How do I remind myself to eat healthy?
Most people start the day wanting to eat healthy. But if it doesn’t stay top of mind, it’s easy to forget. So wouldn’t it be nice if you had a few simple prompts to nudge you the right way? Let me help you with some tips and tricks, so you don’t have to stress about eating right.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “Reminding myself to eat healthy isn’t the problem. Pfft. That’s easy. What’s hard is actually doing it.”
But have you considered how eating more will make your diet easier to stick to?
Here’s the thing, guys.
So many people go into the day without a plan. They don’t schedule times to eat, or if they do, they get busy and push forward on an empty stomach. And at the end of the day, they wonder why they don’t have any self-control.
But it’s not hard to see the problem…
You see, getting fit isn’t a contest of who can go the longest without eating or who can skip the most meals. It’s about taking time to eat so 1.) you’re not starving and 2.) you don’t have to use heroic willpower to back away from the chips and cookies.
Sure, skipping meals will make us “feel” like we’re dieting, but in reality, it’s not helping anyone. In fact, it only makes sticking to the plan that much harder. When we let ourselves get too hungry, one could say we’re setting ourselves up to fail. That it’s a form of self-sabotage.
The reality is, if you want to eat healthier, you have to eat.
Not eating is one of the things I see people get wrong most. I mean, they’ll go for hours and hours without so much as an apple.
And when you see someone go so long without eating, you have to wonder why they’re making it so hard on themselves. And it really comes down to two main reasons.
The first is that they’re stuck in the diet mentality. This is where they’re holding onto the belief that if you’re not hungry, then you must not be doing it right. And the second (and maybe the more common reason) is that eating just isn’t top of mind. They get caught up at work or with family and forget to make time to eat.
Today, we’re going to talk about the second reason. And I’m going to say something you don’t hear a lot about in the health and fitness industry…
I want you to eat *more* often!
Put yourself in this situation:
You’re busy, you’re tired, you’re starving. It’s 9 pm, and cooking something healthy is the last thing on your mind. Because who has the energy for that? And besides, there are cookies on the counter, chips in the pantry, and a delicious pizza is only a call away.
And if you find yourself in that spot, what should you do?
We could talk about how to avoid cookies, chips, and pizza, but the more important question is, what can we do to avoid ending up in that situation in the first place?
Listen, when you’re tired and starving, all bets are off. Self-control? Pfft. Willpower? Yeah, right.
The trick is eating enough during the day so we don’t get ravenous later in the day. And so we don’t have to use self-control or willpower.
How do we do that?
It’s time to start using triggers.
What’s a trigger? It’s something that catches our attention, like an alarm or a reminder. We use triggers every day…
We set the alarm to wake us up in the morning, we have reminders to let us know we have a meeting, and we have timers that tell us to pull the casserole out of the oven before it burns to a crisp.
We just need to take the strategy we’re already using and apply it to eating. We can set a reminder to tell us it’s time to pause what we’re doing and take a minute to eat.
Now, the argument I hear most from people is that they’re too busy to stop and eat. Hey, I get it. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy. And I know it’s hard to tear yourself away from a task…but what’s the alternative?
Imagine you’re driving to work, and suddenly you realize that your car is low on gas. Do you really want to stop and pump gas? No way. But we do. And why is that? Because no one wants to be stranded on the side of the road. You see, we stop for gas because not doing it is far worse.
It’s the same with eating healthy. We want to stop and eat, so we put ourselves in a good spot to stick to the plan and avoid what happens if we don’t.
Okay, so you’re too busy to stop, and it feels like a massive inconvenience…
The way I see it is we have two choices. We can set ourselves up to win or fail. We already know what happens if we don’t eat, and we know how that makes us feel. Isn’t that more of an inconvenience than not eating?
The truth is, the ones that are too busy to eat are the ones that end up skipping meals, and they’re the same ones that end up blowing their diet on snacks.
So today, right now, set one of these reminders:
Option 1: Set the alarm on your phone or use your calendar to remind you when to eat.
Option 2: Have Alexa, Google, or Siri tell you when it’s time to stop.
Option 3: Use a visual cue and write a reminder to yourself on a PostIt note or a chalkboard in the kitchen.
I know that it might seem silly to stuck PostIt notes on the fridge or to have Alexa remind us to eat. But again, we know what happens when we don’t and end up skipping meals.
It’s easier to avoid the dragon than it is to slay it.
So now that we have a reminder set, let’s spend a minute talking about how to avoid sabotaging our good intentions.
If you’re eating more but temptations are still drawing you in, I’ll share three strategies with you.
Strategy 1. Start asking questions.
There’s a bag of chips in front of you, and your mind is telling you that you’re hungry. But is that true? Maybe. But how do you know for sure?
The quickest way to the answer is by asking questions, like:
— What am I really hungry for?
— Am I trying to change how I feel?
— Am I hungry enough to eat broccoli?
We want to ask these questions because it’s easy to confuse emotional hunger with physical hunger. If we’re physically hungry, then we should eat. But more often than not, food isn’t what we really want.
Instead, we’re looking for a distraction, a stress reliever, an escape from a hard, frustrating day.
So we want to ask questions *before* we eat to find the real reasons why we’re hungry.
But, just like the reminders we set earlier, we also need reminders to ask those oh-so-important questions.
And to help you with that, I created these visual cues for you.
You can download the cues here. Just print them out and tape one on the refrigerator door and another on the pantry. Maybe you can even clip one directly to a bag of chips or cookies.
Strategy 2. Have a shutdown routine.
The second strategy we can use to help us avoid sabotaging our diet is a shutdown routine. A shutdown routine is a habit or action you can use to send a signal that you’re done eating for the day. And an example of this is brushing your teeth after dinner.
Brushing your teeth after your last meal is also a powerful way to curb cravings and stop late-night eating.
Say you crave ice cream later in the evening. One of the most effective strategies you can use is brushing. Brushing resets your palate, and you’ll have that fresh, minty feeling that you don’t want to mess up.
Strategy 3. Get accountable.
Promising ourselves that we’ll eat healthy is easy, but so is convincing ourselves that it’s okay to skip today because we’ll do it later. That’s why we need accountability.
It’s easy to make and break promises to ourselves. But when we make a promise to someone else, we’re far more likely to keep it because they’re there to hold us accountable.
So what if you had an accountability partner, or better yet, an accountability coach to make sure you stick to your promises? How much easier would it be to stick to your diet?
With accountability, you are capable of achieving far more than you think you are.
So to recap:
I want to say again that getting fit isn’t a contest of who can go the longest without eating or who has the most willpower.
The goal is to use as little willpower as possible, so your diet is easier to stick to. And a critical part of making your diet easier is by eating more often. And in the end, we’re left with one of two choices. We can choose to eat (and make our day easier) or decide to skip (and hope for the best).
It’s your choice but remember…
It’s easier to avoid the dragon than it is to slay it.
And finally, I gave you three strategies to avoid the temptations pulling you in.
The first strategy is to stop and ask questions like, “Am I hungry or looking to change how I feel?” This question is important because when you understand that food isn’t the solution to emotional eating, you’ve already taken a big step in changing how you think and feel about food.
The second strategy is to use a shutdown routine, an action that signals we’re done eating for the night. This is the switch we’ll flip that helps us turn off the part of our brain that’s fretting about whether or not we want to eat again.
And the third strategy is to get accountability. Because when you make a promise to yourself without someone there to keep you to it, it’s far too easy not to do it. So have someone there to keep you accountable and on track.
If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to join our free weight loss mini-course, where I’ll show you why diets fail and how to change your relationship with food, and you’ll discover what every diet you tried before was missing.
As a bonus for signing up, you’ll also get my “10 Best Weight Loss Tips” eBook. I’ve been a weight loss and accountability coach for over a decade, and the tips I share are what actually works.
If you know *what* to do but just can’t make yourself do it…
If it feels like you’ve tried “everything under the sun.”…
If you’re tired of making and breaking promises to yourself…
MyBodyTutor solves the biggest problem in health and fitness — the lack of consistency. And we do that by simplifying the process of getting fit into practical, sustainable behaviors and giving you the daily accountability and support it takes to stick to your plan.