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How to choose healthy habits that don’t feel like punishment by Lily Nichols from

Please welcome Lily Nichols a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified LEAP Therapist and Certified Pilates Instructor all the way from USA on the blog today. She has come great advice for us on making better decisions that nourish our bodies. Let’s hear what Lily has to say:

So often when we make the decision to adopt a healthier habit, it’s out of fear. Fear that if we don’t take this action, something terrible is going to happen.

I’m going to drink green juice every morning because if I don’t I’m going to be fat.

I’m going to run 3 days a week because if I don’t, I wont be ready for bikini season.

I’m going to ______ because if I don’t, _____ (something bad will happen).

Approaching it from this angle, these activities sound like punishment, so you better bet they’ll feel like punishment. What if instead we turned inward and thought about how our body would feel instead?

I’m going to drink green juice every morning because I like how it boosts my energy.

I’m going to run 3 days a week because it helps me feel less stressed.

I’m going to ______ because I like _____ (how I feel when I do it).

When you turn these statements around, you automatically focus your energy on how this new habit is going to serve you and your body, rather than punish it.

It also gives you the opportunity to see if this new habit is right for you. lf it won’t serve you, why do it, right? There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to healthy habits.

journeyMaybe green juice tastes horrible to you or leaves you feeling bloated. Maybe going for a run is exhausting for your body, gives you a headache, and makes you want to eat a whole pint of ice cream.

Maybe instead you feel your best when you have eggs for breakfast or attend a Pilates class after work

Or maybe you feel nauseous when you eat first thing in the morning and instead do better with a midmorning snack. And maybe an afternoon hike is your best afternoon tension-tamer.

The art of adopting sustainable healthy habits is looking to ones that makes us feel good and are effortless to adopt. Things your body actually craves!

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

All of your friends might proclaim something to be the new secret to health, but for you, it might not be. It might feel like torture.

This is a pattern I see frequently with my clients who have digestive issues. Sometimes they’ve been diligently eating a food for years because someone told them it was healthy, and through food sensitivity testing, we uncover that this food is one of the underlying sources of their digestive problems. Had they listened to their body all along, they probably wouldn’t have eaten this food very often!

So ask yourself:

  • What could you be doing for your body today that would make you feel better, feel healthier, feel more supported, feel more you?
  • How would it feel if eating and moving your body wasn’t a stress in your life, but something that brought comfort and joy?
  • How can you allow this activity into your routine in a way that feels effortless, so it’s like you’re pampering yourself, not punishing yourself?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

LilyNichols.photo_Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, CLT is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified LEAP Therapist and Certified Pilates Instructor whose approach to nutrition embraces real food, integrative medicine, and mindfulness.

She specializes in helping people with digestive issues heal from food sensitivities, supporting pregnant women to have the healthiest pregnancy possible (even if and especially when they have conditions like gestational diabetes), and helping Pilates teachers and students finally lose weight by ditching restrictive dieting habits, indulging in real food, and tuning in to their body’s inner cues.

For more tips on balancing real food & real life, visit her website



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