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By Lauri Mackey — 3 years ago
3 foolproof ways to make healthy eating really work for you
by: Samantha Russell with LiveTheWhole.com
Healthy eating is hard to stick to. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you, with birthday parties, food-centered holidays, and potluck parties every second weekend.
I recently did a bunch of interviews with hard-working and accomplished women who all struggle to eat in a way that feels good to them. The number 1 thing they identified as getting in their way the most was consistency.
They all have so much knowledge about health, nutrition, and the way the want to be eating – but feel like life just constantly throws them curve balls and encourages them to eat more cake, buy more ice cream, and make exceptions to their plan all the time.
So, how can you make healthy eating actually work for you in a consistent way? Here are 3 foolproof ways to make healthy food choices your automatic ‘go to’ every day.
Step 1: Set SMART goals
Goals are great – you probably have them for your career, and maybe even your relationship, but have you stopped to formulate some great food and eating goals as well?
Just like any other goals in your life, healthy eating goals need to be SMART, or
Resonates with you, and
This means you have to think hard about exactly what you want to do, how you’ll measure your success, how to make the goal realistic for you and fit into your life, and when you’re going to pause and assess how things are going.
The problem with most healthy eating goals is that they go something like “I’m going to start eating better”, or “I’m going to cut down on carbs”, or even “I’m quitting sugar from now on”. There’s nothing wrong with trying any of these, but you’re going to need a better plan if you want to succeed.
For example, a SMART goal for “I’m quitting sugar” is:
“For the next 2 weeks (time managed), I am not going to eat or drink any sugar or added sweetener (specific + measurable). Instead, I’ll have a piece of fruit and drink green tea if I feel I need a little something extra (resonates + attainable).”
Step 2: Plan your meals the night before
Meal planning is the most helpful action step you can take to make healthy food choices easy – because you’ve already made them.
Simply sit down for 5 minutes before you go to bed and write down exactly what you’re going to eat the next day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks.
Yes, even if it involves looking up the menu of a restaurant. By making food decisions when you’re relaxed, not hungry, and can give them your full attention, you’ll make way better decisions that are more in-line with your goals.
Now, with the food decisions already made, all you have to do is stick with them. If you feel like you’re going to struggle with that, this is where step 3 comes in.
Step 3: Have an emergency recovery plan
No matter how SMART your goals are, or how much planning you do, there are definitely going to be times when it’s still hard to make healthy choices. Consistency is really key when you’re habit building, so I like to use the superpowers of
- The bigger picture,
- Meditation, and
- Switching gears
To help stay on track.
No matter how dedicated you are to changing your eating, stress, tiredness, and social pressure (to name just a couple of things!) can all make some really convincing sounding arguments as to why you should choose fast food tonight and “start eating healthy again in the morning”. Sometimes that’s ok, but when it’s happening multiple times a week, you’re not going to reach your goals.
So, when you can feel temptation or stress getting the better of you, take a moment to think about the bigger picture of why you want to eat healthier. Is it to be a good role model for you kids? Feel better in your body and be confident you trust yourself with food? Or to avoid carrying on the family history of type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure? Thinking about this bigger picture helps keep you motivated and on-track.
Some Lauri’s Lemonade Stand Podcast episodes that are great for this:
Interview with Katie Arms – take a moment out of your day to find out how Katie took a massive life-curveball and made it work for her on every level.
Interview with me – learn more about my struggle with change, eating, and consistency and how I personally made lasting change.
Interview with Makeda Pennycooke – learn how to transform you fear and make yourself feel safe.
The second secret weapon is meditation. You’re not going to want to do it – but trust me, put an app like headspace on your phone and when you feel yourself going off track in a way you don’t like, pop in your earphones and take a 5 minute timeout. Sometimes that’s all you need to refocus and get on with your day (and stick to the food plan you made the night before).
And finally, when you feel cravings creeping up on you, try mentally switching gears. Research shows that taking a break and doing something totally different with your brain reduces the intensity of cravings. In fact, the research was done using the game ‘Tetris’, which you can put on your phone right now. Fun, and helps you stay healthy.
The process of making healthy eating a habit is really all about practice, but it’s also about being prepared. Don’t expect (or even aim for) perfection, but you can definitely make healthy eating easy and automatic if you follow the 3 steps outlined above. Every great choice you make creates a positive cycle of self-trust, momentum, and motivation that can move your forward each day – towards a happier, healthier you.
About The Author:
Samantha runs Live the Whole and is certified by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in the US, has a certificate in clinical and pastoral counseling from the University of Glasgow in the UK, and has a degree in psychology from Massey University in New Zealand.
Sam specializes in helping clients manage and heal their relationship with food, body, and self. She uses a blend of positive psychology and mind-body-nutrition connections, along with traditional coaching and counseling methodologies. She works together with clients to uncover the root causes of unwanted eating so they can feel happy, free, and in control.
We would love to hear your feedback so drop us a comment below – we read them ALL!
By John Greywitt — 2 years ago
One of the funnest things I did before actually writing my goals down was reflect on my past years of goal-setting. I have been printing out and posting my yearly goals on my bulletin board since 2010. I kept them in a tidy little file folder tucked away in one of my office drawers and hadn’t thought much about them other than to put the old ones in at the end of each year.
Not this time.
It was so great to reflect on some of my goals and what I was into at that particular time. How my physical goals have changed from running a half marathon and now I’m racing mountain bikes. Saving for Boobs had been on my list, but 2 years later decided they would be a “BIG” pain and get in the way of my physical fitness goals. How many classes I wanted to finish to gain my high school diploma and how that goal came true in it’s entirety in 2012 when I graduated!
From knitting a blanket (yes, it’s still on there after three years) to completing a Shutterfly book. From spiritual goals that were met to eating right. It has been wonderful to reflect and introspect and ruminate over goals accomplished, goals that turned out not as important as I had thought in the moment and just how I’ve grown over the last 8 years while navigating my 40’s. A crazy, mixed-up, wonderful, growth of a ride for sure.
Now it’s your turn:
- What are some goals that were important to you at the time, but turned out less important as years passed?
- What did you spend time on and wished you hadn’t? Now vice versa…wish you had spent more time on, but didn’t?
- Accomplished any bucket list items lately? Can you add one this year?
- Are your goals attainable within a specific time frame?
Now that you’ve Dreamed Big, and done a little Reflection, tune in next week to figure out how you can attain your goals by getting them into Bite-Size Chunks.
Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know all about your goals and how your reflection of past goals have been for you.
Love hearing from you!
By Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoA Story of My Best Friend’s DepressionThe Back Story
Have you ever had one of those days? Or maybe one of those weeks, or months, or a year? How about multiple years? Well, this is a story of my most precious friend in the entire world who was in his second year of things not going well at all and me being in such a dilemma watching him suffer that I just had to figure out some way to help. My best friend is my husband and he was drowning.The back story all started when his mom passed away in March of 2014. No, I think it actually began around December of 2013 so let’s begin there. Our family-owned business was doing great! While we are a very small company, we had always seen an increase every year or at least stayed level, even during the recession. We had been in business for ten years and decided it was time to expand our space. We spent quite a bit of money with upgrades and of course the new rent amount, double the utility bills…you get the picture. Not two months later everything stopped. Quite literally stopped. I swear that our clients were abducted by aliens and left the planet for at least six months. Business was that bad. That’s enough to cause anyone stress, right?Enter mom falling again and going into the hospital. She was in ICU for awhile, began to get better, was moved to the rehab facility that we didn’t like much and during this whole transition, my hubby contracted bronchitis. Not only is bronchitis a knock-down, drag-out illness, but it rendered him unable to visit his mom for fear of getting her sick in her current condition. While he was on the mend with crazy antibiotics and rest, mom took a turn for the worst while still in rehab by catching a deadly form of pneumonia that put her back in ICU to what would become a fight for her life that she was unable to win.Not only was business bad and he was sick, but his mom had passed away which is always a heart-wrenching thing. He was close to his mom, taking her out to dinner on Wednesday nights and us having family dinner with her and the rest of the family every Sunday. While after 5 weeks of her being in the hospital it wasn’t completely unexpected, it changed everything.A couple months of sadness pass and we enter the summer months. Business still isn’t going as well as we would like and while his mom and dad had a trust (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) so that things run more smoothly, you still have to take care of things…lots of things. Bank accounts, the house, furniture, knick-knacks, jewelry, the dog, and enough Christmas decorations to light up the White House…you get the idea. That’s when the shingles hit. More antibiotics, more rest.Then come your first set of holidays without your mom with whom you’ve spent every Christmas with the exception of maybe one or two from the time you were born. No one feels like celebrating, much less decorating, even if you have White House worthy decorations. That can just be tough. Really tough…more depression.
January rolls around and he feels a little ambitious. The business picks up just a tad and he starts riding his bike again, but this time he isn’t recovering very well. Gym workouts? Same thing. Sore for too many days than you should be sore. He hates going to the doctor so he toughs it out for a few months to around the one-year anniversary of his mom passing and takes a little fall on his bike. Nothing major, just a little “owie” on his elbow that starts to get better until about two weeks after when the scab gets bumped off and it gets infected. So infected that his one arm looks like Popeye (no joke!) and of course we were out of town so you end up at an unfamiliar urgent care. Dual shots of antibiotics in both butt cheeks (writhing on the bed kind of pain for those shots!) and oral antibiotics just for kicks….let’s just knock this out along with any good flora you might have had left in your intestines up until now.That was the last straw. He felt so miserable, so depressed, couldn’t work out, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I imagine that this is the definition of a permanent funk that just won’t go away. It was awful to watch. It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried to “pump him up” as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say…it just wasn’t enough. I felt completely helpless as to how to help.
As a last ditch effort, we tried what I call a “voodoo doctor”. Tons of blood tests run, loads of supplements taken (and when I say loads…I mean LOADS), more blood tests in certain intervals. No dice. My man was shot so full of holes you could strain spaghetti through him. His body had been hurt multiple times, his heart hurt over the loss of his mother, he couldn’t work out because it was debilitating which left his self-esteem in the toilet, and work wasn’t altogether going well either. Sleep was the order of the day and the more of it the better. I had to do something!The Physical Plan
I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, have taken classes through Dr. John McDougall and received a certificate in plant-based nutrition through eCornell University. I started researching everything I could about healing your immune system while my husband started reading books on the subject. While there is a ton of information out there and only varied opinions on the subject, we made a plan to repair his health.We started a 5-day juice fast following the incredible recipes out there by Joe Cross from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. (He has the best ones out there, hands down…although anything that juices a turnip ends up like smelly gym socks or disgusting body odor, so I don’t recommend anything with turnips in it!). Admittedly, after day 2 we were so sluggish that we decided to add a light, healthy dinner as we just couldn’t function at work without more food in our guts, it was wonderful and it made me feel great! It was the perfect re-boot for our bodies.We then followed up with a 21-day elimination diet that took out known trigger foods. All that means is that while you may not have a specific allergy to a food, you could have some sort of reactions to particular foods. We eliminated gluten products, corn, and soy because while they recommend also nixing dairy, we are already vegan so no worries there!We then followed that up with a 2-week round of Arbonne’s pre-biotic/pro-biotic packets once per day. Needless to say…it worked! While it took several months to re-gain strength and endurance (imagine not working out for 18 months…you’re a bit out of shape), but he’s doing fantastically well physically. He’s not 100% yet as I can still beat him uphill on a mountain bike, but he’s sticking right with me now so I know it’s only a matter of time before he will be kicking my rear end again!The Emotional PlanWhat happened with the emotional part, though? I can hardly wait to tell you! This is by far the most interesting and fun endeavor I’ve undertaken…all in the name of love and hope! I call it Eddy’s 60 Days of Sunshine and it brought my hubby’s soul back from the dead…literally. (You can download it for FREE when you sign up for my weekly emails on my website HERE)I got to thinking that the only way to reverse engineer something is to do the opposite of what got you there in the first place. The negativity had built up over a period of time. It snuck in until it had taken over the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body. While we had fixed the physical part which in turn helped the mental state, the emotional and spiritual still needed a tune-up.Enter a plan that included friends and family. I printed out 2 months worth of calendars for a total of 60 days and made a list of all friends and family members I could think of that cared about my best friend. The list totaled over 80 people. I then started making phone calls, texting, Facebook messaging all of them. I assigned one person each one day and the only guidance I gave them was to just check in, see how he was doing and let him know they cared and loved him and why.At first I decided not to tell him what was happening. Let’s just say that he was so far down what he would later call a “wormhole” that he didn’t even figure it out or get suspicious until day 16! Day 16!! I was at my mom’s and out of town for the weekend when he called me and I had to confess what I was doing. When I told him it was day 16 he was flabbergasted. I had to tell him who had been assigned which day just to convince him.He will admit that at first it seemed a bit saddening to learn it wasn’t the “universe” just reaching out to him in his time of need, but I figured we are instruments in the Lord’s hands and he has a lot to do so he uses us to answer others prayers for help. Even if they don’t realize they need the help.Some sent him texts or emails. Some took him to lunch or dinner. Some called and visited for an hour. It was an awesome experience to watch that much love being shown for one individual. And you know what? It worked! The 60 days ended with a trip up to San Francisco for him to play a golf tournament with his buddies and visit old friends. The perfect ending to a perfect 60 days.
My only dilemma as the days were coming to an end was how to keep the love going. I created a Facebook page dedicated to him and invited all of his friends to post about their experience they had on their assigned day. On day 60, I added my hubby to the group and he was able to read their messages. He will then be able to go back and read them when he’s feeling blue. He is also more connected to some long, lost friendships that had needed some attention.The best side effect getting out of this depression was the reaction from the friends and family I had asked to participate. I did not anticipate the good will felt, the love felt of service being rendered. The gratitude of those people that they were made a part of something bigger that quite literally saved a life.Today I am grateful again for my husband who supports me in all I do, even if it’s off-your-rocker kinda crazy (which lots of my ideas are). I am grateful to all who pitched in to make this project work. I am grateful to my daughter who would help me text and make some calls while we ran errands to set up the next week’s participants. It worked!You can listen to Eddy’s side of this story by going to Apple Podcasts, Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, Episode #011.While I am not a clinical psychologist and you should seek professional help if you are depressed,this worked for us and I am so happy it did.