Putting Healthy Eating on Autopilot

Everyone knows that hitting that drive-through isn’t the healthiest choice, and that pizza delivery really shouldn’t be something you do a couple of times a week. Of course, everyone would like to be healthy, but where do you start? Who has the time? It’s all too daunting, and so we allow the bad habits to continue.   

But what if I told you that you can put healthy living on autopilot?   

Habits are your brain’s way of going on autopilot. When you do the same things repeatedly, your brain can turn that process into a habit, and then use its energy for more important things; like chess, or algebra, or (more likely for busy moms like me) figuring out how to be at soccer and ballet practice at the same time.   

The good news is that you can harness the power of habit and use it to your advantage.  

Here are five steps to put healthy eating on autopilot:  

  1. Have the right combination of food with each meal: Your brain is an amazing science experiment full of hormones and chemicals that run your body’s systems. The foods you eat affect how you feel and what you crave. There is a simple formula for curbing hunger and kicking cravings. At each meal focus on having one portion of healthy protein (lean meats that were ethically raised, eggs, nuts, seeds, or beans) combined with a healthy fat (olive oil, avocado oil, natural nut butters, avocado, coconut oil, and butter from grass-fed cows) with at least two fruits or vegetables, especially greens. This combination turns off hunger hormones, keeps you full longer, and reduces cravings.  
  2. Make as much food as you can from scratch at home: Anything you create in your own kitchen is going to be healthier than that same food purchased at a restaurant or prepackaged in a store. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook, remember that cooking is a skill that can be learned just like everything else. Also, never underestimate the easy recipes; simple scrambled eggs with avocado and sautéed spinach is a nutrition-packed meal that anyone can make.  
  3. Find accountability partners: Sharing your goals makes you much more likely to stick to them. You can find an exercise/nutrition buddy, write about your experiences on a blog, join support groups on social media, or hire a coach like me. You don’t have to do this alone!  
  4. Crowd out: Most diets focus on the idea of cutting out the “bad” foods. Instead, focus on making sure you get in plenty of nourishing foods. This naturally crowds out the foods that don’t serve you. For example, if you have a green smoothie for breakfast and a hearty salad at lunch, the rest of the day usually takes care of itself.   
  5. It’s not all or nothing: Have you ever made a goal to improve the way you are eating, and then someone at the office brings in donuts? The temptation is to throw in the towel after just one. The reality is that every single act of healthy living helps improve your body. Give yourself grace and room for mistakes, and then get back to nourishing food. You only fail when you give up!   

These steps naturally lead to the creation of new habits, habits that will serve you and make healthy eating simple and automatic.   

Please come to share your experiences with me on my site, and feel free to sign up for a free meal plan to get you started.   



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Written by Emily Allen

Emily Allen is a former obese girl turned Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She lost 70 pounds by cutting processed food, an experience she documented on her site, Emily now teaches families how to cut processed foods and live their healthiest lives