If there was one thing that used to get in the way of my weight loss efforts, it was lack of consistency. I could easily stick to a diet or eating plan for a few days, but as soon as I had a bad day at work, a night out or a slip up, it would go out the window.
I would curse my lack of consistency knowing that if I could only stick to the damn thing then I’d start making progress. Now, when I coach clients this often comes up, but luckily there are ways to tackle it!
First of all, we need to be clear on what consistency with healthy eating actually means. It does not mean ‘perfect’ eating. We’d all really struggle if that were the case, and be very depressed in the process. I’d miss cake for a start!
Consistency, or at least what that looks like for me, is eating healthy food in the right amounts (this is key, see my post about eating too much healthy food) most of the time. We will all have our own balance of what ‘most of the time’ is going to look like for us. For example, I have the body type that means if I’m not eating healthy food in the right amounts 80 – 90% of the time I’ll probably gain weight. This is going to be different for each of you depending on your own constitution, activity levels and phase of life – being a breastfeeding mother of a young baby definitely impacts this for me!
There’s another massive part of the equation which is mindset. If you have an all-or-nothing attitude and are likely to say ‘fuck it’ after the tiniest cookie passes your lips, that isn’t going to help! This was the issue I had when a bad day at work impacted what I ate and then spiralled into sitting at my desk eating a Greggs’ pasty and 3 packets of Skittles (that actually happened once!)
So with all that in mind, here is how to be consistent with healthy eating:
1. Decide what your ‘most of the time’ is going to be – like I said mine is 80 – 90%. Please don’t aim for any more than 90%, and really think about your body’s needs. What does this look like for you? Is it a takeaway once a week and lunch out on a Sunday? Is it a blow out dessert on a Friday night or a big slice of cake at coffee with friends? I wrote all about being treat smart so check out this post.
2. Get it straight in your head what healthy food means for you – this is a really important thing for us all to get our heads around as there are so many definitions and approaches. It’s going to be different for everyone, so have a good think about what that is for you.
3. Get to grips with portion size – I personally love this kind of approach, very well illustrated by Elle Magazine. Unfortunately, just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want of it (except perhaps for veggies). Boo hoo I know, I’d quite happily eat a jar of almond butter if that wasn’t the case!
4. Learn from your mistakes – look back over the past month, where have you been having an issue and ‘falling off the wagon’? Do you think it’s a mindset issue? Lack of planning? Don’t just identify the problem and do nothing though, act upon what you learn!
5. Re-connect with your motivation – why is eating healthily so important to you? Get crystal clear on what that is for you. How does healthy eating make you feel? What, aside from weight loss, do you want to experience? Sometimes it’s not the weight loss that actually stops us from reaching for that second bag of crisps. It’s that feeling of achievement when you’ve made a good choice, it’s going to bed feeling comfortable instead of feeling stuffed. Think about how you really want to feel.
6. Meal plan – meal planning can be so helpful in ensuring you eat healthy food most of the time in the right portion. It doesn’t have to be a complex or time consuming task, just take a few minutes once a week and plan out what you intend to have. You can also split the week in half and plan Monday to Thursday and then Friday to Sunday. That’s how I do it, generally I’m more flexible with the weekend plan than the weekday plan. You can grab a free meal planning template download (amongst other goodies) if you sign up to my updates here.
7. Get some solid routines in order – having a good morning routine especially will set you up to be more consistent through the day. Check out the last Happy Health Chat podcast all about routines for more info!
Feeling like you are being more consistent can really help with weight loss in particular, but also with your overall wellbeing. I know how much more at ease I feel when I’m being consistent and in my groove.
How consistent are you with healthy eating? What have you struggled with? How do you stay consistent?