Health And Wellness

Make Smart Food Choices Easier, Despite Your Less-Than-Healthy Comfort Zone

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woman eating salad

Learning how to make healthy food choices is easier said than done.

Everyone has said this at some point: "I'm going to get back on track next week."

But then next week comes, and there's a ready excuse as to why it needs to wait just one more day.

The excuse trap becomes our best friend and we end up on the endless road of excuses, keeping us stuck in the comfort zone for so long that we never get to the destination of health and wellness.

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Make changes to make healthy food choices.

The trick to stopping this vicious cycle is to create awareness about your comfort zone. And to be honest — that means no more lies!

This is usually the most difficult step, because it's easier to just keep doing things the way you've always done things without any rhyme or reason.

This is true, even if what you're doing doesn't get you the results you want but simply because it's easy. This is normal behavior for all humans.

You try to take the path of least resistance and, in this case, it means what's comfortable and not the uncomfortable road — new habits.

By going to the uncomfortable zone and doing something different, you have a chance to see results!

After all the uncomfortable zone is where all the growth happens. It starts with understanding what you're saying to stay in the comfortable zone.

Most people don't pay attention to these words keeping them stuck.

Being honest is an essential first step to making a lasting change in your healthy eating habits.

When I get home from a long stressful day, I don't want to make anything for dinner much less go out of my way to find something healthy.

It's much easier to go into autopilot mode and do what I have always do when I'm tired: order pizza.

The words I use to justify this decision are, "I deserve pizza after today," "It's just one night and I will make up for it tomorrow," or "I'm too tired to make something healthy."

And normally, one night of pizza isn't going to set anyone off on their weight-loss goals. But usually, it's not just one night.

Usually, it's one night after another of excuses as to why I'm justified to not eat healthy, leading to many nights of unhealthy habits.

If I know these are the lies I tell myself to excuse my "cheat," then I need a plan to set myself up for success the next time I use these lies. How?

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Come up with a plan to counteract the negative consequences.

For example, if the excuse is "I deserve pizza after today," use these words, instead: "Yes, everyone has stressful days, but I have too many stressful days to eat crappy each time. So, I will pick a healthy veggie before pizza to ensure I get the nutrients I need to stay on track the rest of the night and prevent me from eating too many slices of pizza."

I keep on hand many options for quick healthy veggie options, so I can grab and go.

For example, a bag of salad, pre-cut fresh veggies ready to go in the fridge, a frozen bag of veggies with seasoning, etc.

What would work for you to grab some healthy food before eating your pizza?

Having a healthy food option on hand keeps me from overeating pizza and takeout, keeps me on track with health goals, and allows me to have a treat on stressful days.

For me, it's important to be realistic yet healthy. I need healthy options at all times, so it's easy for me to choose healthy foods.

This is the key factor in my own success.

What's your key factor so you succeed?

What are your excuses or lies you tell yourself to justify eating junk food? What are ways you can set yourself up, so the next time you go off-course it's easy to counteract your unhealthy choice?

Remember that the key to success is to create awareness around what you're saying. Then, create a plan to help you stay healthy.

Changing thoughts changes feelings and changes your life!

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Teresa Brenke is a life coach, speaker, nutrition and fitness expert, and behavior-modification specialist. If you're unsure on how to get started on eating healthy, there's a free worksheet to get clarity on the conversations in your head keeping you stuck. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at CLD Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.