Healthy Eating: It’s NOT About Willpower Alone

We have often heard it, Just do it – just eat healthy some people think that healthy eating is simply a matter of willpower. They seem to think that, if you want to eat healthy, all you have to do is commit to it and follow through

But, for most people, that approach just doesn’t work. Studies show that the average American adult starts at least 3 diets per year, and that means that they fail at least 2 times each year Clearly, willpower alone isn’t the answer.

There are simply too many temptations calling at people to break their healthy eating commitments This isn’t only true of healthy eating; it’s a fact of life in most things. If a person is constantly bombarded by opportunities to engage in the behaviors they want to avoid, their willpower will eventually break down.

So, how can you eat healthy? What do you need beyond your own willpower? you need to create an environment where your opportunity to succeed is high. This is an environment where temptations are minimized and healthy eating is rewarded. here are 5 tips for creating an environment for success:

Stock your kitchen with healthy options. Eating healthy is going to be difficult for anyone if their pantry includes lots of chips, candy, and cookies. To make healthy eating easier, eliminate the less healthy options from your kitchen and stock it with healthy alternatives. Stock fresh fruit and vegetables in your refrigerator. keep granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts in your pantry. make it easy to eat healthy and hard to find junk food.

Plate your food in the kitchen, not at the table. Often, we take food directly from the oven or stove to the table and dish it up there. This makes seconds easy to get. instead, plate your food in the kitchen and then serve it. If family members want more, they can always get up, go to the kitchen and get it. but that requires effort. You’ll find that by not having additional servings right on the table, you’ll eat less and you’ll stop when you get full.

Eliminate distractions during meals. This can be a tough one, especially for Americans. We tend to eat in front of the TV – both meals and snacks. Studies show that when people don’t pay attention to what they’re eating, they tend to consume more. We recommend that you make family time the focus of meal time. Bring the family together for meals, turn off the TV and focus on each other and the food.

Have small indulgences available. It’s important to indulge from time-to-time. If you don’t, then you’ll likely feel deprived of the foods you love, and you’ll think about them more. This makes it hard to avoid them. for example, my wife and I love chocolate, but we don’t have a bag of fun size candy bars in the pantry. If we did, they would all be eaten instead, we have M&Ms in the freezer. having them in the freezer means that we have to take them out, put what we want to eat in a small bowl, and then put the rest back. We decide how much we’re going to eat, rather than just snack from the bag. This makes them a treat and not an easy snack.

Make healthy choices when you can, but don’t go crazy. We often tell people to follow the 90/10 rule – eat healthy 90 percent of the time, and give yourself permission to indulge sometimes. for example, if you like pasta, then choose whole wheat pasta and marinara sauce with vegetables instead of calorie-dense Alfredo sauce. Enjoy a big salad too. Then, if you want, indulge with some grated cheese or a glass of wine. Eating should be enjoyable, and eating healthy 100 percent of the time can take the fun out of it.

So, to stick with a commitment to eat healthy, maximize your opportunity for success. Create a healthy environment where it’s easy to make healthy choices.

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