Healthy eating marvelous – I mean, who doesn’t want a diet that supports their well-being and makes them feel awesome? But it can be really difficult to create a lasting and fulfilling healthy diet. If you’re struggling to make a healthy diet work for you, here are 6 Reasons why your healthy diet might not be working and how to fix it.
First and foremost, I want to highlight that when I use the words ‘healthy diet’ I am not referring to a frustrating, restrictive, calorie counting ‘diet’. I’m talking more about a lifestyle that includes feeding your body with kindness and, ultimately, supporting your wellness.
And if you’ve tried and failed to maintain a healthy diet, struggled for months only to find yourself waking up in a blur, covered in burritos and chocolate sauce, or wish to create one but can’t even imagine how you’d make it last, this post is for you.
Let’s talk about why a healthy diet might not last and how to work around it.
You’re Doing It For the Wrong Reasons
So you want to eat healthy! Dude, that’s great! But I want you to really think about why you’re doing this. If your answer is something like:
“I want to lose 10lbs”
“I’d like to look like Giselle Bundchen”
“I need a banging bikini bod” (tangent – every bod is a banging bikini bod if you want to wear one <3)
Then I hate to be a party pooper… but this new healthy eating lifestyle probably won’t last.
Because those reasons are all superficial.
If that’s your sole reason for creating a healthy diet, then this new foodie relationship is going to be unfulfilling and likely temporary.
The problem here is that all of those reasons are external. Healthy eating can definitely allow your body to find it’s way to a healthy weight. But if that’s you’re only goal, you’ll probably go back to your old way of eating once you get there. Which means that everything else will likely fall back to how it was, and all that struggle was for naught.
That’s why diets don’t work. They’re meant to be temporary. Weight lost, goal achieved, back to the old habits. Does this happen to everyone? No. But it’s fairly common… and there’s a reason for that.
Eating isn’t suppose to be stressful. It should never involve math. It’s not supposed to be unfulfilling and bland. And it shouldn’t make you feel insecure.
Eating should be a simple, amazing, and spiritual ritual that supports our health.
So how do we fix this problem?
Let’s get down to the best reason to create a healthy diet. One that allows you to create everlasting, fulfilling dietary and lifestyle changes.
If you wish to start eating healthier and make it last, you really need to think about the best reason why.
What’s that reason? Because you love yourself and you want to feed your body with kindness. Eating well will definitely help you look and feel your best. But when it comes from a place of self-love, it’s far more long lasting.
You know that saying: Eat like you love yourself? That’s seriously the best foundation to build in order to create your ultimate, fulfilling and lasting healthy diet and lifestyle.
A true, healthy diet is just about feeling your best. It’s simple. And there is no added pressure of losing pounds or inches. That may happen naturally after a while – but with your new intention, self-love, you can breath, work on letting go of those pressures and just enjoy healthy, delicious food.
When you create a beautiful, accepting and loving relationship with yourself it’s easier to make lasting, healthy changes.
You’re Trying to Change Everything at Once
Man, I get it! Once I have my mind made up, I am all in! But changing your diet can be a little more complicated than just waking up one morning and deciding to change everything. You might be more successful if you ease into it.
There were even aspects of this whole healthy eating thing that I eased into. And, if you recall, I did a complete 180 for the sake of my health back in 2013.
I may have dove right in and said hello to tons of veggies and small portions of local, organic, ethically raised meat… but I wasn’t the intuitive eater I am today. For example, I would still snack on handfuls of cheddar popcorn and took a while to move on to pure peanut butter (at first, it was hard to say goodbye to all that added sugar yo!)
If I cut those little things out entirely day one I may have just gotten so frustrated that I would have quit. And then who knows what would have happened!
If you need to go cold turkey on something for your health – find healthier alternatives to the things you love asap so it’s a bit easier to make the change. Ask around at your local health food stores and wander around the internet for easy recipes. Change is easier when it doesn’t feel so alien.
If you have no health woes to worry about, give yourself permission to ease into certain aspects of your transition. Otherwise, it’s super easy to get frustrated and fall back into old habits.
Say yes to tons of plants and, if you choose to be an omnivore, local, organic, ethically raised meat (that’s a whole other blog post, but if you eat meat, that is the only healthy way to go).
But ease out of your guilty pleasures. Every time you run out, replace something you like with a healthier version (here’s a Healthy Food Swaps Infographic to help you make some simple changes). Or experiment with healthier recipes along the way.
Take your time making big changes. Want to say goodbye to refined sugar? Find your favourite unrefined version (mine’s maple) and slowly incorporate it into your diet, replacing the refined stuff bit by bit.
Experiment with recipes and learn to create health supporting versions of guilty faves (things like ice cream and chocolate can totally be healthy). That way you’ll never feel like you’re missing out! Plus, no more guilt. Score!
Crowd out the bad and before you know it, you’ll have the healthy diet you set out to create. Without all of the frustration, withdrawals and hangry moments. Don’t pressure yourself into being 100% successful tomorrow. Change can take time. Baby steps are ok!
You’ve Bought into the idea that Healthy = Boring
Remember that sport or musical thing your parents put you into when you were a kid? The one that totally bored you to tears? You quit the moment you had the chance, didn’t you? Because nobody has time for constant boredom! If you’re bored, you are definitely not going to stick to something.
The same goes for your healthy diet. Salads everyday, all day? I love a good salad, but even I think that sounds boring AF. Unfortunately, this is what comes to mind for many when they think of healthy eating. Boo!
Should plants play a huge role in your daily meals? Hell yea! Does that mean chewing on leaves and making sad faces at pictures of pasta for the rest of time? Heck no!
Healthy eating doesn’t even mean saying goodbye to dessert. And it definitely doesn’t mean eating nothing but salads. Trust me when I say you can get just as creative, or, dare I say, more creative, with healthy eating as you can with the Standard American Diet. And you never had to feel any of the guilt. Because you know that everything you’re consuming is loving you right back.
If you’d prefer to have a book in hand, there are tons of options at your local book store. Including Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen and The Oh She Glows Cook Book. Trust me, those recipes are anything but boring!
Healthy eating is as boring or exciting as you make it. If you’re bored, you need to spice things up my friend. The inspiration and recipes are out there. Go find them.
You Aren’t Food Prepping
Photo Credit – Kelli Magrath
A boy scout is always what? Prepared! And you should be too. Especially when you’re just starting out on this whole healthy eating adventure.
I’m an intuitive eater. Very rarely do I food prep. But was that my life from day one? Goodness no. And it shouldn’t be yours either.
I couldn’t trust early healthy diet Sara to understand what her cravings truly meant! She interpreted every single one as a demand for sweets. That just doesn’t work. It takes time to really be in a place where you can eat intuitively.
And if your day is crazy busy and you have no food and no plan, you’re going to reach for the nearest mochachocawhatcha latto (I don’t drink coffee… I’m sorry I don’t know coffee language) and easy snack you can get your hands on. And quick often doesn’t equal healthy.
If you want a lasting, healthy diet… that just won’t do.
Enter food prep.
When you’re getting ready to get groceries, think about your schedule and make a plan.
Will it be easier and better for you if you have breakfast and lunch ready to rock and roll?
Are there snacks that you can make sure to have on hand, so you’re feeling energized, throughout the day?
Remember all those recipes you were looking at for foodie inspiration? Put some time aside to put a few freezer friendly meals together on Sunday. Get into easy breakfast ideas that you can make the night before, like chia pudding and overnight oats (check that out here).
If good, filling, delicious, healthy food is right at your fingertips, then you won’t have to scramble for whatever’s nearby. Problem solved!
You can read more about how to become a meal prepping superstar from my wonderful guest blogger, Kelli, here.
You’re Trying to Eat Foods that you Hate
We’ve got breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between, day in and day out… and if you hate everything you put on your plate, you are going to go mad! That’s no way to make a healthy diet work.
No one wants to spend any more time than they have to with the things they hate. Screw that noise! It kind of works the same way for your diet.
For example, maybe you hate kale but feel like it needs to make a daily appearance on your plate since it’s so damn popular. I personally love it, but that bitter curly leaf isn’t for everyone.
If you truly hate it, don’t force yourself to keep eating it. There are so many other greens out there that you can enjoy! Spinach, arugula, collard greens, swiss chard, romaine… heck, there are even different types of kale out there to try (check out the lovely dino kale! That sucker is, in my opinion, marvelous).
Try new things, give it a shot and, if it truly isn’t jiving with your taste buds, give yourself permission to move on.
You may be thinking – but what if I hate vegetables in general… I know you kind of need to eat those to be healthy. What do I do about that?
My sweet friend… there is no way that you hate all vegetables. There are SO MANY out there. Even I have yet to try them all. And they are amazingly versatile. It’s all about experimenting with recipes and flavours.
Here’s a veggie flavour guide to help you find the right veggies for your tastes. Once you narrow it down and find the recipes and combos that you adore, you’ll be a veggie eating machine!
The same goes for everything else – approach your diet with an open mind and keep working towards building something that is nourishing and enjoyable. Don’t waste time on an unending blur of disgustingness.
You’re Copying Someone Else’s Diet/Lifestyle
I’m gluten, dairy and corn free, nearly refined sugar free and mostly organic local… but goodness! That doesn’t mean you have to be too. We have different bodies and different needs.
My dietary restrictions exist because this girl has Graves Disease and a very sensitive digestive system. I’ve listened, I’ve learned and I’ve adjusted. I’ve found a way to personalize my diet so that my body can thrive as best as possible. But that took a ton of time. And, the most important aspect, it all came together because I listened to my body. You’ve got to listen to yours if you want to create something awesome for yourself.
If you find yourself struggling to re-create someone else’s healthy diet (even mine), take a step back and re-examine why you’ve made these dietary changes.
Are you consuming foods that make you feel awesome? Cutting out the things that drain you? Or are you struggling with changes and restrictions simply because it works for someone else?
If you’re living in the latter, it’s time to dedicate yourself to creating something that’s 100% yours. Your ultimate healthy diet.
Depending on the state of your health, you may need to food and symptom journal for a little bit to see what works. You may even need to give a temporary elimination diet a try. I’ve got a handy little guide about how I created my diet (one that allows me to thrive with Graves Disease) right here.
But, if everything is working just fine, it may be as simple as feeding yourself with kindness.
Learn to love yourself enough to care about your health and make dietary choices that will fuel your beautiful body.
Explore new foods, cook and find ways to make healthy versions of your favourite treats (trust me, it’s very possible!) Make eating well a positive, creative and fun experience and ultimately part of your self-love language. You deserve it!
And remember, dietary restrictions like Gluten Free or sugar free… that’s not the same thing as healthy. It might work amazingly for some, it may even allow them to thrive… but that doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Be patient with yourself and explore what makes you feel best. That’s the only thing that will work long term.
Have you created a lasting healthy lifestyle? What advice would you give to someone wishing to do the same? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I am the ruler of my destiny – it is up to me to create my own path.
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