Samantha Russell

3 Foolproof Ways to Eating Healthy by Samantha Russell

Samantha Russell, Live The Whole

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

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Resonates with you, and

Time-managed.

 

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!

Negative Self-Talk

Negative Self-Talk

Ditch the Negative Self-Talk by Listening to Your Best Friend

It took some practice to put this theory into motion for me, but like I always say, “if I can do it, anyone can do it!”  I have issues with negative self-talk about my weight.  I am not overweight, but I am hyper-conscious about my body shape.  I am a grandmother after all and body parts that were once perky are now sadly stretching for the ground and have declared gravity as their best friend.  As a friend of mine used to say, (who has since passed on, losing her battle with cancer), “I used to be a 36D, but now I’m just a 36Long”.  Once I applied the “best friend advice” theory however, – it helped me start down the path of positive self-talk and ditch the negative Nelly ones.  Let’s try it out, shall we?
Take the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to your own personal negative self-talk.  It could be anything, but usually you are able to think about it right away because it has been your constant companion for as long as you can remember.  Now I want you to imagine that you’ve graciously gifted this negative thing or idea to your best friend.  She is now you.  (This works great if you do this in front of a mirror).  Your best friend is now telling you that she hates the shape of her body and that dimples are only cute on baby bums, and that rolls are meant to be eaten not worn.  What do you tell her?
To put this in context, let me share an experience.  I recently did this exercise in a group of about 40 women and I had the leader of the group as my “best friend”.  She was telling me how she was overweight and hated the way she fit in her clothes.  I then asked the audience what advice should I give her?  I panicked as the silence dragged on for just a little bit longer than anticipated.  I worried that people would actually start giving advice on weight loss ideas, diets that never really work, to fast, or to exercise like a maniac.  One woman in the front row saved me with the perfect answer:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!  There have not been a lot of perfect moments in my speaking career, but this one I will always remember.  She said the answer that I had written down in my notes and she said it out loud and clear:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  I have given this talk several times since I originally wrote this blog and guess what?  The first answer is ALWAYS – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Ladies, try it out right this second.  Take that negative self-talk and hand it over to yourself as your own best friend.  What advice would you give that best friend?  It changed the way I view myself forever.  I am beautiful.  And not in some egotistical way, but truly beautiful inside and out.  Why?  Because that is how my  husband sees me, how my children see me, and how my best friend sees me – and now?  How I see myself.  My best friends would all come and tell me the same thing – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Want to dive deeper into how negative self-talk relates to over-eating?  Jump on over to my friend, Samantha Russell’s blog where she even offers a free downloadable workshop for you!
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