Why your brain makes healthy eating changes a challenge

Your adult brain is very happy to have easy tasks.  Imagine if you had to remember how to tie your shoe each day or how to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush. We setup brain shortcuts or pathways that make daily tasks a no-brainer. When it comes to changing habits, these pathways can become difficult to rewire, adding more of a challenge to making eating and exercise changes.

The next time your brain wants to default to the drive-thru dinner it’s used to or skip making lunch before you head to work, try these habit change tools to help your brain create new, healthy habit pathways.

Make the new thing obvious: Put your lunchbox out on the counter every night. Pack it then or put the car keys in it so you will have to notice it in the morning. Your brain will remember to fill it when your eyes see it.

Make the new thing something you actually want: If you’ve failed eating changes in the past because you are tired of tuna but that’s what you always turn to when you’re “trying” to eat healthy, make meals that actually entice you! Healthy eating does not have to be bland or boring. Think of some of your favorite dishes. Search for healthier recipes or work with a registered dietitian to learn how to make your favorite meals work with your health goals.

Learn your real motivators: The thing that helps you make lasting healthy eating changes might be different than other motivators in your life. Being healthy for family is very important, but it might not motivate you to make your lunch instead of grabbing a vending machine snack. Since health changes are slow, you’ll need some immediate gratification to keep you moving. Try paying attention to the money you save weekly from less meals out and put it towards a bigger purchase like new walking shoes or a tablet. Journal your daily energy levels on a scale of 1 to 5 and see how it improves with better nutrition and regular exercise. It might not be the 50 pound weight loss goal you want, but these quick wins will keep you going.

If you struggle most with having groceries on hand to prepare healthy meals, or feel unorganized with your meal planning, get help with my custom meal planning subscription. It pulls everything into a convenient website or smart phone app. Learn more here.

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