I am a firm believer in the power of proper nutrition.

In order to be properly nourished we must control our relationship with food. This is the time of year where people start to over indulge just to "start again" in January. This mentality leads us into a diet loop. One where we fall off the wagon only to pick ourselves back up again just in time to fall off. Sound familiar? I'd like to share a little secret with you, this on/off cycle doesn't work. You don't need restriction or willpower to reach your goals and I'll tell you why.

When you look forward to a few months to a year from now, what do you see, what would you like to see? Would you like to eat a little better? Feel healthier? Have more energy? We know that eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed food is a REALLY good idea. So... why aren't we all doing it?

First and foremost I would like you to know that willpower is not necessary. Say what!? Here's a little secret, change is easier when you don't need any willpower. Think about it, we only have a limited supply of willpower. We can easily use it all before a change has become permanent. Ever started a diet and went full on diet mode for a week and then gave up because it became way too restrictive? The bigger the change, the faster your willpower will be gobbled up. Once your willpower is gone it’s very hard to resist whatever you’re trying to resist. Instead of relying on willpower here are some tips to ensure your next wellness change sticks!

1. Make the change smaller

You need to make the change so easy and so doable that you have no choice but to make the change. Change ONE habit at a time, and make it small enough that you’re confident that it’s a change you can totally do. Like eating one serving of vegetables a day instead of trying to incorporate ten. Drinking one glass of water upon waking or doing an evening stretch. Once that change is easy and you don’t have to think about it anymore, make a new change by building on what has now become a habit. This process may seem slow, but it works, and you'll move faster than you’d expect.

2. Add instead of subtract

Removing a food like gluten, dairy, or sugar may be necessary for a period of time to help your body heal…but if your diet is primarily these foods then it leaves huge holes in your diet and makes each meal difficult and stressful - we really don't want that. Instead, start by adding a few new foods to your diet. They will push out the other foods, making it much easier for you to fully remove them.

3. Be conscious

We spend most of our lives on autopilot. We don’t think through everything we do each day, it would be too exhausting. Instead we move through a series of habits, not fully aware of most of the things we’re doing. This is where change can get super tiring, it removes us from an absentminded state and makes us pay attention. If we’re tired, it becomes too easy to go back to our old habits. So, you need to make it easier to do the new thing than the old one. If breakfast is hard, find a fast and easy breakfast that’s ready to grab on your way out of the door (overnight oats are a great option). Most importantly, get the foods you don’t want to eat out of your house! Yes, they will scream your name until you eat them ;)

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help

Eating can get really complicated when we constantly hear about how to eat and what to eat on a daily basis. High fat, low fat, no sugar, all that diet talk! If what you want to do seems really overwhelming, don’t forget to ask for some help. My job as a nutritionist isn’t to tell you what to eat; it is to help you find a way to make the change more manageable. Sometimes an outside perspective and a bit of advice is all you need to get going towards your health goals! :) Fell free to book a free call with me to see if we'd make a good fit!

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Emily Manuel, B.A, RHN, CYT

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