Changing your eating habits is hard. Even with the best of intentions, ditching unhealthy food for a healthy eating routine can be a challenge.
If you are struggling to eat better, you may be struggling with one of the following common barriers. Our Wellness Dietitian Lindsey Wohlford has some ideas to help you move forward if you are facing any of these barriers to change.
Lack of time
Just like anything else you want to achieve, you have to plan for healthy eating. Put time on your calendar to meal plan, grocery shop and prep so you can be sure you have healthy options at your fingertips.
You can also use time-saving tricks like buying pre-cut produce, using a slow-cooker or doubling recipes to ensure you have leftovers to freeze. Try to keep a list of quick, healthy meals and snacks so you don't get stumped when you are shopping and cooking. You can also shop for groceries online to save time.
Don’t try to make too many changes at once. Small changes over time can add up to a big impact and it is much more doable. Drastic changes all at once can be overwhelming and harder to manage, which can lead to feelings of self-doubt.
By mastering small changes you will gain confidence and little improvements will slowly become part of your lifestyle. Once you’ve incorporated a new habit, start on another one. Change is a process, not an event.
An "all or nothing" attitude
Once you've decided to change your eating habits, you may feel that there is no room for mistakes. At some point, you will backslide and encounter setbacks. When you have an all or nothing mindset, a setback can feel like a failure and prompt you to quit.
Remember that you are aiming for progress, not perfection. Try to view setbacks as a bump in the road and keep going. Change takes time, but you will get there if you just keep going.
The enormous number of fad diets as well as all the sources of nutrition information can make healthy eating decisions difficult and confusing. This can lead to trying many different diets and following nutrition advice that is not evidence-based.
A registered dietitian can help cut through the misinformation and provide you with well researched nutrition guidance that is customized for you and your lifestyle. Dietitians can also offer ongoing support, accountability and encouragement.
When you start a healthy lifestyle it can mean giving up foods you like. But eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all your favorites. All foods can fit. A healthy diet is all about learning to eat a variety of foods in moderation.
A dietitian can help you learn how to balance the foods you love with other foods to help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce chronic disease risk.
If you can identify what’s getting in your way, you have a much better chance of success.