It seems like a no-brainer. If you want to lose weight, eat healthy food and skip the junk. Why does it seem so difficult to stick to eating healthy foods when you are trying to drop a few pounds?
I struggled with cravings for junk food and sometimes resented the fact I couldn’t eat like I used to. I found it unfair that other people could eat junk and maintain a healthy weight while I seemed to gain weight by just looking at a piece of cake or smelling a bar of chocolate.
Healthy food doesn’t seem as appealing as junk food. I get that. You may like carrot cake a lot better than carrots or prefer ranch dip to hummus, but making healthier choices is not only possible but also enjoyable.
I think there are several reasons why it can feel hard to eat healthy when you are trying to drop pounds.
1) Junky foods are appealing.
Sure you’ve probably met people who say they hate fast food and would never touch a cinnamon roll at the mall, but the truth is that most people do find those types of foods appealing. Food manufacturers are experts at marketing foods to look good and appeal to your senses.
If I’m honest, I will tell you that I still look at some junk foods as slightly appealing, but now that I know what those foods did to my health and how difficult it was to lose weight while including them in my diet, they have lost most of their appeal. I am pretty sure that will happen to you as well.
Be firm in avoiding junk foods and over time their pull and appeal will lessen. I promise.
2) Healthy food takes time and planning.
It is easy to run into any grocery store and grab a deli sandwich, a frozen dinner that takes two minutes to heat up, or a box of cereal for lunch, breakfast, or dinner. It is much more difficult to do the same thing with healthy foods. Most healthy foods take some preparation.
For example, you have to cook oatmeal, cut up and wash vegetables before you cook or eat them, trim the fat off steaks and chicken before cooking, and do a lot more cooking at home when you are trying to eat healthy.
There is no quick fix for the fact that good food generally takes longer to prepare, but you can lessen the time required by planning ahead. Shop once a week and do a lot of prep work when you come home from the store. Precook meat and freeze it, wash vegetables, boil eggs, make overnight oats, and portion out yogurt and fruit for the week ahead.
3) Your friend group revolves around food. And not healthy food.
I had this issue when trying to eat healthier. My friends liked to go out to eat and they teased me when I ordered a salad or simple grilled chicken breast. They wanted me to join in on their food festivities.
It’s hard not to give in to this kind of pressure, but once your friend group realizes you are serious about changing your eating habits they will do one of two things. They will begin supporting you or they will begin to join in. Either one is a win for you.
4) Healthy food takes some getting used to.
If you have ever seen a baby try food for the first time you know that he or she gobbles up pureed pears and spits out peas. At least all seven of my kids did. If you haven’t regularly eaten vegetables, lentils, couscous, and other healthy foods you might not like them.
Start by disguising vegetables in tomato sauce or in soups and slowly add new healthier foods to your menus. Over time you will develop an appreciation for healthier foods. The longer you stay away from junk food the more appealing good food becomes because you appreciate the taste and how it makes your body feel.