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By Lauri Mackey — 2 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 Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoI was asked to speak at a small women’s event and thought I would share my thoughts on this most important subject. Start by watching this amazing YouTube video about The Jewel by clicking on this link:My birthday is right close to Valentine’s Day. What that means is as I was growing up my seven brothers and one sister would be taken to the store to buy gifts for me and that the selection at Thrifty’s was mostly focused around the this holiday. I would receive an extra large Hershey Kiss, teddy bears with hearts on them, heart-shaped pillows, you get the idea. Some brothers would go in and buy something together, but one particular year, my older brother bought me something just from him. He then proceeded to wrap that gift in a brown paper grocery bag. No wrapping paper, no ribbon or bows, no card, a brown paper bag.At first I was disappointed at the lack of time taken for my special day and was even a bit taken aback by this notion of not having my present wrapped properly. This thought quickly left as I opened the gift to see what was inside. The moment I removed the “wrapping paper”, I was blessed with a beautiful gift and promptly forgot about the ugly brown paper bag it had come in.Why are we so critical of the gift wrap when we know that something beautiful is inside?I have seen even little girls be critical of each other. As teenagers it’s worse. You might have a great sense of self and high self-esteem and then someone says something critical to you and the doubt easily sets in. We then move into our 20’s and 30’s and for some of us that means child-bearing years. Bearing a child is a beautiful endeavor, but it can leave rips and tears in our gift wrap that we forget to see as beautiful battle scars of the least selfish act in the universe. If we are lucky enough to live through our 40’s and longer, gravity becomes your enemy and your metabolism goes in the toilet. A bitter pill to swallow.My gift wrap has changed over the years. I came into this world with the biggest chubby cheeks you can imagine. I didn’t like the dirt and when I crawled would literally stop and brush my hand off each “step”, which is ironic considering I mountain bike in the dirt all the time now. I’ve broken bones, had a million different haircuts and lots of crazy clothes as I was a product of the 80’s. I have given birth to three kids, been overweight and underweight, been in shape and out of shape, have worn make-up and haven’t worn make-up, got a tattoo, and have finally embraced my gray as I’m now a full-fledged Gram with 2 beautiful grandkids. My gift wrap has seen some serious travels.I recently have been studying and pondering women and positivity. I’m so dedicated to this cause that I quit my full time position in a business my husband and I own to pursue a way to help women be more positive by taking practical steps in their lives. I created a this blog to put my thoughts out into the world. I created Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, A Positivity Podcast for Women to bring help into the women adventuring into the next chapter of their lives. I wrote a book last year called Positivity Happens – all in the name of trying to uplift, inspire and bring hope to women. I sometimes just look for things to laugh about because a good belly laugh is always a good thing. In this pursuit I have learned a few things about myself.Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:
We are all in a different stage of life and have diverse types and colors and patterns of gift wrap. It would be rather dull and boring if all of our gift wrap was the same, wouldn’t it? Let me propose that whatever gift wrap you are currently wearing that it is perfect and unique to you. Wherever you are is exactly where we are supposed to be. What if you don’t like the situation you are currently in? I give you the words ofJeffrey R Holland:Don’t give up, don’t you quit.You keep walking, you keep trying.There is help and happiness ahead.It will all be all right in the end.Trust God and believe in good things to come.There is a jewel in each of you. Jewels are only made through some sort of adversity. Did you know that diamonds are formed at a crazy high temperature and pressure 87 to 118 miles down in the earth’s mantle? The growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3 billion years! Amethyst is formed in gas cavities of lava! Lava! Rubies are formed only when there is a small impurity of chemicals in just the right atmosphere. Emeralds are created when exposed to extreme hot water, cooled down and then passed through hot water again. LAVA HOT WATER from what my studies found. Pearls are formed only when a grain of sand is embedded into a mollusk. Then in self defense, the mollusk creates layer after layer of mother-of-pearl until the iridescent gem is formed.Now I am not suggesting that we need to seek out tough times to cultivate our jewel within. What I am saying is that nobody’s life or gift wrap is perfect, but that our jewel within is being created for the eternities. We are not earthly beings have a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. Be proud of your gift wrap, be patient with your adversities and challenges, be happy knowing that God knows you personally and has always seen the jewel within. Cultivate your jewel by seeing the good in yourself. Try to be more cheerful and positive. Have hope that things will be all right in the end because they will. Trust in God and in the good things to come. Be happy and then share your happiness with others so that their jewels can also be cultivated.Would love to hear from you about this article! Please leave a comment – I read every single one!
- My soul is young and eternal. My inside doesn’t feel old. I feel young as a puppy playing with a new toy.
- I am the only one who can do my job here on earth. There is no one else like me. I am as unique as a snowflake and the world needs me.
- My experiences have refined who I am. I have laughed, cried, been vexed in love, worried, fretted, been cheerful and full of happiness. Not all of my choices have been good ones, but even the poor choices have helped mold me into who I am today.
- I can change my attitude and outlook on life. I can gain new perspectives, learn new tricks, and change the things I want to change to create a better me. Being happy is a learned trait.
- If I am ever in doubt of my divine nature, I simply need to say a prayer and my Heavenly Father assures me of my infinite worth with his sweet spirit. He knows my fears, he knows my dreams, he knows who I am and who I am becoming. He has been forced to be a patient teacher with me as his student.
By Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoA Letter to My GramBeing Sad and MadOur name for her was “Gram”. She was my mother’s mother who was born September 3rd, 1926 and adopted from an orphanage in Los Angeles when she was 5 years old. Her adoption records are sealed and so we might never know who her birth parents were, but the couple that adopted her were ever so kind and she grew up with loving parents in a beautiful home with lots of opportunities.She married, had four children, two girls and then two boys with a big gap between the girls and boys. For example, my uncle was in kindergarten when I was born and he had to bring something to class that started with the letter ‘B’. He brought me because I was a baby! She had a love for horses, dogs, and cats and made the best snickerdoodles you ever tasted. She always had cars that were fast and usually red even though she didn’t drive them fast. She didn’t have a lot to say, but I loved it when she laughed.Her house was always neat as a pin. We visited her more often as children and she always came to our house for Christmas bringing McDonald’s gift certificates for all of us. I have pictures of her at a few special occasions such as my 8th grade graduation and when I was first married. I remember meeting her for lunch at the Smorgy or The Depot in Oroville, CA for lunch.She was not what I would call a playful grandma like my mother is now for her grandchildren. In truth, it is because my Gram was not very involved that I believe my mother has been so determined to be in her grandchildren’s lives and is doing an incredible job…she makes me exhausted! Being a new Gram myself, I appreciate her efforts even more.This last Sunday morning I received news that my Gram had passed away. I was surprised that I was sad. I was more surprised that I was mad. Over the last 15 or so years, my Gram had alienated every single one of her family members and any friends she may have had.I am mostly sad over the years that were already lost. I am mad that she let this happen. I am confused because I simply don’t understand it all. I’ve sent birthday cards every year, emailing her on her birthday as well. I sent Christmas cards, all with no response.There will not be a funeral, no one would come. She pre-paid to be cremated and have her ashes spread over the fields where some wild horses roam around the place she last lived.In the wake of her passing the last few days, I have thought much about the circumstances that brought her to such a sad place. How awful it must have been to lead such a small and selfish life. It also got me thinking about all the good she brought into this world.She was an excellent mother to her children. She sewed beautiful dresses for my mom and aunt. She took them on camping trips and supported them in all they did. My aunt had excellent advice to remember her how she was and not who she became. On that note, I add a story she wrote to her granddaughters when I was 12 years old. It shows how much she cared in those days to be a wonderful Gram.She was my last living grandparent. I am her first grandchild and oldest granddaughter. I am here because she lived. I am grateful for her love of life in her younger years. I am grateful for her quiet moments. I am grateful for the afghan she crocheted for me. I am grateful for a couple pieces of jewelry she thought to give me about 20 years ago. I am grateful for her talent in the kitchen and what I hope I have inherited of her talent for storytelling.Thank you for being patient as I write this on my blog this week. I promise to have some more uplifting thoughts next week, but such as in life, there are ups and downs. Please take a moment after reading my Gram’s little story, The Day My Dolls Danced, and get in touch with someone you haven’t talked to in much too long. You know who it is…please do it. Leave a mark…no, leave a legacy.May 13, 1983To my sweet granddaughters: Lauri, Holly, Heather & Sarah.In this, the Springtime of your lives, may you still enjoy a fairytale.Much love from your “Gram”
THE DAY MY DOLLS DANCEDIt had been a long and busy day but the house sparkled and the clothes were washed and put away. There was an apple pie fresh from the oven, warm and spicy, for special dessert that evening. There was some time left before I needed to start dinner so I decided to take a little rest. I went into my bedroom, took off my shoes, closed the drapes and lay down on the bed.As I always do before closing my eyes, I looked at each of my little dolls, 14 in all, that stood on the shelf above my vanity. There was another larger doll that stood on the vanity. They were all dressed elegantly in long gowns of pink, blue, green, yellow, and lavender and I had given each of them a name; Jasmine from Japan, Heidi from Holland, my Irish girl Colleen, Cherie from France, Ann from Israel. Joining them were Leah, Honey, April, Sarah, Shirley, Lauri, Heather, Sunshine, Holly and my tall Southern Belle – Elaine. They were my little girls, dainty and sweet and beautiful.My eyelids grew heavy and just as I was drifting off to sleep I heard faint tapping sounds coming from where my dolls stood on the shelf. To my astonishment, the tiny ladies had come to life and are taking off their shoes! I wondered if perhaps I were dreaming but I lay very still and waited to see what would happen next.After each girl had removed her shoes she placed them side-by-side in the exact place that she stood on the shelf. Then one-by-one they tiptoed to the ends of the shelf and let themselves down the turned posts on either side of the mirror to the vanity below. Each girl in turn went to a small cart of silk flowers that stood on the table, selected a flower that matched the color of her gown, and laid it at the feet of Elaine, as though she were their queen. Elaine smiled and nodded to each lady in acceptance of their tributes.After their acknowledgement to their queen, the girls became carefree and playful, darting among the bottles of perfume and playing hide-and-seek with one another. While they were occupied with their games, I very quietly turned on my radio to music that seemed to match their bright spirits. They were startled and seemed almost fearful at the sound. Then, quite suddenly, my vanity became their stage and I was about to become an audience of one at a Ballet of the Dolls!Their tiny bodies moved with charm and grace and their joy at dancing was reflected in the sweetness of their faces. I was completely absorbed in the performance when suddenly, outside, a dog barked rudely. The dancing ended abruptly and the little ladies glanced my way, but I stayed very still. I was hoping they would decide it was safe to continue to dance, but the spell was broken. They scurried to put everything back into proper order. One-by-one, they returned to their Queen Elaine, curtsied and picked up the flowers and put them back in the cart, then made their way up the turned posts to the shelf. Each girl returned to her own pair of shoes, slipped them on, smoothed her gown and hair, smiled sweetly at their queen, then became motionless once again.Quietly I turned off the radio and marveled at the sight I had just been privileged to see, and hope that sometime I will see them come to life and play and dance on my vanity once again. Perhaps I had just dreamed the whole interlude. It would be quite fantastic to see dolls come to life and dance on the vanity. It must have been my imagination working overtime.Several days passed and one evening as I prepared for bed, I noticed a tiny object lying on my vanity. I picked it up and discovered that it was a shoe! I was very excited because I realized that I hadn’t been dreaming and it wasn’t my imagination and that my little ladies did really come to life after all! I laid the tiny shoe carefully on the shelf above, turned off the light and went to bed. I wondered if, perhaps, they would dance this night.The next day was house-cleaning time and as I reached up to dust the shelf where my girls stood, the little shoe was not there! I carefully picked up each doll and to my amazement, their shoes were all on their feet! They had indeed come to life and danced again while I slept. I felt a little sad that I hadn’t seem them. However, my ladies had known that once I had watched them dance and play, for as I turned to dust my radio, there, lying on the top was a lovely silk flower, a gift from my little girls!