Depending on the person, maintaining optimal health seems to be either fairly simple or incredibly difficult to manage. I’m always curious about what differentiates the two for my clients. And for those who face this difficulty in eating healthy, what causes it?
In working with people to help restore their health, I’ve learned there are three primary reasons people struggle to maintain optimal health: looking for the quick fix, lack of commitment, and unsustainability.
By exploring these areas in more detail, we can gain a better understanding of the setbacks many of us encounter. When we identify what is holding us back, we make better decisions toward improving our diet and our health.
Looking for a Quick Fix
Unfortunately, we live in a society that’s all about the “quick fix”—looking for the magic pill or smoothie that solves all of our problems. We want that one thing that cuts the pounds, cures diabetes, stabilizes blood sugar levels, boosts energy, balances cholesterol, and heals our gut all at the same time.
The thing is, all of this can generally be accomplished by changing the way we eat. By supplementing your diet with nutrient dense and nourishing foods, you’re providing your body with the nutrients it needs to heal. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of your immune system is located in the gut, which means that by eating foods that help support gut health, you’re boosting your immunity and increasing your body’s ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients. Diet and nutrition should be foundational in all of our health systems.
It may not be a magic pill, but if I offered simple steps to change your diet, what is standing in the way of making those changes? Likely, it’s commitment.
Lack of Commitment
I used to joke that I should have a disclaimer on my website that asks, “Are you willing to commit to doing the work needed to heal and fully restore your health?” If you click no, you will be redirected. If you click yes, you can enter and inquire about working together. What once was a joke is now becoming more of a reality as I realize in working with more clients that the first step to healing is commitment. I know many practitioners face this every day and I was glad to read Maria Atwood’s wise words: “To get up in the morning and look forward to a pain-free, lively day requires the power of consistency. It takes some real commitment—and yes, planning.”
Transitioning toward sustainable health starts with making a dedicated effort and adopting minimal changes to gain the maximum benefit. Changing your diet is like changing anything: it takes time, and it’s usually difficult in the beginning because it’s new, but after a while it becomes routine and part of your everyday life.
Eating clean is sustainable; it can continue for the rest of your life and you don’t have to worry about dieting again. Weight loss supplements, smoothie diets, and counting calories aren’t a lifestyle and while they may work in the short term, you have to ask yourself if this is truly healing your body and something you can maintain? Not to mention, asking if this quick fix is solving one issue but creating new ones.
Many diet supplements and shake replacements may cause quick weight loss, but at what expense? I’ve worked with clients who have taken weight loss supplements that’ve caused gallbladder attacks and gut issues because of their ingredients. Plus, you have to ask yourself, how sustainable is this? For instance, what happens when you go off your smoothie diet or your weight loss pills? Or you stop counting your calories or meals? Does the weight come back or do you revert to old habits? Usually the answer is yes because those diets and drugs aren’t a sustainable way to regulate weight or health. And you haven’t committed to making the lifestyle change needed to eat healthier.
These struggles are why I’ve created the 70/30 Plan—my plan to help people transition into eating healthier while at the same time making this change sustainable. The 70/30 Plan starts with a simple goal: eat one healthy meal a day and then slowly improve your other meals. This plan focuses on eating healthier 70 percent of the time, while allowing some flexibility with the remaining 30 percent. The plan also emphasizes the importance of meal planning: committing one hour one day each week to preparing proteins in advance and thinking of a few different meals to make with each protein. From there, you prep your “fix-ins” (ingredients) needed to make those meals. This way, when it comes time to make a meal, everything is readily available and all you have to do is assemble!
All the 70/30 Plan requires to begin a healthy lifestyle is a small commitment: dedicate one hour to meal prepping one day a week and commit to eating healthier, more nourishing foods that will heal your body rather than harm it. Over time, the commitment pays off and it becomes sustainable—it’s something you don’t have to worry about anymore because it becomes a part of life. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? No more yo-yo dieting, digestive issues, or swings in energy levels—just consistently feeling great without the stress of diets. The only thing standing in your way is whether you’re committed and dedicated to changing.
Images from Carley Smith.