Forming Clean Eating Habits

January is coming to a close and if you resolved to make lifestyle changes for 2016, such as diet and exercise, and have actually done so, congratulate yourself!! You might have heard that it takes 14-21 days of repeating a routine for it to stick as a habit. Actually this well circulated myth might be off the mark. Forming a habit is a process that does take time, so when we hear that it can be done in 2-3 weeks it seems achievable. The truth is, it can take longer depending on the behavior you’re trying to change. Take going to the gym for example. Just ask any regular year-round gym goer and they will tell you that January is busting at the seams. By the end of January, there is already a marked decrease. By mid February things get back to “normal”. According to a 2009 study by researchers at University College London, it takes about 66 days to form a new habit, and some behaviors may take longer.
A habitual lifestyle of clean eating is far different than mastering a habit like making your bed every morning. Eating is emotional for most of us; both positive and negative emotions are tied to food and our reaction to it. Years of sabotaging behavior can hold us back from achieving a clean eating lifestyle. We need to examine and recognize triggers and situations that impede that progress.
Creating a clean eating lifestyle can be compared to training for a marathon. A person doesn’t go out on the first day of training and run 26.2 miles! No, they start slow and build strength and endurance. If you’ve embarked on transforming your eating habits, don’t give up if you slip up. Part of the journey is finding strategies to get you back on track. habits-keepgoing
At Got Fit? Nutrition, I take the role of “coach” and encourage my clients to gather a TEAM of those closest to them to support their new changes. Having people in your life to encourage you, as well as keep you accountable is HUGE! Emotional attachments to food and eating habits are hard to overcome on your own. No one is perfect and no one makes 100% perfect choices but frequently succumbing to the draw of a “trigger” food such as chocolate, alcohol or Mexican food out with your friends will derail the best of plans. However, having a TEAM to help you through it, chances are significantly better that you will succeed! When a client has cravings for certain foods, I help them research how that food can be recreated in a healthy way. Recreate a Snickers bar you say? Well, it won’t be exactly the same but the idea is to break the cycle of sugar addiction without a feeling of deprivation. The key here is working to make a change and realizing that it wasn’t as difficult as you thought. A negative mindset and failures from the past are like a ball and chain. Once that relationship is severed there is nothing that can stop a determined and dedicated person. Looser fitting clothes, more energy and for some, better blood work results, are benefits reaped along the way!
Planning and prepping is one of the biggest keys to success! Ever week I hear “I wanted to eat healthy but I didn’t have anything healthy with me so I went to the drive-thru…I had no choice!” I help you create CHOICE. After I meet initially with a new client and give them a meal plan to reach their first goal, their homework is to shop, cook and pack what they need. This can be overwhelming at first for some, so I not only provide a method to streamline the process, but I also can provide access to someone to do the shopping and prepping for them until they can get their head wrapped around it. Just like training for that marathon, the more you run the more efficient your heart becomes and the easier it is.
As we slip into February I encourage you to start your training towards setting goals, making better choices and putting more movement into each day. Gather your TEAM and plan and prep. Meal plan for a week and see how much easier it is to make healthy choices!
If you need help in any of these areas or are looking for an accountability partner/coach, I am here to help you!
Feel free to contact me for your personalized plan.