This post contains affiliate links from which I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. In no way does this affect my opinion or the information I provide on the product. Please read my disclaimer for more info.
Why are you unable to stick to your diet?
Why do you keep on giving up?
Why does nothing ever seem to work?
Well, it’s probably because you don’t have the right mindset for healthy eating. When you are expected to make a radical change in your eating habits without changing the way you think, it’s almost bound to fail.
Indeed, there’s a mindset to have for optimal nutrition and weight loss. It’s the one that some people are born and raised with naturally— you know— those people who never seem to have any food or weight problems.
But thankfully, it’s actually achievable for everyone, even if it may take some work and some time.
1. Get into a growth mindset
The first thing you need to do is to get into a growth mindset. A growth mindset definitely improves achievement! 
There are two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
If you’re in a fixed mindset, you have a tendency to think that you are unable to change things. You believe that all of your current habits will continue on, no matter what you do about it, and that this is the way things have to be.
You attribute everything to your genetics, your bad food education, your environment, or your bad day without considering your own responsibility in the matter.
It goes without saying that there’s no growth possible in this type of mindset. After all, things haven’t been working up until now, so why should they change?
On the other hand, when you’re in a growth mindset, then you’re really in a place to learn because you believe in your ability to evolve, grow, and progress. You understand that things are always changing around you and that you have to adapt.
You know that you might have some failures along the way, but that it’s all part of the growing process and that you are going in the right direction. This is the mindset that really sets you up for success.
When you shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, you’ll stop finding excuses for yourself and finally start implementing some actions. Here are a few pointers on how to change your mindset for healthy eating.
2. Find your why
Why do you want to eat healthy or lose weight?
Is it really for yourself or is it just because you want to fit in with the (impossible) societal beauty standards?
Is it really for your health or just because you want to buy smaller jeans?
You really have to go deep into these reasons in order to find the main thing that motivates you. If you tell yourself that you just want to lose weight to be healthy, it’s too vague. Look deeper.
Is it because you want to be able to do more activities with your loved ones but aren’t able to follow along? Is it because you want to develop healthy eating patterns to pass down to your kids to prevent them from dealing with what you’re dealing with right now?
Is it because you feel like this will make you have the confidence to do things you’ve never had the courage to do? There are so many great reasons, and you have to find yours to keep you going whenever things get hard— because things are going to get hard.
If your why is big enough, it should pull you through the tough times.
If you feel like you can’t find your why, ask yourself if this is something that you really want or that you just feel pressured into doing.
3. Build a healthier relationship with food
An important part of eating healthier and losing weight is building a better relationship with food. Food should be seen as both fuel and pleasure. It’s awesome to fill up on good nutrients like the ones found in whole foods, but it’s also crucial to fuel your soul.
If you track everything you eat to make sure it’s “clean”, if you’re constantly craving sweets without ever indulging, and if you hate yourself every time you have a bite of junk food, you can see that this isn’t healthy.
A lot of people think that “healthy” means having salads every day and “unhealthy” means living on junk food. In reality, health encompasses so many different things.
That’s when having a healthy mindset comes in. You need to be able to let go and have junk food once in a while if you feel like it without beating yourself up for it. This is absolutely part of having a healthy mindset. You need to realize that health is on a global scale and that your mental and emotional health are crucial as well.
For a healthy relationship with food, it’s important to stop seeing foods as inherently good or bad. Each food you enjoy has their place on your plate— just during different moments.
As I often say, enjoying some cookies when you’re feeling down and need a quick boost of energy is a better choice than having some celery sticks. Now if you’re looking to add some nutrients, hydration, and crunch to your healthy lunch, celery is a better option than cookies. It just all depends on the situation.
4. Don’t aim for perfection
Another crucial point to keep in mind is to stop expecting perfection. If you strive for perfection, you are inevitably going to be disappointed. Nobody eats perfectly healthy and balanced meals all the time.
One of the dangers of this is to fall into the all-or-nothing mentality. This is when you consider things to be a failure whenever they’re not perfect. It starts by eating a handful of chips that you weren’t supposed to eat and ends with an entire cheat day because “now that I’ve ruined everything I might as well indulge”. You can read more about the all-or-nothing mentality, its dangers, and how to stop it here.
What I like doing for myself is acknowledging that I eat mainly healthy. Most of my meals are balanced and filled with nutrients, but having pizza or cake or some cocktails is absolutely fine. It’s part of my “mostly healthy” way of eating, so no need to feel like I’ve “cheated” (read about the problem with cheat meals here) or to feel food guilt.
It’s also important to note that everybody has a different idea of what healthy eating and being healthy looks like.
For some people, eating healthy means banning all processed food. For others, it’s having only organic, GMO free foods. For some, it’s avoiding animal products and for others it’s staying clear of fruits or grains!
So healthy eating can mean different things for different people and there’s no right way of eating. In general, health is on a spectrum and there are so many different ways of living a healthy lifestyle. You can’t constantly be listening to what everybody is saying— doing so will make you change your diet and habits all the time!
It’s important to do your own research, test things out for yourself, see what works for you, and to make up your own mind about what is right or wrong for your body. A great place to start is to have mostly whole foods, have plenty of fruit and veggies, whole grains, and healthy protein.
I also have a ton of articles and videos to help you along the way!
5. Set achievable goals
Another thing you need to do is to set achievable goals for yourself. If you just have a vague wish to get healthier, it won’t be enough to motivate you.
You need to hold yourself accountable by setting some goals. You can give yourself a big goal for the year and break it down into smaller goals to reach every month. This will enable you to see your progress and stay motivated. Check out this article for tips on setting SMART goals for yourself.
You also need to be tracking your progress, and noting where you’re proud of yourself and where you could improve. Write down how great you felt after getting home from that gym session. Reading this later on will help motivate you when you really don’t feel like going.
While it’s important to be satisfied with yourself, it’s also crucial to see what can be done better. Tracking your “slip-ups” could help you find a recurring pattern that you need to work on. You might notice that you’re always eating way too much chocolate in front of a movie at night. Or that you’re never able to turn down candy.
Once you find these recurring patterns, you need to write down at least one or two solutions for them.
For instance, one recurring unhealthy habit I had was that I would have huge super processed snacks after getting home from school. The steps I took to stop that were the following:
- I had a bigger and more filling breakfast, which made me crave these sugary foods less when I got home.
- I realized that, more than eating, I actually needed a break between school and homework, and having a snack was an excuse for this. So I began giving myself real 30 minute breaks all while having a small, healthier snack.
- On the days where I was really starving or needed a long break, I just had an earlier dinner to fuel myself correctly.
Try to do this exercise for your unhealthy habits and whip the list out whenever you feel them creeping back in!
6. Go easy on yourself
Finally, for a healthy mindset, you need to go easy on yourself!
Success is never in a straight line: it’s going to have ups and downs.
You need to enter this journey knowing that you are going to fail a few times, but that it’s okay and it’s even part of the process. If you have to stop and start over from the beginning every time you fail, you’re never going to get far. You need to pick up where you left off, forgive yourself, and move on.
If you really feel like you are experiencing failures all the time, maybe you haven’t entered the correct mindset. Re-read this article, do the exercises, and keep trying! You will get there.
Change your mindset for healthy eating in conclusion.
It’s important to have the right mindset when you want to start a healthy eating journey. Make sure to get into a growth mindset and to find your why.
You also need to build a healthy relationship with food, and to stop aiming for perfection. Don’t forget to set achievable goals and remember to go easy on yourself.