How to Stay on Track with Eating Healthy
I’m going to share with you how to stay on track with healthy eating. My way is probably different than what you have ever heard. Stick with me until the end to visualize what happens when you do this.
It’s pretty amazing.
First, let’s talk about what eating healthy even is.
By this time of your life, you have seen it all: low fat, low carb, low sugar, Keto, paleo, as well as all the diets that these ways of eating spawned.
After eight years of writing about losing weight after 50 and three years of coaching midlife women; I believe that healthy eating involves whole foods such as meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats and oils. Some people tolerate grains, beans, and dairy.
Look, your body knows what feels good versus what tastes good. Your body is meant to feel hunger and also to satisfy that hunger.
That being said, your brain doesn’t like being told to only eat healthy food. There is definitely room for fun or celebration foods. But overall, I see the most success with women who find their sweet spot when it comes to overall carbs.
In addition to what you eat, I’ve seen what works for most of my clients is limiting their eating to meals, not snacking, and having at least a 12-hour break from last meal of one day to the first meal of the next.
You can have a healthy lifestyle and also enjoy your favorite foods. This is about so much more than moderation or portion sizes.
So, my definition of healthy eating plan is:
- Eating primarily whole foods
- Limiting junk and processed foods
- Not snacking
- Eating sufficient food at meals
- Having a 12+ hour break from eating once a day
Your healthy habits may look different and that is A-Okay. The problem with most women is that they try something and give up way before they see the benefits.
The Benefits of Eating Healthy
And what are those benefits?
- Have more energy
- Have less pain
- Get better sleep
- Move better
- Feel more confident and optimistic
- Enjoy their food
- Able to focus on people instead of just food
- Stabilize weight or lose weight
Why it is Important to Eat Healthy
That isn’t a joke. We all give lip service to eating healthy but most of us, don’t follow through consistently or we lack the motivation to get started.
Believing in the importance of healthy eating is a mindset issue. Healthy eating habits take time to become a consistent part of our lives.
This doesn’t require perfection–but it does require persistence and consistency.
I’m convinced that much of our current health problems have been created because for decades we have prioritized losing weight over, eating healthy.
After talking to hundreds of women, I know that many of you are only willing to eat healthy for the sole purpose of losing weight. When that doesn’t happen, guess what does?
“Why bother, I might as well eat what I want.”
You may not even realize that is what you are doing—but I see and hear it all the time. Women don’t see a reason to eat healthy if they aren’t losing weight.
We eat healthy because we want to do our best to take care of our actual health. Nutrition is definitely a huge part of this.
And since, weight loss is difficult at any age, this means that a lot of women abandon their efforts to eat healthy because it’s tied to weight.
Here’s what I know in my practice. Women who follow my eating healthy rules, don’t gain weight. Their weight stabilizes, they feel better, and at some point, they begin losing weight.
It can take a while my friends!
But by the time it does, all the new habits are firmly in place. You’ve learned to maintain a steady weight. You know what foods feel good in your body and what foods feel terrible.
You are able to get through the holidays and other functions without stressing. You can go to a restaurant and order what sounds good to you.
If you gain a couple of pounds over a weekend, you don’t stress about it; you just get back to your new normal and those extra pounds melt away.
95% of diets fail in one way or the other. It’s not you. You aren’t the problem. Dieting and deprivation do not work long-term.
If the only thing you do this year is stop gaining and maintain your weight; you are AHEAD. Most women gain some weight every year.
I want something better for you. I want you to feel great about yourself and what you eat. I want you to be free from obsessing about food, your body, and your weight.
Are you ready to get started with creating some health goals?
The Five Rules of Sticking with Eating Healthy
Allow enough time to see changes
Healthier habits take some time to become easy and natural.
Starting quick-fix diets time and time again, does not lead to a healthy way of eating. Be honest. How many times have you tried to dramatically change the way you eat and then given up after a few days if you even made it that far.
I’m going to share a secret with you. Consistent changes over time create healthy results. One week of eating right will not affect your health.
Six months of cleaning up your eating will make a huge difference in how you feel. A year will have you feeling like a new person.
You have to give any change in eating you make, enough time to see how it works. What usually happens is you try for a short time and if you don’t lose weight, you quit.
But the truth is, you can be doing everything right and it might just take some time to see weight loss.
Learning to eat healthy, consistently over time is one of the best skills you can learn. And yes, this is a skill.
Prioritize your diet. (Not a diet)
Another obstacle to eating healthy that I see all the time is that women do not prioritize their diet. I don’t mean diet in the sense of losing weight. I mean diet in the sense of what you eat overall.
So, let’s say you do decide to eat healthy. Then what? You need to plan what to eat. Buy the foods or ingredients. Prepare the food. And allow yourself time to eat.
Most women do not do this.
Their food and meals come last. Most women I work with feel overwhelmed with the idea of planning, shopping, prepping, and taking time to eat.
Who has time for that?
Well, if you don’t have time now, when will you?
This is one of the most important changes you can make, prioritizing your nutrition and making time for it.
This time will not magically happen. There isn’t a fairy godmother that will wave her magic wand and give you time to eat healthy.
You have to question, why you don’t do this. Why is everything and everyone else more important.
The good news is that when you prioritize yourself, it truly is better, not just for you, but for everyone in your life.
Recognize the signs that your body is changing
There are so many ways that your body can change beyond a number on the scale. Your body will give you so many clues that what you are doing is good for it.
Unfortunately, we often blow these kinds of benefits off as not important.
What is more important than feeling good?
Yes, feeling good is one way that you know you are doing something good for your body.
Other signs that you are eating healthy are:
- More energy
- Less pain
- Better sleep
- Joints feel better
- Clothes feel looser
- Your face looks better (I always see it in the faces of my clients first—how you eat makes a difference!)
A number on the scale is just a number. It does not reflect overall health. However, the above signs do indicate good things happening in your body.
Focus on taking care of your body
Your body deserves care. It needs food, movement, rest, fun, connection, and love. Trying to only change a number on the scale is not caring for your body.
When you only focus on weight, you often get into a punishment/deprivation mode. You don’t like the number, so you want to punish your body by not eating enough, cutting out foods, hard workouts, and saying horrible mean things to it.
Start paying attention to how you treat your body. Are you treating it like the most important relationship it is. This is literally the most intimate important relationship in your life.
Turn small changes into your new normal
Aim for what you can do fairly easily and progress from there. I know everyone has been told you need to completely change how you eat to get results.
I’m a huge fan of doing what you can do. And I really like building a great foundation before trying to cut anything out.
What this looks like in real life is this. Instead of cutting foods out first, I have women start by cleaning up meals and often adding more food to their meals.
It is way easier to clean up snacking and problem eating, when you are actually eating enough at your meals.
Trust me on this. It is lots more fun to add food in than take it away. Most women need more protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. It’s much easier to remove processed, fast, and junk food when you are not hungry after you eat your meals.
Then when you are feeling more nourished, take a look at snacks and the quality of your meals, not from the place of depriving yourself but from the place of what makes the most sense for your goals.
Make one change a week. Keep at it until it feels normal and not a battle.
Stay on Track with Your Healthy Lifestyle
At some point you will notice that veggies, salad, olive oil, and other foods are a regular part of your diet. You still enjoy a piece cake or pizza now and then.
You engage in regular physical activity and not longer depend on snacks to get you through your day.
Your body feels amazing and you are surprised by how much energy you have and how great your joints feel.
Food no longer causes anxiety.
You eat foods you like and you eat enough of them to feel satisfied.
Because you no longer obsess over food and what to eat; you enjoy your family, friends, pets, and other activities more than you have in years.
When food has its proper place in your life; everything is better.
You never dreamed you could feel this great.
But you do!
Keep showing up my friends,
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.