Obstacles to eating healthy…and how to conquer them

I've been having a lot of conversations lately, asking people what their one main obstacle is to eating healthier.  I've compiled the following list of their responses:

  1. Not knowing what "healthy" means. This is by far the biggest concern.  There is so much information out there on what is healthy -- is it low calorie?  Is it low fat?  Is it vegan and/or gluten free?  Is it Paleo?  The best way to navigate through all these health crazes is to eat REAL FOOD.  Single ingredient foods are best, preferably as close to its natural form as possible.  For example, raw tomatoes are better than canned tomatoes and whole apples are better than apple juice.  I prefer to avoid meat and dairy, but I'd rather see people eat a steak than a bag of Doritos.  Bottom line: FOOD is GOOD.
  2. Not knowing how to prepare veggies the right way. There are countless sites and cookbooks dedicated to healthy real food dishes that can be easily prepared.  It can seem intimidating at first, and you will probably make some nasty meals along the way, but if you can find about 14 favorites you can rotate them and not get bored.  If you're concerned about how much time it takes to prepare a meal from scratch, make double and freeze.  Planning ahead can be a huge lifesaver.  For a great primer on how to cook veggies, click here.
  3. Not wanting to give up their favorite foods. Most traditional snack foods have healthier alternatives.  There are a lot of things that I have had to give up along the way, however, and I do understand.  My nickname in my 20s was "CC" because I loved me some candy corn.  I ate BAGS and BAGS every fall and even decorated my cubicle at work with candy corns.  But when I started changing my diet, I lost the craving for it.  Completely.  And if I can give up a serious addiction to candy, anyone can.
  4. Not wanting to start something and then fail. It can be very discouraging to start on a healthy path and then whoops pass by a Starbucks and accidentally buy a pumpkin spice latte.  And there's a sale on Duncan Hines.  Oh and it's rude to not eat birthday cake at a party, right?  Back to square one?  Not exactly!  Remember it's all about progress, not perfection.  Every positive choice you make gets you closer to your goals; it's better to try and fail then never to try at all!  Find a partner to hold you accountable, and make it fun!  Don't give up, you can DO this!!
  5. Not wanting to have to be "that person" at the party who is only eating carrot sticks. Yes, I am usually that person.  But when I talk one on one with people, they all say they wish they could make healthier choices, too.  So why don't we go against the crowd and be positive peer pressure for each other?  Sure, it's way funnier to joke about the entire carton of ice cream you ate over the weekend than to share pictures of your salad.  But why?  Why is harmful behavior seen as humorous when we should be caring enough to encourage each other?  For example, why is it considered ok to point at a skinny person and say, "oh I hate her, she's probably a horrible person"?  Why not say, "wow, she looks great, I'm totally going to look like that!!"
    Fruit and veggie kabobs

    My best friend serves healthy food at her parties!  Aren't these beautiful???

  6. Wanting a quick fix, not a huge lifestyle upheaval.  Picture this: you're 50 lbs overweight, and you are faced with two choices.  One, a diet that promises weight loss of 10 lbs a week! Yay, I can be skinny by next month!  Or two, a diet that promises better health.  Yawn.  I totally understand that dilemma.  I have been there.  I've counted calories, I've taken supplements that detox, speed up metabolism, and stifle appetite.  Sure, they worked temporarily, but I was miserable!  I was hungry!!!!  And I still had the health issues such as acne, trouble sleeping, sinus infections, etc.  Skinny does NOT equal healthy.  But a healthy lifestyle will help you lose weight the right way, the sustainable way, and without feeling hungry!  Check out our new 30-day eating plan if you are looking to lose weight and get healthy all at the same time.
  7. Not wanting to break the bank to eat healthier. Isn't it expensive to eat healthy??  Surprisingly, it's actually much cheaper.  Prepared, processed meals are up to three times more expensive than if you prepared it all from scratch.  Instant oatmeal may run you $3-5 a box, while whole oats are much more cost-effective.  I've actually written an e-book on how to eat healthy on a budget at Costco.  The prices have increased slightly since I wrote it, but we are still keeping our food budget for five at or under $200 a week.
  8. Not fully understanding WHY healthy is better. I spent the better part of my 20s hoping that my doctor would tell me I was suffering from some kind of syndrome that would explain all of my bothersome symptoms (acne, insomnia, constipation, weight gain, etc.).  I just wanted a drug that would make them all vanish.  Turns out it wasn't a drug I needed, it was food!  So what would healthy look like to you?  What would it mean to you to have more energy, a stronger immune system, and glowing skin?  What about how healthy would look in your children?  Watching my children make healthier choices warms my heart and encourages me so much, it's worth all the effort!

What are your obstacles to eating healthier?  I'd love to hear from you!

 

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