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Eating healthy, Staying active - Why is it so hard?

We have been told by our family, friends, doctors, and the media to eat well and stay active. It's been on our to-do list since last January's new years resolution, but it's still not happening. Why is it so hard?

If we take a step back, it can be clear as to why we are struggling with this. There are many distractions in this modern world. Here's a list of reasons that people find affecting their motivation to change:

  1. Lack of Time: Many people lead busy lives and struggle to find time for healthy habits, such as exercise and meal planning.

  2. Stress: Stress can impact mental and physical health, and may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or alcohol consumption.

  3. Lack of Knowledge: Some people may not have access to accurate information about healthy eating and exercise, or may not know how to make healthy choices.

  4. Availability of Unhealthy Options: Unhealthy food options are often more readily available and affordable than healthy options, which can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

  5. Environmental Factors: Factors such as neighborhood safety, access to parks and recreational facilities, and air pollution can impact an individual's ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  6. Habits and Behaviors: Unhealthy habits and behaviors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, can have a negative impact on health and make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  7. Mental Health Issues: Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can impact an individual's motivation and ability to engage in healthy behaviors.

  8. Lack of Support: A lack of social support, such as support from family and friends, or access to healthcare professionals, can make it difficult to maintain healthy habits.

Psychology can play an important role in helping individuals eat better and stay active. Here are some ways that psychology can help:

  1. Identifying Barriers: Psychology can help identify the psychological and emotional barriers that may be preventing individuals from eating better and staying active. For example, individuals may struggle with emotional eating or lack motivation to exercise. Identifying these barriers can help develop strategies to overcome them.

  2. Goal Setting: Psychology can help individuals set realistic goals for eating and exercise. Setting specific, achievable goals can help individuals stay motivated and track progress.

  3. Cognitive Restructuring: Cognitive restructuring is a technique used in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing to unhealthy eating habits or lack of exercise. This can help individuals develop a more positive mindset and improve self-efficacy.

  4. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique used in mindfulness-based interventions that involves paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. Mindfulness can be applied to eating and exercise, helping individuals become more aware of their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations related to these behaviors. This can help individuals develop a more positive relationship with food and exercise.

  5. Motivational Interviewing: Motivational interviewing is a technique used to help individuals identify and overcome ambivalence or resistance to change. This technique can be applied to eating and exercise, helping individuals identify their reasons for making changes and developing strategies to overcome barriers.

  6. Positive Reinforcement: Psychology can also help individuals stay motivated by using positive reinforcement techniques, such as self-rewards or social support. Positive reinforcement can help individuals stay on track with healthy eating and exercise habits and feel more confident in their ability to make lasting changes.

It's important to work with a qualified mental health professional or registered dietitian or personal fitness trainer who can provide individualized guidance and support. A comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both psychological and physical aspects of health can help individuals develop sustainable habits and achieve their goals. Get in touch to find out more.


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