Toxins- making your home a safe place

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In my earlier post "Are you aware of the elephant (TOXINS) in your room and how it’s affecting your family’s health?" published last week I delved into the most common types of toxins that we are exposed to on a regular (most likely even daily) basis. It must have been alarming for many of you to read about the level of toxic exposure that our children (and adults) are exposed to in the modern world. 

Body burden” is a key concept that we all need to grasp in order to fully appreciate the effort that we need to put in order to minimise the impact of toxins on our health. It refers to the total amount of toxic chemicals that are in your body at any given point in time. NO ONE  is exempted from this toxic load in their bodies, not even newborn babies. Infact studies have shown that babies are being born already carrying a toxic load of as many as 300 different chemicals in their bodies, and that breast milk is filled with various environmental pollutants. 

Children and babies are also more susceptible to environmental toxins since their bodies are smaller by weight and can be exposed to more toxins than adults. Their immune and organ system are still developing and their exposure to toxic chemicals puts them at greater risk for chronic disease. Health problems in both children and adults can range from cancer and diabetes to autism and infertility. 

At the same time, many people mistakenly believe that there is nothing they can do to mitigate the harmful effects of toxin exposure that happens in our homes. As a result, they do not take it into account when buying food and other products. 

One of the things that I educate my coaching clients in is to become adept at reading the ingredient list of products before buying them to check for toxic chemicals in both foods and personal care products. Focussing on the things that are in our control since we can minimise our exposure to these at home. 

However, it can become overwhelming to make all the changes at the same time so it is always advisable to start with the ones that you think will make the most difference or what is easiest to change and then build from there. 

I also created a great freebie "Creating a non-toxic home for your family" so that you can use this free resource to choose different brands of products that are available in India in various categories. You can grab that right here:

Below I have listed some of the toxins usually found in each category and what to look out for.

Reducing exposure in personal care products

Please keep in mind that what is applied to the skin may be more important than what we eat. The gut is pretty good at blocking toxin absorption when it is in good health. However, it is pretty easy for toxins from these products to readily reach the bloodstream through the skin. Check out this excellent resource from safecosmetics.org HERE 

Avoid these ingredients-

  • Lotions – Avoid all lotions and moisturisers where there are ingredients like “parfum” or “fragrance” unless they are plant based /essential oil based; phthalates, petrolatum/petroleum by-products like propylene glycol, polyethene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG); preservatives like parabens
  • Sunscreen- Oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate in chemical-based sunscreens
  • Cosmetics- PEGs, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and siloxanes in makeup/cosmetics
  • Shampoos and bathing products – Avoid all shampoos and bathing products like shower gels/soaps which have SLS and SLES (Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate); parabens as preservatives; “fragrances” unless they are plant-based/essential oil based; petroleum by-products like propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG); triclosan as an antimicrobial
  • Baby wipes and diaper cream – Avoid baby wipes with ingredients like triclosan, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG), parabens and artificial fragrances; boric acid and BHA (a preservative) in diaper creams
  • Hand sanitizers – Triclosan is the key toxin in hand sanitizer due to its antibacterial effect; other chemicals to avoid are artificial fragrances, alcohol, petroleum by-products. Use normal soap for regular use at home
  • Mosquito and insect repellents – Some of the regular mosquito repellents contain chemicals like synthetic pyrethroids, DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide) both of which are known to cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. There are safer and natural alternatives which use the power of essential oils to repel insects naturally.

Home care and cleaning products

Other main sources of toxin exposure at home are laundry and dishwashing detergents, home cleaners and air fresheners. Check out excellent guide from ewg.org HERE.

  • Laundry and dishwashing detergentsDetergents which have sulphates (SLS and SLES- sodium laureth sulphate and sodium lauryl sulphate), which are foaming agents. They are known to be skin irritants and can dry the skin excessively. Other chemicals which are usually present are preservatives like parabens (Methyl, propyl, isobutyl to name a few), artificial fragrances containing phthalates are other chemicals which may or may not be listed at all. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets also have artificial fragrances and which are also known endocrine disruptors as well as synthetic chemicals. 
  • Toilet and other household cleaners– It should be enough for one to stay away from these products which usually give warnings on the bottles saying it is toxic and unsafe for children to use. Sadly, most of us are not aware of exactly how toxic these products are in terms of causing health issues like lung and skin irritation, infertility issues, hormonal disruptions. Chemicals commonly used are ammonia and chlorine, hydrochloric and phosphorous acid, ethanolamines to name just a few. Natural and safe alternatives are available in the market. You can also use this recipe.
  • Air fresheners, paints and polishes- All of these are major sources of air pollution inside our homes. Wherever possible choose non-toxic alternatives and avoid artificial air fresheners completely. Opt for natural, plant-based room air fresheners and/or incense sticks which have essential oils or use essential oils in a diffuser in each room. Also, use HEPA air filters in the bedroom for those living in cities and especially for those having children (and adults) with asthma. There are several brands of essential oils available for use in diffusers.  
  • In the kitchen– there is a LOT you can do in terms of making healthy choices in your kitchen. I have listed some of them below.
  • Perfluorinated chemicals like PFOA and PFTE have been linked to a range of health problems including thyroid and infertility. Avoid using  PFTE and PFOA coated non stick cookware since non-stick cookware when heated has proven to be a primary source of a dangerous toxic fluoride derivative, specifically perfluorinated chemicals (PFOAs). Switch to ceramic, glass or stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead
  • STOP giving microwave popcorn to your children. PFOA is not only present in the inner coating of the bag, but it also migrates to the oil from the packaging during heating. Make it from pop corn kernels instead
  • Remove plastic containers, cans, cling films or plastic wraps, canned beverages as they are all sources of various toxic chemicals. Even BPA-free containers contain other bisphenols which are equally toxic. Use glass, steel for storage and beeswax, parchment paper, paper foil for wrapping food instead of plastic wraps. 
  • Avoid putting hot food in plastic containers and avoid heating food in the microwave oven in plastic containers.    
  • Keep plastic out of the dishwasher, freezer, and microwaves, because both hot and cold temperatures can release more phthalates
  • Do not drink canned food products, soda or other beverages, because aluminium cans are often lined with BPA

Nutrition

  • Eat a nutrient dense diet - A combination of refined, processed foods lacking in nutrients and unprecedented toxin exposure is causing a lot of harm to us and our children. Foods like processed meat, canned foods; processed and refined food; foods with additives like artificial colourings and flavourings; refined sugar; artificial sweeteners in beverages and sodas are completely avoidable. We certainly need to pay more attention to our diet by making it nutrient dense by incorporating fresh vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins and lots of fibre. Read this article to learn more about this topic

There is a lot which can be done inside your home to mitigate the risk of environmental toxins. It can become quite overwhelming to make sweeping changes all at once. Start with what you think will have the maximum impact for your family. Start with one category by consistently making healthier choices in terms of products and continue to do so.

After all,

“An imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”

 

Are you aware of the elephant (TOXINS) in your room and how it’s affecting your family’s health?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I am writing today’s post both as a Health Coach and a concerned mother. I first became aware of the impact that toxins have on our health when I was researching for a way to heal my daughter’s severe eczema way back in 2014. Till then I had absolutely no idea how much these hidden chemicals in our environment (inside our homes and outside) impacted our health. I had no idea that by simply breathing, walking and eating we are exposed to thousands of chemicals every single day! 

When I got to know that companies can introduce chemicals into the environment without any test to show that they are safe, it took my sense of disbelief to a different level. Add this to the fact that neither is it possible to review the potential effects of all the different chemicals nor does everyone have the same detoxification capabilities and you actually start to get a sense of the real picture. It is indeed truly alarming!

Unfortunately for most of us, toxins are like the “elephant in the room”. It takes up a lot of space and has a HUGE impact on our lives including our health but we are often unaware of exactly HOW. In fact, our children are particularly vulnerable since their organs are still developing. 

I hope that by sharing this information with you I am able to increase your awareness about this really important topic and help you and your family make healthier choices to minimise your exposure.

(In the second part to this post, I will show you exactly how. I will also share a handout on some non toxic and eco friendly brands that are available in the market today.

In this post, however, I go deep into some of the toxins that are we are most often exposed to in our houses and elsewhere. Toxins are a scary word for most of us. It originally means a “poison of plant or animal origin” and for most of our history our bodies have dealt with this and we have evolved over time to metabolise and eliminate most of these toxins naturally.

However, with the advent and explosion of man-made chemicals in the 21st century, our bodies do not even recognise most of the toxins and are not equipped to deal with them. We have now landed in the midst of a global health crisis of sorts. And our children are bearing the brunt of it. 

Toxins may be ingested through food, inhaled and applied to our skin. These are substances found in pesticides and fertilisers, health and bathing products, industrial pollutants, preservatives and additives in processed food, petrochemical fuels and solvents, cookware and other plastic products used at home. Even in minute doses, many of these can wreak havoc on our hormones, immune system and nervous system. And when these build up over time they can eventually overload our detoxification system leading to various chronic health conditions including cancer. 

Infact, just as modern medicine has almost eradicated erstwhile childhood diseases like rubella, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus we are now grappling with modern childhood diseases like eczema, allergies, asthma, autism.

Does this sound familiar to you? Does your child or another child you know suffer from any of these? 

Infact, some of the common symptoms that children (and adults) can exhibit (but certainly not limited to) connected to toxin exposure are

  • Sinus congestion
  • Allergies and eczema
  • Gut issues like constipation, diarrhoea, poor digestion
  • Difficulty concentrating, attention deficit hyperactivity
  • Development effects on the nervous system
  • Sleep problems
  • Obesity in children (and adults)
  • Puffy, dark circles under the eyes

Environmental toxins can result in obesity in children and adults by interfering with the process of glucose and cholesterol metabolism thereby inducing insulin resistance. This is a direct precursor to rising rates of obesity in babies (who are still breastfeeding) and children across the world. Indeed, many toxins can and do act as an endocrine disruptor in children and interfere with their natural hormones as they are capable of mimicking those very hormones. As a result, we now see early breast development and onset of puberty in young girls especially if they are also overweight. Rising cases of allergies, asthma and skin conditions like eczema can also be at least partly attributed to higher levels of toxin exposure through inhalation and application on the skin.

But before I get into what the most common toxins are you also need to understand HOW exactly they can affect your health (Source credit: The Toxin Solution by Dr Joe Pizzorno)

  • Toxins poison enzymes so that they don't work. Since every physiological function in our body depends on these enzymes, toxin damage has a huge impact on our bodily function
  • Toxins displace structural minerals leading to weaker bones
  • Toxins can damage nearly all the organs and systems
  • Toxins damage DNA leading to premature ageing and degeneration
  • Toxins modify gene expression leading to individual health problems and that of future generations
  • Toxins damage cell membranes so that respond properly and are unable to get important messages
  • Toxins interfere with hormones and cause imbalances by mimicking, blocking and inhibiting and inducing hormones
  • Toxins also impair the body's ability to detoxify leading to further issues

A few of the common toxins that we are exposed to are given below-

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP): These toxins enter the body when we eat the foods prepared on these surfaces. These are mainly Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) like PFOA and PFTE which are found in non-stick, stain resistant and water repellant surfaces in cookware, water-resistant clothing, pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags, food wraps, paint and cleaning products. When non-stick cookware is heated, these toxic chemicals like PFOA and PFTE are released which are likely carcinogens, are contributors to weight gain and obesity apart from other health concerns.

BPA, BPS (bisphenols): These are chemicals which disrupt our endocrine system thus wreaking havoc on our hormones and subsequently has an adverse impact on the development of reproductive organs of children. This can cause weight gain and obesity, neurological disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity in children and other health conditions. These are usually found in storage items like plastic bottles, food cans, containers, baby bottles, soothers and plastic microwaveable plates and dishes just to name a few.

Phthalates: Phthalates are also found in a host of products like plastic food containers and children’s toys. Hence it becomes very important to be aware of the toy quality especially if the children are young and teething. They are also routinely found in cosmetic, makeup and personal care products which contain artificial “fragrances” and “parfum”.

Parabens: These are another group of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties especially as far as estrogen is concerned. Parabens are used in countless personal care products lotions, perfumes, anti deodorants, shampoos and conditioners to name a few. It works as a preservative and inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold and amongst other health issues have now been associated with wheezing and eczema in children.

Triclosan: It is yet another endocrine-disrupting chemical and is routinely found in antibacterial soaps. These are just a few of the many thousands of chemicals that our children are routinely exposed to in the modern world. It is indeed alarming and I do not want to mince words while saying this since it will not serve anyone at all, least of all our children.

However, having said this, it is in our hands what we want to do with all this information. We can fall into despair or we can do something about this starting with our homes and immediate environment. I really hope that you will choose the latter.

As someone wise had said, “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change”.

Resources for further reading

Healing the new childhood epidemics by Dr Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth

The Toxin Solution by Dr Joe Pizzorno

Children and environmental toxins by Philip Landrigan

 

6 resources that can help busy moms increase their productivity (one of them is my favourite)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Being a mom in the 21st century and being "busy" are inseparable. From the moment we wake up in the morning right down to the minute we fall asleep, most women carry in their heads an endless to-do list of things which they need to get done. If you are like most women, then you also struggle to make it through your day with some days being worse than others. Days where everything seems to pile up - work projects, logistics to be managed at school and at work, housework and other chores.

Does this sound familiar to you?

As a health coach, I work primarily with women with chronic health conditions where work together to implement lifestyle and dietary interventions in order to reach their health goals. However, what I find to be a common obstacle in preventing many of my clients (and friends) from doing so is often a "lack of time". Since regaining health and/or sustaining good health takes BOTH time and effort, not having enough time to take care of themselves is a major constraint for most women.

I am quite familiar with this myself and have struggled with this in the past as I juggle home and work responsibilities. I often have days where work piles and nothing seems to get done or becomes overwhelming. Over time with focus and practice, I have become better at managing my time especially since I now juggle three roles- being a mom, health coach cum entrepreneur. This means that I have had to become very intentional about how I spend my time. This is necessary not only to prevent burn out in the long run but also to ensure that my time with my family is not compromised.

I have learned to use technology to a large extent to my advantage in this respect (being a tech geek helps as well!) to increase my productivity in the time that I get during the day to work on different aspects of my life. In this post, I am sharing with you 6 productivity resources that you can use in your daily life (both tech and non tech) to help you manage your day (and time) better. There are of course countless such options available, these are just some of the options that I use every day and have proven to be quite useful for me. 

1.Google Keep

When I was making this list, I almost left this one out since it seemed quite an obvious choice to use for storing to-do lists, checklists, reminders and such. However, I remembered that a few years back even I was not aware of the simplicity and usefulness of this app and it may be the same for some of you. You can download and use this app (for both Android and Apple/ Mac) on your smartphone AND your laptop so that they are synchronised at all times. 

Some features that find really useful

  • You can pin the most important notes at the top so that you see them FIRST
  • Reminders can be added to any post so that you will be notified when it is due
  • Each note can be shared with any person via various platforms including WhatsApp
  • Pictures and links can be saved easily
  • You can use different colours to differentiate and accentuate important notes

 

2.Technology apps like Freedom and Offtime

While I love using technology to enhance my productivity (as you would have realised by now) there at times when it can be a major hindrance in getting quality work done. Since writing is a big part of my profession, avoiding distraction is key to my productivity. 

Distractions due to incoming texts, social media, emails can really derail our thinking process and increase the time that we take to do deep work. Apps like Freedom (phones and laptops) and Offtime (phone only) offer us a way to block out these distractions while we are working. Try them for free and first, you can always pay for them to get added benefits. I have tried a few other similar apps but have found these to be quite effective.

Some key features include 

  • being able to block websites as well as apps and customise these as per your requirements
  • being able to block the internet completely if you need to
  • ability to schedule sessions free from distraction as recurring events at specific time of the day(I use this feature a lot)
  • Sync these blocks of time across all your devices (for the Freedom app)

3.Templates

This is one resource which is more old school and less tech-driven than the others. You can find and use various templates for a variety of purposes like weekly meal planning, weekly scheduling, to do and chore lists, to help with parenting, housework and countless more.

These templates can be found in many different places (both free and paid) but I find it easier to look for them on Pinterest. Since the search results are visual on Pinterest, it becomes easy to find what will suit your requirements. By saving them and printing them out, you can use these templates as an interesting and useful way of increasing your productivity.

 

 

 

 

3.Trello

Trello is essentially a project management app. You can use the basic features for free by creating multiple boards for different projects that you may be working on for both work and home. You can create as many as you want for e.g. separate boards for each child's school project work. These are saved in each board as a “card” which are tasks and/or ideas which can be edited, moved around and shared with others. These cards can in turn form different “lists” in each board to differentiate between various stages of progress. 

You can sign up for Trello HERE

  1. Evernote

This is one app/resource that I have been using for many years now and I am sure many of you will be familiar with this one. I chose to add this since this is so useful for streamlining information that we would like to save and access when needed. Evernote allows you to save websites/articles/pictures from the web using their web clipper in notebook formats making it really easy to save information. More importantly, it has searchable options across the notes (and pdf in paid version) while keeping it synced across multiple devices.

I use this to save research articles, websites, blog posts, information and most importantly for me, recipes in a very useable format. Check it out if you have never done so HERE

  1. Canva

This last one is by far my favourite. It allows me to be creative and productive at the same time. There are endless possibilities in terms of making invites, flyers, brochures, newsletters, social media banners, posters, ecards and more. There are beautiful editable design templates as well as photographs available, giving you many options which you can then customise to suit your requirements.

I use this quite often for both work and home related projects and I highly recommend that you check it out HERE

There you have it! 6 productivity resources which can help modern day moms like you get work done and stay on top without getting overwhelmed. The key, of course, is to use them as per requirements and as often as you need to without feeling pressurised to become a master at all these at the same time. Being patient with yourself and not giving up while trying something new is necessary to avoid both overwhelm and throwing in the towel. The key is to simply get started, no matter where you are. 

As Mark Twain said it so well

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started"

 

Related posts on this topic

Do you know your ‘WHY” ? (And why you should)

Rocks, pebbles and sand…the key to knowing what is important in your life

 

The top 5 things that you need to do in order to stick to a healthy diet (Hint: none of them is willpower)

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Many of us today are constantly trying to find ways either to lose excess weight or to maintain our weight. Either way, unfortunately for many of us, it is often a losing battle. Lack of healthy eating habits is one of the biggest reasons why so many of us struggle to achieve our health and wellness goals. Also, as I remind my clients often, weight loss is just one small part of becoming healthy. But this is not to say that we are all to blame for this. Infact, the actual reason is often the most overlooked one- our environment (and this is what I have written about in this post). 

(My earlier post was on HOW we eat and why it matters, click HERE to read it. Also, as far as losing weight is concerned, I've got you covered- please check out one of my earlier posts on this topic-What is holding you back from losing weight?)

Healthy eating habits are at the very core of any sustainable health and wellness goals which includes weight loss. What I find, however (both in my personal as well as professional life) is that just by knowing what foods to eat, focusing on the quality of the foods and the way we eat them is NOT ENOUGH. The missing piece of this puzzle is our external environment which can easily hijack our attempts in very subtle as well as more obvious manner.

An unfortunate reality in our modern world is that there are many external forces at play here which can make it really difficult for us to make healthy choices when it comes to buying food. And unless we are aware of these forces and have a strategy in place to counteract them, we are often at their mercy. And we pay a price for this in terms of our own health as well as our children's health. What makes it even more difficult for us to appreciate the magnitude of this issue is that the effects of our daily choices are only visible mostly in the long run.

But before you start blaming yourself, read what Dr Mark Hyman has to say about the way the food industry works today

Our taste buds have been hijacked by the food and diet industry. We are programmed to like sweet, salt, and fat tastes. And those slick combinations of sugar, fat and salt in junk and processed food have hijacked our taste buds, our brain chemistry, and our metabolism. These foods are biologically addictive. We are held hostage by the food industry and we blame ourselves.

The good thing is that we can take back our health by taking back our kitchen. We can use real, fresh, unprocessed and wholesome foods to undo the effects of our external world. I know that if I can educate women like you to make the right choices, everyone benefits- one family at a time. An example of how this can work in real life is one that I would like to share from my own life.

Recently, in the building complex that I reside in Mumbai, two grocery stores have opened up recently to serve about 400 odd families. While I am really happy about the convenience and ease this has brought to my life, I am also apprehensive about the effects that it will have on our health and that of our children in particular. Nowadays, I often see younger and older children purchasing artificially coloured and flavoured, highly processed and refined foods or “edible food-like substances” (as the author/journalist/activist Micael Pollan calls these foods) on a regular basis.

Fortunately for me, my children have been made well aware of the connection between the foods that they eat and how it affects their mood, body and energy levels and it protects them from the temptation to a large extent. But it is still quite difficult for them to resist the allure when they see their friends having these foods. 

Many people are simply not aware of the dangers of these nutrient poor foods which can wreak havoc due to the presence of additives (like artificial flavourings and colourings). These are neurotoxic, damage gut health and are filled with hidden sugars contributing to inflammation and/or obesity.

However, the good news is that once we are made aware of these hidden dangers, we can do a LOT about a situation like this. We can come together and have a say in the types of foods that we want our children to be exposed to on a regular basis in their external environment. (This is something that I intend to work on with a few other mothers in the near future).

And indeed, designing our environment to help us inculcate healthy eating habits is the first of 5 tips that I would like to share with you.

Read on to find out more.

1.Design your environment

We can design our environment so that we do can avoid using our willpower to resist temptation. Willpower is vastly overrated and I have written an entire blog post about this, read it HERE. In order to stick to a healthy diet we need to ensure that we are not surrounded by the very foods we are trying to avoid. If you are tired at the end of a long day and reach for a snack, you are extremely likely to reach for sweets, cookies and other sweet goodies that you have in your house.

Similarly, if you do not want your child to eat something that you know is unhealthy, do not get it into your house. It is that simple.

2. Make a list and then choose 1 or 2 

There are many things that we may need to do in order to eat healthily and often this entire process can become quite overwhelming for most people. You may be one of those women who is juggling responsibilities at work, caring for your child (or children) and managing your home. There hardly seems to be any time or even energy left for you stick to a healthy diet for your self.

What I find works really well for my clients is that we first discuss and make a list of things that they need to do in order to eat healthily

  • Buy and switch to groceries which are healthier alternatives to the ones they are buying currently
  • Make healthy, nutrient dense foods like salads, soups, smoothies
  • Meal planning for themselves and their families
  • Take out the  time to enjoy and savour their meals

Once we have made this list, my clients choose 1 to 2 (maximum) that they would like to prioritise and take action on FIRST. They know that this needs to be done on a consistent basis and it really does not matter how small this step is. What is more important is that they once they have decided, they need to take action on a consistent basis.

3. Adopt a proper eating hygiene

Eating hygiene is often an overlooked and neglected aspect of having a healthy eating habit. And even though I have written a separate blog post about it (you can read it HERE) it is important enough to be included in this post as well. Infact, this is often the place I start with most of my clients. While eating the right foods is extremely important, HOW we eat is instrumental in determining how well our digestion and absorption processes will work. 

So switch off your TV (screen or gadget) and put away your smart phones every time you sit down to have a meal. Take the time to savour your food and enjoy this time with your family (if possible) and see the difference that it makes.

4. Use smaller and dark coloured plates when trying to lose weight

This is a very simple yet effective weight for controlling the portion of food that you are consuming especially if you are trying to curb overeating. The smaller plate will make the amount of food look larger to your mind due to a powerful optical illusion called Delboeuf Illusion. This illusion makes us think things are smaller than they are when compared to things which are larger. 

The second part is all about high contrasting colours between your plate and your food. If you use dark coloured plates like red or green, it can prevent you from taking an extra helping, especially if the colour of your food does not match that of the plate. This way you do not have to depend entirely on your motivation and willpower to stick to a healthy diet.

5. Create a new identity

According to the author of Atomic Habits by James Clear, one of the most important things we can do for ourselves when trying to change our habits is to create a new identity. Believing new things about ourselves is key in sticking to healthy habits. Our thoughts shape the beliefs that we have about the type of person we are and in turn, this determines our behaviour. It follows that if we want to build new habits we should carve out new identities to help us do that.

As James Clear says

“Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.”

When we start believing in the person that we would like to be, we can often find the steps that we need to take in order to be that person. If you are trying to stick to a healthy diet or to lose weight, you need to be clear on what your values are and what you stand for as a person. A bit of self awareness is key here as it will give you the clarity you need to visualise the changes that you want to see in your life.

In other words, if you would like to

create healthy eating habits, the identity that you may want to identify with is that you are the kind of person who chooses whole, unprocessed foods over refined, packaged and processed ones.

 become fitter, you may wish to identify yourself as the kind of person who moves every single day- no matter what. Whether it is for 10 min or 60 minutes, you are the person who takes the time out for yourself.

 lose weight, you may wish to identify yourself as the kind of person who pays attention to the foods that you eat as well as your body’s requirement for nutritious food.

One key aspect of this last point, however, is that is also important to celebrate every small bit of progress that you make. It is these small wins that will help you build momentum and keep you going. 

There you have it! My top 5 tips for sticking to a healthy diet by which will ultimately mover you closer towards your own health and wellness goals.  It all starts with becoming aware of where you stand and then taking one step at a time, repeating it every single day. 

As Wayne Dyer had said

"Healthy habits are learned the same way as unhealthy ones- through practice".