One of the biggest changes I recommend for all people (and that I write about here a lot!) is moving to REAL food. Ditch all those packages, boxes, and bags of items that are filled with empty non-nutritious calories and chemicals!
There are a few challenges with this I see frequently with clients, so here are a few tips to deal with those today!
Challenge 1: The perception that real food takes too much time
Most people believe themselves to be too busy to eat real food. They have been buying packaged pre-cooked “foods” for a long time – perhaps even their whole life depending on their age when we start working together. The notion is that we do not have time to do anything other than what we are already doing.
The unfortunate part about this is multifold.
You are just shifting your time. You are reallocating time you already spent shopping and organizing these non-nutritious foods for prepping ahead to make them easy during the week. Rather than spending all the time at the store getting these foods, you will be home more prepping just ONE DAY for a few hours for the whole week. You then have everything ready to grab and go for the week.
In fact, I often recommend a delivery service for the ingredients you need. Many can be purchased on Amazon, but you can also use organic services like Thrive Market. You then take the time you would have spent at the store, and driving back and forth (masked mind you) to cook in your home for the week (without your mask!).
What is really crazy is that for a whole week of lunch meat (a whole chicken!), breakfast muffins, biscuits, homemade bread, and other miscellaneous food prep for meals is only a few hours on a Sunday at MAX. When you first start out you will be doing simple things and simple steps so even 30 minutes to one hour on a Sunday can get you set for the week.
Add these new things to an already existing routine!
Challenge 2: Changing habits takes time and small steps
This is one that is the HARDEST for clients to understand. We are living in an “instant” world. The world information (good or bad) is literally at our fingertips every second daily. We have lost touch with the fact that behavior change and body change takes time. The number one thing I repeat to clients, at every single visit even over time is that progress is being made it just takes time. Your body needs time to balance itself out. It needs time to detox all of the foods and chemicals. It doesn’t work at a moment’s notice. They are feeling better, and seeing slow progress and just want it FASTER! Remember, you didn’t just wake up one day eat one piece of processed food and feel like crap (or maybe you did)… it generally takes years of eating that way to really start to feel terrible (with some exceptions related to food allergies of course).
But what holds people back THE MOST is their inability to let go of the processed and packaged items for swaps. It is all about SWAPPING things out. You do this slowly, a little at a time so you aren’t overwhelmed and frustrated. I see many people push to swap (which I commend) but after a few weeks, they fall right back to those old processed foods.
There are a number of reasons why this happens. People get tired. People liked their old habits (except how they felt after eating that food). People are addicted to the chemicals and qualities in those foods making it hard to break that habit.
What are food swaps?
Pretzels as a snack – small chopped carrots, cucumbers, peppers with a side of hummus. Instead of grabbing that bag – you instead grab a bag or whole item listed above. You pack that right into baggies for the week when you get home. Making homemade hummus takes minutes, or you can find a clean version (read the ingredients to be sure it’s only whole foods) and package it with your veggies.
Frozen waffles/breakfast items – these are some of the worst items to buy. They have so many fillers, bad oils, as well as poor empty carbs. It is easy to make waffles/pancakes from whole food ingredients right in your kitchen for an entire 1-2 weeks. You can freeze the batch in wrapped portions. Grab them in the morning, pop them in the toaster oven and serve (just like the frozen ones but healthier!).
Deli counter meat – cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker on Sunday and portion out for the week. Do not toss that broth. Strain and save for cooking, or drinking all week! Bone broth is a great digestive balancer and it’s delicious and soothing! If you don’t like chicken, when you cook your Sunday evening dinner, toss on a few more fish fillet for the week and portion them out for salad toppers, or quick re-heats on busy days. We do this OFTEN! My son is picky with his protein – I often think ahead, cook ahead, and then reheat that day as he picks and chooses daily what he will and will not eat.
The key here is to think about what you will ALREADY be doing and add these little things to that time so you aren’t making NEW additional times to cook and prep. Dinner is being cooked nightly – so at the same time you also prep for the week. Or you are making a great lunch that day – so you add in the other baked or prepped goods you need at that time. The key is to add it into an already existing routine. No need to make MORE things to do. Of course if you never make any food ever, and you have been relying on take out and frozen dinner for all meals, you will need to routine shift. I recommend starting with just one meal. Choose an easier time of day and meal for yourself and swap it out. Get the routine down and move to the next meal.
Challenge 3: People do not realize how bad they feel (most of the time) until they start feeling better
Many people come to me pretty desperate for relief to be honest. But every once in awhile they know they don’t feel great (or their kids) but the habit change is so hard that there is resistance. They do NOT want to add in more nutritious foods. They know they cannot eat most of the things they have been eating but are resistant to trying new things. This happens due to food sensitivities in the past (mostly from a lot of processed foods that have created a huge imbalance that takes a long time to fix), resistance to schedule or cooking or baking (see above), and just not realizing that these simple swaps will literally change their life and alleviate the symptoms they have.
I have had several clients who just want to alleviate a few of their symptoms. Their goal wasn’t an overhaul of their nutrition, but just alleviate a few symptoms they had. Simply changing to healthier oils and fat sources, while decreasing processed carbs and sugar (and sugar subs) changed how they felt so much so they felt “done.” It is all about your goals and what you want. But what this story shows is that sometimes these simple swaps can change your life. (Oh and imagine how GREAT it would be if you made ALL the changes not just a few swaps).
Simply changing a few items in your day can even out your energy. You can get off the sugar roller coaster, you can balance your gut, you can eliminate headaches from poor fat sources, even regulate your bowels and urination through better foods, and better water/hydration.
You can make simple swaps, utilize your time differently and change your life through some better nutrition and lifestyle changes. I am here to support you in that journey!
My job when I work with a client is to find what is causing their symptoms and go at that with nutrition changes and lifestyle changes until it isn’t a problem anymore. With the right support and guidance, you can make those changes, and feel better than ever.