Why good nutrition and healthy habits are difficult to maintain

I have just come off the back of running one of my online reset challenges with 25+ amazing women. I love these challenges as they are exactly what they say on the tin – 21 days to focus on personal nutrition, healthy habits & removing the barriers that are keeping you stuck, basically a mini reset!

Throughout the 21 days, a nutritional plan is provided which aims to get blood sugars balanced, reduce stimulants such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol and get rid of the processed junk food and mindless snacking. It’s a simple strategy that works. For me, watching group attendees go from feeling sluggish, tired, moody to refreshed and feeling lighter and brighter is such a gift and I walk away from every reset knowing that I have made a difference – can’t beat that feeling!

So going back to the simple strategy of my group programmes. I am no fool to the fact that every single one of the ladies who joined the programme to work on their health goals know what and how to eat, they are educated, smart, fabulous women so why is such a simple strategy so difficult to implement?  Why is good health and good nutrition so difficult to put into practice daily? We know that when we remove the junk and processed food, increase water, and have a diet full of diverse colourful fruits and veggies with quality protein fats and complex low sugar carbs and eating regularly leaves us feeling healthy and fulfilled so why is it so damn hard?

We live in a world which is fast paced by any other generational standard and coupled with that is the notion that the world is truly our oyster. We have education at our fingertips, we can have (almost!) any career we wish, we can have as many children as we want, and we can live our lives and make our own decisions with regards to our bodies thanks to the women who have paved the way and fought for equality through the generations before. Yes, there is still a long way to go for true equality in some regards but even writing this, it feels great to be a woman living in today’s world doesn’t it? However, there is a sting in the tail. We were told we could have it all and we believed it. In essence, we can make the decisions, we are in the driving seat but what is the price?

Three words spring to mind – burn out, overwhelmed, and stressed.

In our exclusive Facebook group, I watch the posts, the food choices and the conversations closely and support where I can, that’s my job. What I see in clinic and in my groups is the same pattern – the correlation between what we eat and how we feel is undeniable. The busier the day, the more stressed and overwhelmed the poorer the food choices AND the need to reach for ultra-processed foods (UPF’S), stimulants for either emotional comfort or convenience. I am no means immune to this and know when I am busier than usual or feeling overwhelmed, I can try and tune out with comfort strategies – some of them not helpful or healthy!

We do this as feeling any uncomfortable emotion is not pleasant and as humans, we are designed to try and remove ourselves from anything which feels unsafe.  But if we keep turning to food for comfort or convenience then no wonder we feel stuck, unhealthy, and unhappy.

So as we continue to spin the plates of life and be the amazing woman we are batting away life’s stressors for ourselves and our families, what can we do to make sure we don’t reach for the biscuit barrel when overwhelm or busyness kicks in ?.

Tips for keeping on track with our healthy habits:

1. Tune in to how you feel.

We are so used to spinning the plates and feeling busy in general that we sometimes feel it’s part of life and to an extent it is, but it doesn’t have to be. Tune in to how you feel daily by being still for a while. That may feel counterproductive when you have a tick list to get through and only a limited number of hours to do it in, but it will help centre you. Take a 10-minute mini meditation break each morning or mid-afternoon to sit quietly and close your eyes and breathe. Being still and taking deep breathes calms the nervous system and can reduce your stress response to allow you to feel more centred and calmer. When we are centred and calm, we make better decisions and feel more in control. If this feels tricky then there are some great meditation apps to help. I like Headspace for this reason. Quick and easy 10-minute sessions that help quieten the mind.

2. Be prepared or prepare to fail.

When life is busy, we tend to put our own needs to the bottom of the pile. That drives poor choices as we haven’t made space to ask ourselves what needs are are for the week ahead. Carve a little space out at the weekend, just 20 minutes will do to think about your schedule for the week ahead. Is it a busy week? Which plates are you spinning that week that can lead to feeling overwhelmed?, Which days in particular maybe a barrier to your own healthy habits?. Once you have clarity, you can take action.

Think about what you can do to remove those barriers. Batch cooking for those busy days, making sure you have healthy snacks at your fingertips if you’re out of the house all day or just simply carving out your 10-minute mini meditation break can help lessen the load and help you feel in control.

3. Feed your soul.

Doing more of what we love, what feeds our soul and what we are passionate about reinforces our sense of self. When life gets busy, our passions and things that bring us joy tend to be the areas that we allow to slip. Connecting with ourselves and with others is a human need. Ask yourself what brings you joy and make sure that there is space in your week to look forward to it. Puzzles, reading a book in the garden, walking with a friend, going to that yoga class, or treating yourself to a massage … think about what you need that week and plan it into your diary. If it’s not in your diary, the chances are it won’t happen. Think of the saying ‘I serve, I deserve’. You deserve a little me time.

If you need some help with meal planning or getting prepared for the week to beat overwhelm and stop the unhealthy habits, here is my free E Book – The Ultimate Guide To Menu Planning to save you some time and brain space x. Just fill in your details below and I’ll send it to you for free.

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