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Wellness Wednesday: Top 3 Excuses for Not Eating Healthy and How to Fix It

I hear these words uttered quite frequently from clients during out consultation: “I know what to eat, I just don’t eat it.”

You can practically question anyone who is walking around Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Dayton, and so forth, and they can tell you what is healthy and what is not healthy.

The problem?

The problem is that no one is doing it. They know what to do, but they just aren't doing it. For example, you know you probably shouldn't be reaching for that sugar-filled doughnut or that high-calorie morning drink full of sugar.

Right?

This is a subject that interests me greatly. For many clients that I work with, I find that he or she has fallen into this habit of choosing what they eat based on a few of the following reasons.

3 Common Reasons Why “I Know What To Eat, I Just Don’t Eat It”

1. Convenience

Sure, cooking whole foods requires some preparation. It is much more convenient to stop at a nearby fast food restaurant, pull up to the window, swipe your card, grab your food, and go. In a matter of minutes, you have not only entered and exited the parking lot of some fast food restaurant, but you are also already consuming your order while on the go. Even though fast food restaurants are incorporating healthier food items on their menu, that is not what most order. Plus, many of the “healthy” food items are still extremely high in calories and sodium content.

Solution: Order a healthier option if you are in a hurry and have to swing by a fast food restaurant. Find something on the menu like a grilled sandwich or even a salad. The problem I have found for most is the temptation of ordering what he or she used to ordering. Preferentially, I have clients avoid fast food restaurants all together and focus on healthy meal planning and meal preparations.

2. Cost

This used to be a heavily used response. Over the last year or two, I’ve found that convenience typically trumps cost. My response to the “healthy foods costs too much”: To eat healthy can be a little pricier than eating unhealthy - but, not by much. It is quite possible to eat healthy without spending a lot on foods.

For those who are still adamant about healthy foods being too expensive, ask yourself if you can afford not to. Eating right is the best insurance you can have in order to decrease a plethora of illnesses and diseases. When you have a great deal of illnesses and diseases, you then pay for medications, which are definitely expensive. In addition, when you are sick, you miss work, thus losing out on pay.

Think about it.

Solution: In order to decrease your health food costs, focus on obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market. You will find that farmer markets are consistently lower than grocery stores, plus you’ll find a lot more than just fresh fruits and vegetables. If your goal is to shop on a low budget while at your local grocery store, try these solutions:

  • Stick to your grocery list when shopping
  • Shop for in-season fruits and vegetables
  • For out of season fruits and vegetables, swap fresh for frozen. Buying frozen will allow the item not to go bad.
  • You can do the same with fish. You can also grab some fish in the can or packets.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Invest in oats, beans, and other grains.

I think you get the point. It is quite possible to eat healthy on a low budget.

3. Taste & Texture

“I don’t like the way vegetables taste” or “I don’t like the texture of (insert food item)”. That’s okay. There are many options!

Much of the time, I find that individuals who don’t like the taste of vegetables because they have heard it tastes awful, are cooking it incorrectly (especially when overcooked), or haven’t been introduced to the right vegetable for them (buy in canned or frozen form versus fresh).

I have one client who discovered she liked broccoli. I call it her gateway vegetable. Now, that’s all she eats for vegetables until she’s ready to try some new stuff.

Solution: This is on a per individual basis, but there are many options out there. One solution I like to tell clients is that the next banquet or party they attend, try a little bit of veggies there. A small bite is better than nothing. Reasons to try at a banquet or party? It’s free (well, you are at least not paying for it and then throwing it away afterward if you don’t like it) and has been prepared by a chef. If you like it, ask for some tips or the recipe. Another solution is to disguise your vegetables in with other foods. I’m a big fan of smoothies. If a client is up for the idea, then I have them throw in just a little bit of spinach or kale in too. If you like omelets, throw a little bit of veggies in with your omelet.

These are the three most common reasons clients tell me they know what to eat, but don’t eat it. If you fit any of these three common reasons, give the solutions a try. If you have any other solutions not mentioned above, post it in the comment section.

- Joshua Reed is a certified personal trainer, certified nutrition coach, and is the owner of Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training. He currently operates space in Ludlow, Kentucky and travels to see clients at their home in the Northern Kentucky / Cincinnati area.