5 Common Clean Eating Stumbling Blocks and How to Overcome Them
Expecting 100% perfection out of yourself is impractical, and setting yourself up for failure. We can always try to do better and get stronger, but no one can be flawless every minute of every day. This is true for any aspect of life, including making healthy choices and eating clean.
No matter where we are on our clean eating journey, all of us can find ourselves facing stumbling blocks. It can be as simple as a month filled with birthdays (and, subsequently, a month filled with desserts) or as complicated and challenging as losing a loved one and dealing with depression or grief.
If you stumble, don’t be so hard on yourself! And try to remember that a piece of cake, a few fast-food meals, or even several weeks of emotional eating do not have to destroy your health or all the progress you’ve made.
Stand up, dust yourself off, and keep going!
Here are five common clean eating stumbling blocks and how to overcome them:
Before you can overcome this stumbling block, you need to identify what is causing you to over-eat or binge. There are several reasons and triggers, including the following.
Stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and several other emotional issues or mood disorders can cause binge eating and over-eating. Lack of sleep can also provoke someone to over-eat, as well as disorders such as ADHD due to lower levels of dopamine.
If you think one of these may be causing over-eating in your life, consider consulting your doctor, therapist, or health professional. Once you know which one is affecting your eating habits, you can begin treating it. If you’re stressed or anxious, try to pinpoint what is causing the anxiety. If you’re not sleeping enough, try to make changes to your sleeping habits. You may also want to reach out to others experiencing similar issues, such as looking for a grief support group.
My best advice is to live a life of moderation. Listen to your body and what it wants and needs. Also, remember that portion control is critical. To avoid over-eating, be sure you’re getting enough nutrients, protein, and vegetables and avoiding processed foods.
It can also be helpful to keep a health journal. Not to obsessively count calories but to be sure you’re getting enough nutrients and protein. Seeing your food on paper can help you see where you struggle and when you’re more likely to give in to temptation.
Perhaps the most common reason I see for OVER-EATING is UNDER-EATING. Extreme dieting can be a huge stumbling block that may cause you to eat either far too much food or far too little. People often attempt to lose weight by restricting their food, counting calories, and denying all cravings. Following strict and extreme diets, skipping meals, and eating less than your body needs can lead to binging. And denying yourself any cravings can result in eating much more of said foods.
When you under-eat, you are consuming fewer calories and nutrients than your body needs to function correctly. This can cause chronic fatigue, anemia, a weakened immune system, and many other issues. If you under-eat for too long and become underweight, you can suffer malnutrition, developmental problems, and even infertility.
These nutrient-dense No-Bake Energy Bites will help you get crucial nutrients easily.
Just as stress, anxiety, depression, and other problems can cause over-eating, they can cause under-eating. Experiencing traumatic life events or huge life transitions can negatively affect your mental and physical health. Also, you may under-eat simply because you are extremely busy or don’t even realize you’re doing it (either because you’re not paying enough attention to your meals, your metabolism is abnormally high, or you experience high levels of physical activity and do not compensate with your meals).
Slow down your meals as well. Try making each meal an event without other distractions. Pay attention to the food you’re eating and give yourself 30-60 minutes to enjoy it. Or eat frequently by having more small meals throughout the day.
As always, be sure to consult your physician for personalized advice and health concerns.
3: Eating for Speed and Convenience
Life easily gets in the way of making healthy choices, especially if those choices take more time, energy, and money. It can be very tempting to run through a fast-food restaurant for a quick meal or snack on some chips or pastries. The more convenient something is, the more likely people are to choose it.
That’s why it’s crucial to prepare and for a defense strategy against this stumbling block in advance. If clean eating is quick, easy, and convenient, then you may do it more often.
First and foremost, meal prep! Planning and prepping your meals saves SO much time and future-you will be SO grateful. Double or triple recipes so you have leftovers and put together quick and easy lunches for the week. If you need more guidance, check out our wonderful Meal Prep Video Training Course.
Make use of helpful appliances such as air fryers to crisp up leftovers and crockpots for easier cooking. You can find a TON of delicious crockpot/Instant Pot recipes here.
Last but not least, make cooking a quicker and easier event by planning ahead. Chop all your ingredients when you have time, and then freeze them so they’re ready when you are. OR you can buy your fruits and veggies frozen to save time and money.
4: Friends or Family Members Make Unhealthy Choices
This common stumbling block can cause habitual acts of eating by simply following the examples around you. If this is the case, you may need to focus on breaking bad habits. One of the best ways to do this is by getting support and surrounding yourself with people who have common goals.
A GREAT way to find this support is in our private groups included in The 30 Day Challenge. Members get to meet other challengers, form accountability groups and benefit from coaching by myself and my team. Daily encouragement and support from like-minded individuals can genuinely make ALL the difference on a clean eating journey.
If your kids are picky eaters, try involving them in the kitchen! They can help you prepare meals, go grocery shopping, or even garden with you. All of these can spark interest in new foods in your kids and get them more excited to eat healthily. When children help cook a meal, they are MUCH more likely to eat it. So, try turning cooking into a family activity to spend some priceless time with your loved ones and inspire your kids to live healthy lives.
5: Returning to Old Habits and Struggling to Start Again
Maybe you don’t have enough new recipes to try and are bored with cooking, have started treating yourself with a soda every day again, or recently fell off the wagon and are struggling to start again. Either way, returning to old habits can be a massive clean eating stumbling block.
Boredom tends to be a huge reason for this, and I’ve found the best cure is to look for new recipes. A brand new cookbook or even a collection of ebooks may be exactly what you need. And if you’re subscribed to our email list, we will send you brand-new recipes to try so you don’t have to do the work of looking for one!
Another way to fight boredom is to set aside time for planning a weekly menu. Take the opportunity to develop ways to make cooking FUN, like preparing themed meals such Taco Tuesdays or giving your kids a chance to choose what to eat. If you do this, try to find a healthy version of their choice. For instance, if they pick pizza, you may want to try one of these delicious recipes.
Guilt-Free Pizza? Yes, Please! This Grilled Veggie Cauliflower Crust Pizza will fill you with all the good feels, none of the bad!
The most important thing is not to beat yourself up. You do not have to be, and can’t be, perfect. Remember that you’re human, and this isn’t the end. No stumbling block can destroy you.
Don’t let yourself be completely ridden with guilt if you make a few less than favorable decisions. Give yourself grace and move on, knowing you’ll make better decisions later.
You’re stronger than that, and I believe in you. You’ve got this, CRUSHers!