How to stick to a diet?

How to stick to a diet?

Why is it so hard to stick to a diet and not cheat? Many fad diets that claim to work are not sustainable for the long-term. They come with many rules and restrictions that often backfire. Most do not stick with a diet for long even if they see initial results. Have you been on a diet, come close to your goal, and then found yourself going backward?

Help! I keep cheating on my diet.

You are not alone. This is a very common phenomenon for dieters. They are really diligent about following the rules of their diet, but then something happens. They get invited out to eat, they have a stressful day, or they succumb to the temptation of the sweets sitting out on the counter. Then they feel awful, defeated, and like they have to start back at square one.

Finish Line Mentality

Even those who see great results from dieting can struggle to keep things going in the long term. Going on a diet can sometimes feel a bit like a race. You have an end goal in mind and you make changes to reach that goal, but the changes never become habits. At Well-Balanced Nutrition, we call this the finish line mentality.

A few years ago, I had the wonderful experience of participating in Toastmasters. My mentor in the group encouraged me to earn the competent communicator title which required that I give 10 speeches. It was quite exciting. I was time planning, practicing, and presenting a new speech nearly every month. I felt more confident and competent by the end of that year. Then I stopped going to Toastmasters… Luckily for me, I still enjoy practicing and doing public speaking events; however, I stopped gaining new skills and feeling as confident as I did while attending the meetings. This is an example of reaching the “finish line.”

It’s not you, it’s the diet.

Going on diet-after-diet can start to feel like a wild roller coaster ride. At times it’s fun and exciting, but more often it leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated. I bet you could ask a friend or coworker and they would explain this has happened to them too.

Maybe, you thought this time is different and you were not just going on a diet but making a lifestyle, yet you fell off the wagon anyway. Whenever someone takes on a new way of eating we remind people that wellness is an ongoing journey. Making small, attainable changes that can turn into long-term habits is the best approach to reaching your health and wellness goals and that requires continued effort and growth.

 What to do instead of dieting?

Not surprisingly, we recommend the Well-Balanced Way. This includes a few steps you can start today!

  1. First, assess if you are falling victim to the diet mentality. It promises big results if you just keep your willpower strong. Unfortunately, will power is not a great source to rely on.
  2. Second, it is important to make the decision to ditch the diet approach and go another way. It may seem silly, but stating it out loud and/or writing down your goal is a very important step in the journey.
  3. Third, focus on your habits and your unique nutrition needs. Healthy habits are the things you do routinely that honor and serve every aspect of your health and well-being.

Food for thought:

A diet is not like an antibiotic. You do not go on a diet for a period of time to cure yourself of “fatness.” Instead, make the changes and choices that are going to serve you over the long-term and that honor your body.

Lucy Hayhurst

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I need to become in order to achieve this goal?
  • What resources do I need?
  • Who will be on my team?

Would you like a nutrition coach to help empower, educate, and encourage you? We are here to help.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Healthy Habits

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Healthy Habits

If you’ve been thinking lately “I could be healthier if only I wasn’t so lazy,” we’ve got just the guide for you. Below you will find a relatable story and the 3 steps to transform you from a lazy person to someone with momentum and healthier habits.                     

Recently, while talking with a busy small business owner, Kat Reher of Synergy Fitness for Her in Durham, Kat explained she would like to cook at home more consistently and states “but I’m just too lazy.”

To put things in perspective, this fun-loving, independent, and strong woman is not only running a fabulous fitness gym for women, but also is regularly adopting young kittens and helping find good homes for (or keeping) her furry friends. She may be up as early as 5 AM to help open the gym or cover a group fitness class then go to bed at 11 PM after wrapping up emails or other work tasks.

The point is, she is anything but lazy! We suspect the same is true for you.

Unless you’re living a life where you can lay on the sofa all day, not working, not making food for yourself or your family, and not cleaning up around the house you are probably quite busy and productive.

3 Steps To Overcome Lazy Vibes and Build Momentum

Stop calling yourself lazy.

It’s not helping you. As explained by Dr. Rick Hanson the author of Resilient, we all have an inner critic and an inner nurturer (or helper). Your inner critic is often louder than the nurturing voice. This critic is kind of mean and may sometimes call you fat, ugly, or lazy. It would be nice if we could just turn that voice off, but often the critic is stubborn and insists that if she was not there you’d be even worse. The key is to turn the volume down on this critical inner dialogue. Some find it helpful to say “cancel, cancel, cancel,” when the voice creeps in. Others, have a saying or mantra that turns the internal conversation around.

Find out why you’re *really* not doing what you say you want to do.

For instance, with our example above, Kat wants to prepare her own meals at home; however, she hates grocery shopping. The crowds and the abundance of choices are overwhelming and causes her to retreat to old habits like mac and cheese and chocolate ice cream. What is the biggest speed-bump or hurdle standing in the way of you making this change?

Identify how you prioritize.

If cooking dinner at home is important to you; however, you keep winding up in the fast food lane on the way home, convenience is driving your decision. Perhaps you haven’t yet mastered making quick and easy dinners at home and you don’t know where to start. It may also mean you are letting other things become a higher priority without stopping to think about it. We tend to do what we must do first, such as going to work, paying bills, feeding the kids, etc. The calendar then gets filled up with several other things squeezed in between. This often zaps our bandwidth or energy leaving us too drained to do the healthy habits we know are good for us.

Is it time to make a shift in your priorities or schedule? Are the things on your calendar truly what you want to prioritze? Are there new habits you could put on the calendar by first taking something off or breaking it down into baby steps? 

Sometimes, we are in a season that doesn’t allow for all the healthy habits that we want to have. If that is the case for you right now, become OK with good enough. Before your inner critic chimes in to say good enough is not enough, what if you were to cook dinner at least two times a week instead of once a month? Wouldn’t that be better? Focus on progress, not perfection.

How to stop being lazy and gain some momentum toward healthy habits

To sumarize, first, stop calling yourself lazy! Every time you catch yourself saying that, make an intentional shift to listen to your nurturing voice instead. Thinking of what you would say to your best friend if she came to you with the same issue that you’re having. What would you say to her?

Then, get to the bottom of what is really preventing you from the habit you want to create and brainstorm how to overcome that barrier. Lastly, take a look at what you prioritize in your life. Is it time to take ownership and control of how you spend your days? What if even a small shift in your priorities could make a big impact in your health?

Need more guidance or accountability with making that shift? We can help. Contact us today for your free complimentary coaching session 🙂 

Super Simple and Delicious Homemade Salsa

Super Simple and Delicious Homemade Salsa

It’s that time of year again! The longer warm days mean more time to play outside and less desire to spend hours in the kitchen. That’s why we love this simple salsa recipe to round out a taco salad for an easy meal or simply enjoy a with whole grain corn (or lentil) chips as a snack!

[mpprecipe-recipe:3804]

How can I eat well while traveling? Part 2

How can I eat well while traveling? Part 2

I’m usually pretty good at this but recently I fell apart.

It was crazy at my house for a few weeks in a row as we scrambled to get our house ready to be put on the market. The stress in my home was palpable and the to-do lists were endless between work, home, and kids. Our comforting routine was all out of sorts, which left me floundering.

Luckily, all the hard work paid off and the house was under contract before we knew it! That meant when we were away in Florida for vacation, we didn’t even need to worry about dealing with an open house or incoming offers. What a relief!

Bring on the relaxation

Warm weather, family time, and a blank to-do list had me feeling like….awhhhhhhh. I think I relaxed a little too much because, toward the end of the vacation, I wasn’t feeling too stellar. My diet was off track, my sleep was lacking (my kids always have a hard time sleeping in new places) and my physical activity level was embarrassing. I fell apart.

I knew I didn’t have to make it up, just make it back on track. On the way home from Florida I reflected on the lessons I learned and the expertise I could share with those who’ve been in a similar scenario or want to avoid getting thrown off track completely while away. This builds on the wisdom Lucy shared in part one about being picky and sticking to what works well for you.

Fun foods are fun, but only if they don’t stop the fun for YOU.

I reminded myself of what we remind the tribe all the time. Your diet doesn’t need to be perfect.  Annnnd there is a little more room (in my book) for fun foods while on vacation, because, well, it’s vacation! However, it doesn’t serve you to have so many fun foods that you feel terrible or wreck your goals. It can be a slippery slope here and only you can decide what feels like enough. Tapping into your intuitive eating skills can come in handy here.

I’ll give you an example. I went out to eat one night in Florida and I wanted to enjoy a cocktail. So I did. Unfortunately, cocktails can include a lot of juice or flavored syrups that make me feel sick. The one I ordered was delicious and fruity – but definitely loaded with sugar. That night when we got back to the house, I was offered another sugary adult beverage. It sounded fun at the time but I declined. I knew that it might be enjoyable for a little bit but not for long. The next day I’d likely have a headache and an upset stomach. That’s no good when you are headed to the beach!

Your body will usually tell you when you are overdoing it.

Sometimes we don’t end up saying no to that second drink or the dessert. That’s okay. Nothing to beat yourself up about, it happens. If your body responds in uncomfortable ways like feeling bloated, having indigestion, or not being able to sleep well, for example, don’t ignore those symptoms. Take those into consideration next time.

I know a few people who just push through those things and completely zone out from their body’s cues. Ignoring these signals can lead to health problems, weight gain and throwing off our well-being. Go ahead and tune in, take note, and know where to draw the line next time.

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies.

You know we love veggies at Well Balanced Nutrition and this will likely come to no surprise when I say…. you’ve got to find a way to fit in those veggies when on vacation. It is often the missing link!

Veggies give us fiber, water, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Without enough veggies you can be left with constipation and/or a big dose of excess calories. So here is all the ways I made vegetables a priority:

  1. We had some greens in the refrigerator that we took with us in a cooler so they wouldn’t go to waste while we were gone. When we stopped at Chick-fil-A, I carried in my stash of arugula and paired a small order of nuggets with it. Sorry, not sorry! It was the light and yummy meal I needed to get me through the car trip.
  2. Once we were there, my husband picked up a veggie tray from the grocery store. It was a simple way to make sure we had veggies that were easy to incorporate. Raw veggies and dip can be a great snack or round out lunch.
  3. Make an egg casserole for breakfast. I love egg dishes because you can make them ahead and sneak veggies in at breakfast. We made this breakfast casserole and even my dad who doesn’t dig most veggies, enjoyed it.
  4. Get an order of veggies on the side. I splurged on a pasta dish that was creamy and indulgent one night. From my experience, even when the description lists an array of vegetables in the dish, the ratio of pasta to veggies is sad. So I asked for a side of steamed veggies that I tossed into my pasta to bulk it up with veggies.
  5. If veggies are just really hard to find or get, focus on fiber-rich fruits like pears, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Make it back!

Vacations are awesome! If you come back from a vacation feeling worse than when you left, maybe it’s time to visit some of your habits while away. Being an intuitive eater, splurging in a smart way and fitting in those veggies, may help you come back refreshed and balanced.

How about you?

Do you remember a time when vacation got the best of you?

What tricks do you use to stay balanced while away?

Share in the comments below!

Meal Prep vs Food Prep? Either Way You Win

Meal Prep vs Food Prep? Either Way You Win

You know those pretty pictures you see on Instagram or Pinterest with someone’s meals prepared for the whole week? Maybe you think “wow, I should do that too.“

The Sunday meal prep phenomenon

Then after weeks of thinking about it, you buckle down one Sunday afternoon, spend 3 hours in the kitchen, and get the meals for the next 5-workdays chopped, prepped, cooked, and stored in individual containers. By Wednesday, you’re so over the brown rice, broccoli, and baked chicken that your favorite go-to takeout spots are looking better and better.

First of all, you’re not alone. This is completely normal. Our human brains thrive on a variety of nutrients; therefore, when we eat the same meal day-after-day, we get less pleasure each time we eat that dish. You may grin and bear it in an effort not to waste food (or the time you spent preparing the meals); however, consciously or subconsciously you may decide this meal prep thing just ain’t for you.

But I still want to eat at home more

Maybe eating the same meal(s) day-after-day did not pan out, but there are other options.

Last summer, I spoke with a client who decided to pull all of her favorite cookbooks out and prepare 3-4 new recipes each week. She came back a month later, feeling defeated, and expressed disappointment that she had only tried 2 new recipes total since our previous appointment. It turns out that she had a busy work schedule that included traveling at least two weeks out of the month and did not give her much downtime to try cooking new foods.

Together, we talked about options and solutions and I proposed she consider simplifying her food prep plans. All the recipes in cookbooks and Insta inspiration are great, but instead of thinking about preparing an entire meal we can start by incorporating food prep vs. meal prep.

What’s the difference between food prep and meal prep?

Whenever you think of a meal, I hope you picture the Well Balanced Nutrition plate, including half the plate filled with non-starchy vegetables (and/or fruits), happy protein, complex carbs, and a delicious fat to bring it all together.

I will admit, it can be overwhelming to think of incorporating all of the things, all the time. Each time you eat is an opportunity to practice becoming Well Balanced. Instead of preparing meals with every component of the plate, I recommend starting with food prep. This can include making 2-3 dishes that you can later mix-and-match to combine into a meal. For instance, you can prepare a few servings of chicken salad to eat with a simple mixed greens salad or sliced cucumber and whole grain crackers. There is almost always a batch of quinoa or rice in my fridge, which can easily turn into a power bowl or Brown Rice Salsa Salad.

Meal prep may look like this…

Food prep may look like this…

Food for thought

If you’ve been beating yourself up for not being a meal prep superstar this is a good chance to (1) be nice to yourself because we each need to figure out our own system. Next, (2) consider trying food prep instead of meal prep. Pick a few items you already feel confident preparing and try making those this week.

Not sure where to get started? No worries, we’re here to help 🙂