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7 biggest hurdles to eating well

Finding it hard to get back into the routine of eating healthily after a break?

Or, are you simply trying to make changes to your diet but can’t seem to make them stick?

Well, good news…you’re not alone! Even better news? Once you acknowledge what the challenges are to you maintaining a healthy diet you have an opportunity to make change and create new habits long term.

Let’s jump over the 7 biggest hurdles to eating well – ready… set…

  1. LACK OF EXERCISE: You’ve been keeping the festive season well and truly alive and kicking and your daily activity levels are at an all time low. This can mean a number of things, but primarily, the cycle of eat, sleep, move, repeat has become a little warped. Late nights out, a few extra drinks, not as much sleep combined with healthy eating and exercise don’t easily make for a winning equation. Over the holiday period so many people’s eating and exercise habits go out the window. Start with one, for instance, moving your body more and giving it some love and you’ll soon feel more motivated to start eating better once again. Baby steps…on the stairs, or treadmill, or heck just getting yourself out of bed 20 minutes earlier just to move will do wonders for your body, mind and getting a healthy diet on track.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA is creating fog around your healthy eating. We turn to social media for inspiration but so often we are caught in the social media vortex and find ourselves going down rabbit holes, looking at posts or people we don’t usually (or don’t identify with) and then BOOM all of a sudden we’re comparing ourselves and our diet to theirs and feeling down in the dumps. You are you, you are unique, and most importantly whilst social media is a wonderful tool for inspiration you need to tune into what YOUR body needs and how best it responds to different, nourishing foods. What works for Person X on social media, isn’t necessarily going to deliver you the same results. Focus on the basics for you and your diet and make the process simple. Oh and one more thing to remember – the social vortex often happens at meal times, especially when you’re on your own. So, from this day forward, I gently remind you to move your phone away from your meal, engage with your food and eat consciously. When you’re distracted by a tv, phone, emails or socials your body starts diverting the signals away from your digestive system and you often find yourself hungry soon after your meal. This can be because your body hasn’t fully registered the meal. It’s a simple but highly effective tool. Meal time = food time not phone time.
  3. BOOZE. That old chestnut you say… Alcohol (in excess or simply a daily tipple) can disrupt creating habit around healthy eating. Whether it’s the party season with back to back liquid dinners, or simply the cycle of coming home from work and winding down with a wine on the couch, it’s time to jump over this hurdle and foster change. How do you do it? Recognise first where you’re using the crutch – wind down time, escaping reality, filling space? Or is it as basic as – there aren’t other bevies in your fridge to have that switch off moment with. NEWS MY FRIENDS – there are so many wonderful drinks you CAN HAVE, which are delicious AND deliver nutrition to your body so that you can keep your health, including your eating on track! And if you’ll allow me the pleasure to introduce you to a few favourites:
    1. Remedy
    2. Remedy
    3. Remedy

Seriously though, Remedy Drinks has launched an incredible variety of flavours and drinks in their Kombucha and Switchel range which make the PERFECT substitute for alcohol – ANY. TIME. Plus, with organic acids, live cultures and ingredients which support digestion, both Kombucha and Switchel, naturally keep your gut, immunity and overall wellbeing in good nick. Try swapping alcohol for your pre dinner drinks with any of the flavours in the Remedy Drinks range for a delightful treat and change to your norm.

4. COFFEEjust whilst we’re talking drinks. Did you know more than 1-2 coffees per day and coffee at certain times of the day can hold you back from your good intentions to eat well? Before you laugh it off, consider this…Coffee is a stimulant – FACT. The action of caffeine in coffee triggers the release of adrenaline into the blood and the effect on our body is to move into ‘flight or fight’ mode i.e we’re alert, heightened, we’re up and racing! Which can be great but you don’t need to race all day – ever. Coffee and adrenaline suppresses appetite because by-gosh when you’re racing you sure aren’t trying to munch down on a nourish bowl are you? And time and time again what I see with nutrition clients is:

+ coffee being used as a snack/meal replacement and a pep me up when really what the body needs is nourishing food for energy and then a loss of appetite at meals times. Or…

+ some of us over consume coffee and wonder why we have an irritated (read anxious) digestive system, or… (and the list could go on!)

+ the cycle of: tired > coffee > still tired > more coffee > still tired > turn to coffee and sugary / unhealthy foods and the cycle repeats.

You hear me right? So what can you do to create change? First recognise when you’re consuming coffee and what your triggers are, thennnnn make some swaps. If you need more than 1 coffee before 9am then look at your breakfast and assess if it is actually delivering nutritious energy or sinking you. Make a swap for the second with tea for the time being then reduce to just 1 in the morning. If it’s an afternoon coffee, ask yourself if it’s escaping your desk, a lull in energy (3pm is fairly normal it’s a natural down in our circadian rhythms) or if you’ve not had a good balance of nutrition in your lunch and the coffee is there to reduce the hunger pangs. Now if you’ve hit 3pm and you need the escape or a gentle pick me up then get up, take a walk and some big deep breaths and so you still love the ritual of having a drink then go for a nutrient dense Kombucha or Switchel from Remedy to energise you instead.

5. Now I’ve touched on ‘tired’ so next we jump the hurdle of SLEEP. Which is a monumental component in eating well yet often the last resort. Our bodies need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night on average. More than 9 is time to investigate further with a nutritionist or health practitioner, less than 7 is time to look at your lifestyle and make some changes. Not enough sleep can lead to poor food choices because the body is deprived of naturally occurring cellular energy generated in our time of restoration. Too much sleep can result in a loss of appetite or missed meal times, and often poor food choices too. The optimal 7-9 hours of sleep allows our body to rest efficiently, manufacture hormones including those required for our digestive system to function well, supports growth, development and repair. Creating routine and structure around healthy sleep is important for healthy eating too.

6. FAD DIETS. There’s no denying that I could talk / write for hours and pages on this topic so I’ll try my best to keep it as brief. Fad diets do not support a long term approach to healthy eating. Full stop. By going ‘on’ a diet, it also means at some stage you’ll come ‘off’ the diet and the period of time after you come off a diet is 90% of the time fuelled with consuming all the foods you deprived yourself of eating during the time on said diet. Rather than adopting the next fad diet that a celebrity, influencer, or your mate opposite you at work is trying out, look at how and where you can create positive and healthy changes in your diet with nourishing foods, and adopt those changes for the long term. If you need support with this consult a professional natural health care practitioner who can guide you on your journey to eating well for good.

7. PLANNING. We plan our wardrobe or party for a great night, we plan a holiday to make it fab, yet when it comes to healthy eating so many miss the key component to make healthy eating delicious, creative, abundant and simple – planning! I’m not asking you to plan a month, but it’s without a doubt always worth your while to plan the week ahead and get organised with nourishing food in your fridge, pantry or know where you can pick it up / have it delivered. Without planning the likelihood of grabbing whatever is on hand increases and those ‘on hand’ foods aren’t always the best choice. Plus planning gives structure to your day, week, meal and good health loves some routine. So, don’t leave planning aside, create 30 minutes each week to plan your meals, groceries, activity, and sleep for the week ahead and hold yourself accountable for keeping on track.

Now, you’ve jumped your last hurdle, it’s time to enjoy eating your way to good health – you ready?GO!

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline Alwill, is an accredited nutritionist, author, founder of Brown Paper Nutrition and recently launched vegetarian meal delivery service Brown Paper Eats She is passionately committed to improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and families. Jacqueline is mum to her 8 year old boy - Jet.

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