There are times when healthy eating is really hard for me. I know that eating real and whole foods consistently is good for my body, sleep and overall makes me feel my best. But it’s definitely not something that comes easy for me. It’s really hard.
It takes planning, a shift in mindset and focusing on why I want to eat healthy every single day. Over the years it has become easier, but it’s also something I work on daily.
It can be hard seeing people on social media especially sharing a salad everyday, eating super healthy, smiling … it seems like healthy eating is so easy for some people. So I want to share my struggles with healthy eating because maybe you can relate too? I truly believe that even though it’s hard, it’s SO worth it to consistently eat real, whole foods. ♥
So, here are some of the things and thoughts I’ve gone through during my journey that I’ve struggled with and how I moved past them. They’re struggles that I still have too.
Struggle #1: I used to have some really negative thoughts surrounding “healthy” that I worked hard to get rid of.
To be totally honest, for a long time I associated healthy eating with some BIG negative thoughts: gross vegetables, depriving myself, no treats, restrictive, too hard, not delicious … I’m not exactly sure where these thoughts came from, but they were there. Once I realized I had those negative associations, I knew it was something I needed and wanted to work on.
This is something that I work really hard on with my girls because I think these thoughts are way too common and dangerous. I’ve mentioned before that Alex and I make a really conscious effort to talk positively about whole foods and I think that’s super important around kids especially. (You can read more about that HERE.)
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my whole living healthier journey (which I’m still on :)) is that A LOT of it comes down to my mindset. For me, it became easier when I shifted how I thought about food. Of course this is way easier said than done, but here are some examples of how I’ve shift my mindset about food:
- Instead of thinking vegetables are gross, I’ve focused on trying new vegetable recipes and have really come to love some of them. Like, roasted broccoli with lemon and a little parmesan; roasted sweet potato with chipotle powder; roasted delicata squash with salt and pepper. YUM.
- I don’t deprive myself from any food. Nothing is off limits. Processed cookies, dinners out, fast food, ice cream, take-out pizza … I don’t restrict or deprive myself from anything and I don’t feel guilty if I do choose to eat those things.
- Instead of looking at healthy eating as restrictive, I think of all of the delicious foods I choose to eat. Like the above delicious veggies, ALL the fruit, real foods that make me feel my best.
Now I know that all of those negative thoughts are so untrue. (Read more about what balanced healthy living looks like for me HERE). When I start thinking negatively about healthy eating and living, I try to catch myself and turn it to a positive. I’m making the choice to eat real and whole foods because I feel better when I do. But I also choose to eat a treat when I really want it and don’t deprive myself, which leads to the next struggle I have …
Struggle #2: I struggle with wanting to treat myself vs wanting to pick the healthier choice.
This struggle is so real!
I know how I’ll feel after eating too many cookies or the banana bread and a caramel macchiato at Starbucks … bla. But sometimes I give in to it because I convince myself it’s a treat and I deserve it.
It’s a struggle between that short-term, in-the-moment enjoyment vs long-term healthiness. And it’s an internal battle I have constantly! I believe in balance, and having those things in moderation, but I don’t want to treat myself with unhealthy foods so much that they become everyday habits.
So instead, I’ve really thought of some of the foods (no matter how unhealthy they are) that genuinely bring me joy and that I’m not willing to give up for the sake of being healthy. These are my food non-negotiables. 🙂 Like: homemade chocolate chip cookies, a cocktail with girlfriends, pizza with friends, wine and cheese plates with Alex … things like that.
When I’m thinking of eating something processed or sugary or not real food, I try to first make sure I really want to eat it and I’m not using a dessert, or glass of wine to feel something else.
For me, just this awareness has helped a ton. Because sometimes I just want a cookie and/or a glass of wine (and that’s ok!), but I’ve realized sometimes I use those things to relax or de-stress if my girls are driving me crazy, or if I’m feeling sad or anxious about something. And I would rather savor and save them for times I really want them, not to “cover” up a feeling or emotion.
Struggle #3: Using “busy” as an excuse for picking the unhealthy choice.
This is such a tough one!
Have you ever grabbed one of your kids’ granola bars on the way out the door (or even when you’re home) because it’s the easiest choice for a snack? Even when it takes 1 minute more to grab a bag and fill it with a handful of nuts, or grab a piece of fruit? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this.
I’m guilty of using “too busy” as an excuse for things I don’t want to do or I don’t find important enough, even with food.
I’m too busy to roast veggies, so I’ll just bake a pizza instead.
I’m too busy to make this healthy dinner, so I’ll just order takeout.
I’m too busy to eat breakfast, so I’ll just grab a pastry and drink at Starbucks.
I’m too busy to pack a lunch, so I’ll just eat a few snacks.
When really the “so I’ll just” excuses take just as much time as going the healthy route. And “I’m too busy” is really an excuse for “I don’t want to.” I have been there …
If I’m finding excuses to not eat real foods, it’s something I have to think hard about the real reason why. If I genuinely feel too busy to eat healthy, I make it a priority to stock my freezer with healthier items for quick meals, I cut down on tv or social media, I pick up a healthier dinner out, I buy some pre-made salads and pre-cooked proteins. I also focus on why I began this journey to live and eat healthier in the first place.
Eating healthy is a journey and it looks different for everyone. It has taken me years to get to a place where eating healthy is easier, and I don’t feel guilty if I have an unhealthy meal. I hope that this post inspires you if you have some of these struggles too. If you can relate to any of these, please let me know in the comment section below, and share if you have ways you work through it.
Thank you always for reading.