Dealing with barriers

Barriers are things that get in the way of making a change and staying with it. Changing your eating habits takes time and practice. It’s normal to feel like you’ve slipped a little on your goals once in a while. But it’s important to stay on track and keep trying.

There are many things, such as emotional eating or easy access to fast food, that can make it hard to change how you eat. Emotional eating means that you eat too much or too often for reasons other than hunger. You may eat because you’re sad, depressed, stressed, or lonely. Or you may use food as a reward. Food can be soothing and distract you from what’s really bothering you. If you are an emotional eater, you may not listen to your body’s natural signals. You may eat more than you need or want. To find out what causes you to eat this way, keep an eating/food journal for a week or two. Write downEVERYTHING you eat, plus the time of day and what you were feeling right before you ate. This will help you identify things that trigger emotional eating.

Lack of time is a common barrier to healthy eating. You may tell yourself that you’re too busy or that you have more important things to do than shop for and make healthy meals. Healthy eating doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can make a healthy meal just as quickly as an unhealthy one. You just need to plan, have the right foods on hand, and learn how to cook some quick and healthy meals. BEWARE and read the labels! Sometimes a food that seems like a good choice may not be so healthy. A “low-fat” cookie may have less fat, but it may have as much sugar and as many calories as a regular cookie. Potato chips that are “cholesterol free” may still have a lot of fat, calories, and salt.  And remember, you are what you eat!

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