Things arenít always perfect at Natural HQ and this morning was no exception.
For breakfast Iíve eaten a handful of chocolate chips, a granola bar from 2016 and some stale Brazil nuts ó basically everything I found at the back of my desk drawer.
Life has been a little hectic lately and Iíve let the planning slide a little. I still think itís easy to be healthy, but youíve got to put some effort in. When I say easy, I mean itís easy in that good choices are usually there if you look for them. However, sometimes finding the motivation is the tricky part.
Last week, I began teaching the latest Nutrifit programme, and we started by taking a look at why we find it so hard to eat well. The reality is that most of us know what healthy eating looks like (broadly), but we just donít do it.
I run through the biochemical, genetic, sociological and environmental triggers that throw us off track and, by the time weíre done, it can be a little overwhelming. How on earth are we going to navigate this crazy food environment when the odds are stacked against us?
When thereís a doughnut or frozen yoghurt shop on every street corner, when thereís candy at every checkout, when we routinely ďtreatĒ ourselves with junk and, when weíre biologically designed to crave and store carbs, you can be forgiven for falling off the wagon.
After years of observing the tricks that seem to make healthy eating habitual, hereís what Iíve learnt.
First, healthy eaters eat well because they genuinely enjoy, and want to eat, healthy food. This is a major focus in Nutrifit ó understanding exactly how and why great nutrition works in order to motivate you to continue. We also have great recipes and snack ideas because no one wants to eat a boring diet.
Second, healthy eaters plan ahead and make sure they keep healthy options close to hand. They plan in advance for trips and holiday festivities to make sure they have enough exercise and healthier days to balance out the bad stuff (or the less good stuff).
Third, they understand with great clarity exactly what their goals are, and importantly what their emotional connection is to that goal.
Julia Pitt (one of Bermudaís best success coaches) helped me realise how important goal setting was as part of the Nutrifit process.
She also gave us a method of exploring goals that has been really helpful for our participants. Iíve also learnt how logical reasoning doesnít really work in these situations.
For example, if we have heart disease, it would be logical to eat a heart-healthy diet, but as a stand-alone motivator that doesnít really work.
However, exploring why you want to feel fitter, look better, live longer and get more out of every day on this planet is more motivating.
For example, if you know you want to feel fitter and look better because your current state leaves you feeling negative, resentful and irritable about yourself and others ó and if you know thatís having a detrimental impact on your relationships at home and with friends ó then itís easier to dig a little deeper and be more determined.
Julia taught me that getting specific is useful too. What exactly does life look like in a year if you achieve your goals? What does it look like if you donít?
In addition, we look at what it takes to stick to goals and time and time again it always comes back to planning. So making sure you have good options at home is important. But itís also important to know what to grab and take with you, or what to buy when you are on the run.
For me, this is handiest at breakfast time. Itís the time of day when I am most likely to run out of time and most likely to think ďto hell with itĒ (the more polite version), hence the chocolate chips.
So, to help you along your way (and myself in the process, hooray!) hereís a list of easy breakfast options on the run.
When it comes to my own goals and motivation, Iím turning 40 this weekend and I promised myself Iíd be more physically fit at 40 than Iíd ever been.
I want to feel good every day (because life is short) and I want to authentically role model for my clients and kids. I can just about check it off my list but donít be too impressed, the baseline was not very high.
I did run May 24th this year and plan on doing the other end next year, so thatís my target. I also set myself the goal of being able to cartwheel at 40. I totally failed. Hopefully I wonít try and prove myself wrong at 2am on Front Street ó weíll see!
OK, so thatís it. Identify your goals, make sure you really know the ďwhysĒ behind them, and then go for it. Good luck!
Healthy breakfast options
Nut & Spice KIND bar
If all you can do is grab a bar from the cupboard and run, then make it a KIND bar. But make sure you get one from the Nut & Spice range as these only have 4 or 5 grams of sugar (the Fruit & Nut range have up to 23g.) The protein, fibre and fats should fill you up for a while ó have a big glass of water too! They have a great range of these at Supermart.
High protein Go Macro bar
Likewise, if a bar is the most practical option, the Go Macro bars are good; just be sure to pick one of the High Protein options (thereís a tab on the front right of the wrapper). Lindoís in Devonshire tends to have the best supply.
Plain organic yoghurt and Holy Crap ó add berries
If you can keep supplies in the fridge at work, keep organic, plain Greek yoghurt handy as well as some of the Holy Crap cereal (Miles). This is a really low-sugar option thatís super-filling. Add some fresh berries too if you can.
Fresh fruit and plain nuts
So easy. On your way out of the door, pick up an apple and a snack pack of almonds. My favourites are the Eden organic Tamari almonds from Supermart (they have large bags and snack-sized ó donít get them confused).
If you can stop at an omelette station, thatís great for a high protein start to your day. But skip the cheese and ham, and go for lots of veggies instead. You already have lots of protein with the eggs.
Scrambled eggs and fruit
Easy in a rush to do yourself, or you can stop at the hot buffet. Fruit portion should be what you can cup in one hand, so go easy.
Devilís Isle does an amazing avocado crush, which comes on wholewheat toast. I replace the bread with potato rŲsti for a gluten-free option. This is filling so will definitely tide you over.
Devilís Isle, Down to Earth and all the Buzz shops sell my Nutrifit green smoothie which is designed to be lower in natural sugars and has a good dose of fibre and protein to slow sugar release. If you snack on lots of nuts during the day, skip the nut butter here and instead add a scoop of whey or pea protein.
ē The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda