8 diet challenges that drive people crazy! and simple solutions

DIET / NUTRITION is a well talked topic by each and everyone. Everyone is a dietician / nutritionist in his/her own way.  Everyone knows what to eat or keep searching for some or the other nutritional information. Diet still remains a mystery to some level as desired health goals are not achieved with such searched/ googled knowledge. People still face challenges when it comes to practical application.
During my own nutrition coaching practice I realized that there are 8 diet problems- nutritional challenges  that drive people crazy! These look simple but are the biggest nutritional challenges.

1. “I can’t stop stress/emotional eating.”

This serves as the biggest nutrition challenge for more than 80% of emotional eaters who want to work on health.

Emotional eating and intense cravings are typically part of a  behavioral pattern that is triggered by a specific experience like a thought, feeling, and/or situation. 

It becomes important for the health coach to identify the emotional and stress eating triggers and then apply a step-by-step strategy to build alternative actions. This helps make better food choices and adhere to protocol suggested. 

Research suggests that programs promoting exercise, mindful eating, emotion regulation, and positive body image can have a positive effect on emotional eaters who struggle to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

2. “I don’t plan my meals.”

Meal planning serves the base for successful eating habits to achieve desired health goals. 

It is observed that there is no thought put into what to eat later the day or next day or the rest of the week. Most of the decisions are made after a person is already hungry. This makes ready to eat foods, junk food, unhealthy food a priority.

On the other hand If one makes a menu plan for a week and spends weekend morning grocery, fruits, vegetables shopping and taking the afternoon to pre-prepare seven days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, one can enjoy cooking quick, healthy, balanced meals. Bingo!

If you practice this, you will be amazed to see how this simple approach transforms the quality of meals, yet it doesn’t require a ton of effort.

3: “I eat too quickly.”

Fast eating is just one part of an overall fast-paced lifestyle. In the current lifestyle people are overworked, overstressed and are left with little time to pay attention to their meals. This makes them eat meals in a hurry, superfast speed. There are many adverse effects of quick eating.  To mention a few foods eaten are not digested well (as the gastric juices do not mix well), more air is taken in resulting in bloating and overeating (disruption in gut hormones that help regulate appetite and tell when we are full).

The act of consciously slowing down—even just taking a breath or two between bites at first—can help eat less without feeling deprived.

Instead of having to figure out which foods to eat, in what frequency, and in what portions—all important factors, of course—eating slowly is the simplest way anyone can start losing weight and feeling better immediately.

4: “I have a serious sweet tooth.”

Typically, it is not just the sweetness that appeals to taste buds, belly, and brain. It is the delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt that makes certain foods nearly irresistible. There’s even a special name for them- hyperpalatable.

In fact, food manufacturers use this flavor formula to create products one can’t stop eating. 

The biggest challenge with these foods is their availability: They’re everywhere, including our own kitchen. So resisting them becomes a challenge.

The key here is – out of sight – out of mind! Avoid purchasing such food items and try to replace them with healthier food preparations.

5. “I eat out a lot.”

Eating out is just one part of an overall fast-paced lifestyle. Eating out is not a choice but a mandatory thing for working professionals. With so many temptations, varieties offered in restaurant menus, it’s natural to feel what to order. There’s no right or wrong answer for what to order? but deciding ahead of time can help stay focused and avoid being distracted from diet protocol. Here are some tips.

  • Order a plant-rich dish. 
  • Choose a lean protein dish. 
  • Avoid breaded and fried foods. (This eliminates a lot of poor choices.)
  • Ask for dressings on the side. (And use it responsibly.)
  • Eat slowly. (See Challenge #3, above.)
  • Stop when you are 80 percent full. (See Challenge #6, below.)

6: “I eat larger portions than I need.”

The abundance of hyperpalatable foods (see Challenge #4), and the mega-meals served by restaurants, eating more feels completely natural. In the thought of not wasting food, one tends to eat more.

Which means eating an appropriate-sized meal can feel… completely unnatural. At least until one gets used to it. And believe me this requires practice. A simple way to start: 

  • Eat slowly (Challenge #3)
  • Stop when you’re 80 percent full. 
  • Have little portions or servings of each food to avoid overeating. 
  • Have a glass of water before meals.

7: “I don’t have time to prepare meals/cooking.”

This challenge is related to “I don’t plan out meals” and “I eat out too much.” But it’s also slightly different because it specifically tells us the reason why: a lack of a key resource. Many people are on the move all day, making a living, commuting, and/or caring for others. So there is no time available for cooking meals in spite of menu planning or pre preparations. Seeking a house help works best for this. So the menu planning can be done by you. Rest can be taken care of by house help/ buddy. This ensures eating healthy balanced meals in spite of lack of time.

8: “I drink too much.”

Nowadays this is emerging as one of the biggest challenges in many cases, drinking habits affect the ability to lead a healthier lifestyle and follow diet protocols. Drinking too frequently interferes with sleep, stimulating  appetite, cravings for salty and sugary foods, indigestion, bloating, etc.

Following are the steps one can take  to feel a little better about  alcohol intake. 

  • Have two glasses tonight instead of three( reduce the quantity).
  • Have light meals before going for drinks.
  • Drink more slowly, so that one glass lasts longer.
  • Have a glass of water between cocktails.
  • Most importantly, try to keep it to a minimum. Better awareness can result in better choices. 

Hope this article has been useful for you. 

If you face any of these challenges, get in touch to know more about how to practically work on it.

Published by swatisandhan

Hey, I am an enthusiastic functional nutrition expert with 14 yrs of experience in the field of nutrition. I am a qualified nutritionist with masters degree and a Registered Dietician too. I believe in magical healing power of food and nutrition and want to guide people for the same.

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