I wish I could eat like you. I don’t know how you do it. I like to eat (insert junk food item here) way too much. I wouldn’t even know where to start.
I get these comments all the time. Sometimes I’ll even the, “well it’s easier for you because you have diabetes and celiac, so you HAVE to take care of yourself” comment. And while yes, that is a strong motivator for me, I could just as easily NOT take care of myself. People under my same circumstances do it all the time. So what’s the difference? I choose to make healthy eating a habit. I choose.
It’s not as hard as it looks
Trust me on this one. I know it may seem like a big bite to swallow, but making healthy eating a habit is not as hard as you think.
Habits become habits by repetition.
Of course, in the beginning, this repetition will be forced and you’ll have to be intentional about your choices (as opposed to operating under cruise control). But just like with reps at the gym, every choice you make strengthens your habit forming muscles. And after making healthy eating choices every day it will naturally become a habit, one that you won’t have to force.
How to Make Healthy Eating a Habit
1. Don’t Buy Junk.
This is the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. I will tell you from my own personal experience, trying NOT to eat a bag of Doritos when YOU KNOW it’s sitting right in your pantry is i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e. Even to this day, if I know there is a bag of Doritos in my pantry, I might be able to resist it for a few days… maybe even a week… but not much more than that. Less if the bag has been opened.
It is a whole heck-of-a-lot easier to stay on track and make healthy eating a habit when you don’t buy the junk that you don’t want to eat. Because if it’s in the house, you will eat it.
2. Follow the 80/20 Rule & Be Realistic.
Following the 80/20 rule doesn’t mean aiming for healthy eating 80% of the time and allowing yourself to indulge on junk 20% of the time. Because let’s face it, when you “aim” for 80% you’ll probably only be hitting your mark 60% of the time.
Following the 80/20 rule means aiming for 100%, and when life gets in the way or sh*t happens, allow yourself some grace and don’t beat yourself up. Count that as your 20% and get right back on track.
My 20% mainly comes in the form of dining out or having dinner at a friends. While I still make healthy choices in these situations, I am okay with the fact that they might not meet all of my values. Maybe their meat isn’t locally sourced, or maybe they’re using conventional dressings with vegetable oils, or maybe their produce is not organic. I don’t get down on myself or refuse to eat; I allow myself to enjoy the time with friends and just make the best food choices I can, given my options.
Eating healthy 100% of the time isn’t realistic or attainable long term. Especially if you have friends, family, or any kind of a social life (even if it’s a super small one). The 80/20 rule will help you keep your sanity.
3. Be Positive and confident about your choice.
If you look at healthy eating as a drag and don’t think you can actually make it a habit, then I hate to break it to you, but you probably won’t. Mind set and head game are so important here. Remember why you started and be confident in your choice. It’s not going to always be easy, there may be some hard days, but there IS a reason why you started. There IS a reason why your old ways weren’t serving you and you decided to make a change. Stick to that change. It does get easier. The choices get easier. And those junk food cravings DO go away.
4. Pay attention to how good it makes you feel.
On those hard days and even more importantly on those good days, pay attention to how great you feel after eating something healthy and nutrient dense. Notice the change in your energy levels, your motivation levels, and your happiness. Feeling great is an excellent motivator!
You Got This!
Even if you think you don’t, tell yourself you do! Fake it until you make it sista! Or brotha, for all you guys reading this.
You have 100% control over what you eat and what you put inside your body. You are in charge of your health, no one else. Don’t wait for the weekend, or the 1st of the month to make healthy eating a habit… start now! Today! Even if you’re reading this mid day, choose to make healthy eating a habit, starting now!
I want to know..
How do you stay on track? How do you make healthy eating a habit?