You probably already know what stops you from achieving your health and fitness goals: nutrition or lack of healthy nutrition habits. Most likely you know what you should be doing but for some reason when it comes to making the choice you pick the wrong one.
Bad habits, especially nutrition related ones interrupt your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals, not to mention the time and energy you’re wasting by feeling guilty afterwards.
From personal experience and after watching clients breaking through their barriers all I can say that I may not know all the answers, but there is a way for everybody to change those habits, you just need to find one that works for you. Here are 3 steps to finding what keeps you practicing your bad nutrition habits and how to overcome them.
Step 1. Find the cause
Finding the real reason behind your damaging nutrition habits is the very first step towards breaking free and enjoying a healthier life. Sometimes it’s just everyday stress, sometimes there is a deeper problem that causes frustration and manifests in self-harming habits.
Are there certain beliefs or reasons behind your habit? Has something happened in your childhood that triggered a life-long fear or limiting belief? Have you attached strong emotions to a certain way of eating that you are following just out of unconscious decisions to seek or avoid those emotions?
Facing these issues can be tough and can cause more pain short term, however after having dealt with the real root cause you will feel like a big rock has been lifted off your chest. You may need outside help to do this depending on the situation.
Step 2. Create healthy habits to replace the bad ones
All the nutrition habits you have right now, one way or other are in your life to serve a purpose and have their benefits, even if they are damaging your health. Things like grabbing fast food saves you time in the kitchen, however if you practice that daily, and don’t get nutrients from other sources, your energy levels and mood will suffer.
Because they have their benefits, trying to eliminate a bad habit may work for short-term, but on a more stressful week, you will fall back into your old habits if you haven’t developed new ones to deal with life. Try to find new habits to replace the old ones and practice them consistently until they become part of your routine and you don’t need to think about them anymore.
Example: instead of picking up a meal from a fast food restaurant, find alternatives where they serve healthier meal just as quick, like a coffee shop with salads and wraps or even a grocery store with healthier ready-made salads, most big chains are becoming better at this.
Step 3. Break the habit
Now, after identifying the root cause and finding habits that can replace the old ones, all you need to do is to start practicing. There are methods to help you stay on track whilst coming out of your comfort zone, so let’s see what you can do to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon or if so, only temporarily.
Cut out as many triggers as possible
There may be several small things that can trigger your bad habits. Like having a cigarette after a main meal or with coffee can become a routine, having a dessert after main meals, or eating pub food when having a beer, having sweet cravings at the same time of the day can also be something to consider.
Identify your triggers and create strategies to prevent them. Example: have your beer at home in the garden with home-made burgers and fries, have healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts ready at the time of the day when your cravings are likely to kick in or have a hot drink or a piece of fruit for dessert instead of cake.
Surround yourself with people who already are living the way you’d like to live to keep you motivated. This doesn’t mean to stop seeing your friends but there is no harm in getting to know new people, join a group exercise session or a club where people have similar goals and willing to make the sacrifices you are about to make.
Visualise yourself succeeding
You may or may not believe this works, but there is a whole lot of literature available on visualisation techniques for various goals. The good thing in this method is that you only need to close your eyes, imagine yourself looking the way you want to look, doing things you’d like to do and feeling as happy as you want to be. It takes only a little time, can cause no harm to anybody whilst if it works, you win. You have nothing to lose.
Plan for failure
Yes, you read that right. Nothing and nobody is perfect, there will be slips on the way. The key is not perfection but consistency. If you slip, shake it off and make the decision to keep to the plan the minute after.
Example: Did you end up having a slice of cake after dinner? Brush your teeth, go to bed and fall asleep knowing that after getting up you’ll be back at yourself practicing your new, good habits. No guilt, no self-talk.
If you’re not sure where you’re going wrong, just start tracking everything to put into your mouth: what time, how much, how often, even drinks just for a few days so you can see everything in writing. Believe me, once you see it all on a piece of paper, you will know where to start. If you’re stuck, just give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help.
My name is Calumn, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to be a part of the bigger community join my Facebook group, Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.