating is simply because they are not setting themselves up for success. They are often winging it or planning for some of their meals, but then the second schedules get changed or something unexpected occurs (like free cupcakes in the office) they panic and don’t know how to handle it so they do things without much thinking. This is one of the things I pride myself in when working with my clients is that I really help them get set up for success.
Plan. Prep. Always be prepared. First start by clearing out the clutter in your kitchen. Get rid of any tempting or unnecessary processed foods and stock your fridge full of healthy goodness. Do some meal planning and food prepping to make sure you are ready for your week. Consider days where things may come up, you may have to eat out, or be around temptation and make a plan of attack. If you’re anything like me, you may not be much of a planner, but I can assure you if this is REALLY a priority for you than you can do it!
#6 - You’re too impatient.
So often we as humans want instant gratification. We start eating all the veggies and healthy foods and wonder why we have only lost 2 pounds and can’t even tell the difference. We immediately feel like this isn’t worth or it’s taking to long. We often quit before we’ve even really started.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “All good things come to those who wait” and it could not be more true. If you want to eat healthy consistently to finally lose those 10 pounds or have more energy to pursue your career goals, it’s going to take time and patience. If weight loss is your goal, I always recommend my clients only focus on losing 2 pounds at a time. Instead of thinking “Ugh, I’m never going to lose these last 20 pounds”. It’s a whole lot easier to think “I can definitely lose 2 pounds”. You just keep repeating the cycle and it completely changes your mindset and makes being patient a little easier. Also, try reminding yourself this is a lifestyle change and you no longer want to repeat the diet-binge cycle. You want this to be life lasting and sustainable so it really needs to be easy and fun for you. Eating healthy does NOT have to be boring salads or chicken breast and veggies. There are SO many more fun ways to eat a healthy meal. Check out this recipe book for Healthy Plant-Based Dinners that only take 30 minutes or less.
#7 - You’re overcomplicating it.
Maybe you’re trying to follow a really restrictive diet, eliminating whole food groups, or spending hours making complicated meals. Or perhaps you hate cooking, you’re confused by all of the conflicting diet information, and/or just don’t even know where to begin. Trust me, I get it. Being in the health, wellness, and nutrition field I’m often overwhelmed by how complicated everyone makes it seem. One of my favorite things to do for my clients is to just break it all down as simple as possible. Let go of trying to do things perfectly. There is no such thing! If you hate cooking, there’s simple tweaks you can make to make healthy eating effortless without a whole lot of cooking. When we overcomplicate things all it does it keep us stuck and overwhelmed. It’s time to move past it by making things stupid simple.
Ask yourself, “How can I make this as simple as possible?”. Read this post on how to make a balanced meal and start practicing to make simple, balanced meals daily. Save time by food prepping so you always have food available for snacks or to throw together. Let go of all the idealist diet ideas you have and start to focus on these 3 simple principles: 1. Drink lots of water (½ of your body weight in ounces). 2. Fill your plates with mostly veggies. 3. Move your body for at least 30 minutes each day. Although these tips may sound overly simple, they really can be the secret to lifelong habit change.