Keto, Paleo, Plant based, Low Carb, Low Fat are just a few of the most common lifestyles people follow to get healthy. At first, the results are astounding! You lose weight, you think "Why haven't I done this before?" and everything feels awesome. But then something happens.
We stop following the routine or the routine stops working for us. Frustration sets in and new habits that we developed, that are good for us are stopped. Feeling like a failure, we stop following the new routine and start engaging in damaging, unhealthy habits.
Why? Why does this happen? I've experienced it through-out my life. Starting at the age of 9, I was put on a diet. It was the most horrible thing that could happen to me because instead of learning healthy habits that I could adjust as I grew, I was simply told:
"You can't eat this."
"This food is bad."
"Don't you want to lose weight?"
"You need to have willpower."
By labeling food as bad and not being allowed to have even small portions of snack foods or desserts, I learned the most horrible healthy lifestyle trap of them all:
FOOD LABELING: GOOD VERSUS BAD!
Labeling food as good or bad is a sure fire way to fail at your stated health goal. When food is labeled good or bad, restrictions or avoidance is the only way to deal with the food when it is available. A healthy lifestyle is not about food restriction and avoidance.
Food labeling (good versus bad) is my personal example of a healthy lifestyle trap. I was taught that by focusing on food, I can lose weight and be happy. There are so many healthy lifestyle traps. Yours will be very personal or may fall into the some of the most common that are listed below:
Not identifying why you want to get healthy
Focusing only on food to create healthy habits.
Trying a variety of diets
Ignoring current health conditions or symptoms
Striving to achieve an unrealistic goal
A healthy lifestyle encourages balance. A healthy lifestyle does not need willpower. A healthy lifestyle recognizes that creating personalized healthy routines that fit our lifestyles is the only way to create and maintain healthy habits.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Sure, this is easy to write but how do I do this in real life? How do I create healthy habits that are unique to me? Habits I can follow and feel good about?" In the next section, I will address strategies and tactics you can use to help overcome the most common healthy lifestyle traps. But first, a little bit about the services I offer.
Does any of this sound like you?
👉Routine diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Frequent bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right. Your current lifestyle is not helping you achieve your health goals. Discovering the root cause of the symptoms and how to get healthy can be confusing and hard!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with teaching people just like you how to heal their gut so you can stop suffering and get back to living!
I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy session where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how the Simply Great Health program can help.
How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:
✅Be more present with your children
✅Focus at work
✅Have more energy
✅Stop running to the bathroom
✅Workout without fear of an accident or farting
✅Restore your confidence
✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Take an active vacation
✅Reclaim your life!
Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your body and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing.
TIPS TO CREATE HEALTHY HABITS
#1 DEFINE YOUR WHY
This is the most critical step for creating healthy habits that you can stick to. WHY are you interested in solving (insert health issue/concern here)? Do you want to be able to play with your grandkids? Do you have travel goals? Do you want to have an active retirement? Are you tired of not having energy to do the things you want to do? Are you working to prevent a future illness?
When you have a very clear understanding of why you are working on your health, it makes it so much easier to create healthy habits and (most importantly) follow them. I recommend taking at least 15 to 30 minutes of quite time. On a piece of paper, list all of the things you have to be grateful for in your life.
Next, write down the health conditions you currently have that are stopping you from fully enjoying the things you are grateful for in your life. For example, if you wrote down that you are grateful for your spouse or significant other, what is stopping you from fully enjoying their company? Do they have an activity, such as bike riding or hiking, that you can't enjoy with them because your joints ache or you get tired easily?
This is a perfect example of how you can create your why for following a healthy lifestyle. When you have your reason why you are doing something, it becomes so much easier to create and follow healthy habits. It is so much easier to mentally prepare yourself for when you are in a situation that is not supportive of healthy habits. Taking the time to define your why will keep you motivated.
Once you have a clear understanding of why you want to change your current lifestyle, write this down in places you can see it often. Place it on your bathroom mirror, make it your screen saver on your computer or cell phone, place it in your purse so you can reference it whenever you want. This constant reminder will help you stay on track for your goals.
#2 FOCUSING ONLY ON FOOD
A healthy lifestyle is more than just food. Being in good health means you have the energy to do all that you want to do every single day. Energy comes from more than food. Sleeping well, taking time for self-care, drinking plenty of water and moving your body contribute to energy production in the body.
We are more than just what we eat. Creating healthy habits for all parts of our life results in a happier experience. It may seem overwhelming to make changes in our current routine. The good news is that it only takes 21 days to create a new habit. If you start today, in 21 days the new habit will just be part of your routine.
Another common issue when only focusing on food is trying a variety of diets, hoping that one will perform miracles. The truth is when you start following a diet that isn't focused on your individual goals, it will eventually stop working.
Sure, in the beginning you will get results. This is usually because the diet tells you to stop eating something you currently eat. Any change you make in current eating habits will result in weight loss. But it will only be temporary. Switching between different diets only creates havoc in the body. Plus, the diets are hard to maintain as a lifestyle, which is the key for lasting results.
#3 IGNORING CURRENT HEALTH CONDITIONS
Diets that do not focus on your unique situation will not be effective in the long run. For example, food intolerances and sensitivities are very common. Much more common now than in the past. Why? The nutrients in the food supply are not as high as in the past. Our food is treated with more chemicals in the name of convenience.
The combination of fewer nutrients and more chemicals makes the body reject certain foods. Our body is smart! We just have to pay attention to what it is telling us. If you eat something and you get bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipated, develop skin rashes, have acne, get a headache or can't sleep well, chances are you have a food intolerance or sensitivity.
Before working on a healthy lifestyle, finding out what foods are causing your body to react is key. Take an at-home food allergy test from Everly Well or The Great Plains Laboratory. You can test for 96 foods that may be causing your body to react negatively.
Once you know these foods, you can cut them out of your routine. It doesn't mean you can't ever eat them. But you would not want to eat them every day or even a couple of times a week. Cut back to once a month or once every two months if you can't live without the food.
If you can't take the at-home test, the next best thing is to follow an elimination protocol. Start by eliminating the most common food allergens: glute, corn, eggs and dairy. You can do all at once or one at a time. Don't eat the food for 30 days. Then, add it back in and see how you feel. If you feel any negative symptoms, then that food is problematic for you. Cut it out and only eat it occasionally.
Also, if you have a specific health condition that you are already diagnosed with make sure to fully research any changes you are making in your lifestyle. For example, I was diagnosed with low thyroid function. As I started working on reversing it with acupuncture, I learned a lot about my body and how it functions.
For my unique situation, I need to eat 3 meals a day. Breakfast needs to be warm and soft, such as stewed fruits and oatmeal. Not bagels or avocado toast. Lunch needs to be the largest meal of the day (actually this is a great goal for all of us!). Lunch also has to be well cooked vegetables, grains, soups or stews. Dinner needs to be small.
I also learned I cannot fast or snack. By making this change, I have steady energy throughout the day, I am able to maintain my weight, I sleep really well and have a positive attitude. My experience is a great example of how our bodies are unique and we need personalized habits. I was not afraid to seek help when my body needed it.
#4 UNREALISTIC GOALS
Deciding to make healthy changes in our life is very admirable. Unfortunately, it can lead to unrealistic goals. We are bombarded by images of what an ideal body and life should look like. The perfect pictures on Instagram do not show reality. Meals never look as good as the pictures when we try recipes. Our bodies never look as good as the well positioned body with good lighting.
The goals we set for healthy changes need to be realistic. When they aren't frustration and feelings of failure occur. Then we stop working on healthy habits and go back to unhealthy ones. If you want to lose weight, the goal has to be realistic.
A healthy weight loss goal is for 1 to 2 pounds per week. Some weeks it will be more, some weeks it will be less. A healthy goal for reducing blood sugar or cholesterol levels is about a 10% reduction in one year. To have more energy, it will take at least 6 months of consistently working on food, hydration, self-care and moving your body.
Looking for quick fixes doesn't work. If it did, New Years Eve resolutions would never fail! Slow steady progress is the only way to achieve health goals.
Learning how not to fall victim to healthy lifestyle traps means we must first recognize them. The easy way out is to follow someone else's routine and when it fails, blame the process. Taking time to define your why, focus on more than food, finding out our personal limitations and creating realistic goals is the only way to create healthy habits that last.
Don't be afraid to get help! There is so much information available to us that it can be confusing. Working with a professional to design a personalized health routine will make it easier to achieve your health goals.
Do you have any healthy lifestyle traps? Let me know by leaving a comment below.