3 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Be Healthy
I get asked all the time, what am I supposed to eat, when am I supposed to eat, how much should I eat, what shouldn’t I eat, what is healthy. Well, unless you’re a client of mine this is very hard to answer. Why you ask … because I’m a Holistic Nutritionist, I look at the individuals needs, no one diet fits all, everybody’s body requires different nutrients, different exercise patterns, different lifestyle requirements. It comes down to your individual needs! There are lots of healthy habits that benefit most people, i.e. eating a plant-based diet (in opinion this doesn’t exclude meat, 70-80% could be from plant sources), exercising smartly, doing regular activities that you love to reduce cortisol levels and lower feeling of stress and anxiety. So today I wanted to share with you three common mistakes that I see all the time that people make when trying to be healthy.
- Trying to be perfect!
This is NOT realistic. No one is perfect, sorry for this reality check but we can’t be perfect all the time. We cannot go to the gym 6-7 days a week, never have sugar and never have carbs, this is just unrealistic and can put us in an all or nothing black and white mindset. When we have goals to be 100% perfect or follow your friend’s diet, a girl on Instagram diet’s because something worked well for her, we are setting us up for failure, because we can’t maintain it, it’s just far to much pressure! Especially when so many of us are trying to cram so much into our days, trying to eat 100% perfectly and exercise almost every single day we just can’t do it. And after a long, crazy busy day you then decided you want to drink alcohol or just two squares of chocolate, often this is when binge eating or drinking happens because you had that black and white mentality set up from the beginning, you’re either all in, or all out. So, next time you feel you “feel off the wagon” remember you’re human, no one is perfect all the time, I’m not perfect, the girls you follow on Instagram isn’t perfect. Also remember, when following someone on social media remember you only see a snippet of their life, and it’s usually the good parts/highlights of their lives. Don’t compare.
- Restricting yourself too much or restricting food groups
Food is fuel! If you have a lot of weight to lose yes, restricting foods (under a qualified health practitioner guidance) can help to shift weight. But what I’m seeing far too much of in clinic is people of relatively healthy weight, exercise 6-7 days a week intensively and restricting food groups or food intake in general. Also, if you’ve been doing this for a long time that’s even more harmful. Overtime if you don’t take in adequate fuel your metabolism can slow down to compensate. Your body thinks it’s in “perceived famine”, causing your body to go into a “flight or fight” mode. It needs stored energy, a great source of which is body fat. You’ll be holding on to that fat and instead of breaking down precious calorie-burning muscle tissue. This often leaves people tired and hungry, often leading to overeating.
- Setting unrealistic goals
For example, wanting to eat healthy all the time with no “imperfect” meals allowed, exercise 6-7 days a week (if you’re currently only doing 0-2), it’s just not realistic and often not going to work. So, my tip is to set yourself realistic goals, start small. When I changed my diet and lifestyle almost 8 years ago I started experimenting with one small goal at a time, it took me months to get to where I wanted to get to, and I still have little hiccups today, but I’m human, and I’ve learned what works for me and what serves me, and what doesn’t’. Example of small realistic goals that you could have could be to have takeaways maximum 3x per week, and the rest is having home cooked meals, or you could decide to start your day with a nutritious breakfast daily or have a green smoothie 5 days a week to increase your vegetable intake. If your goal is exercise, be realistic about it, I always say focus on movement as opposed to exercise, move your body at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes, we don’t need to thrash our bodies at the gym 6-7 days a week for 1 hour each time, trust me, it can sometimes do more harm than good! So small goals, easy goals, ones that you can maintain so they can turn into lifelong habits.
If you’re at that point, where you’ve tried it all, don’t want to say any more excuses, or are overwhelmed and confused with all the information out there please get in touch and let me help you become your healthy, happy self. You deserve to feel good and deserve to be healthy!
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Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.