…and other reasons why you eat what you know you shouldn’t.

Eating healthy isn’t a “diet” or a temporary way to eat, it’s a shift in thought process on how you view and relate to food. A healthy relationship with food and a comfortable understanding of how food works – and specifically how it impacts your unique body will go a long way to getting you to the healthy, happy mind, body and soul you want.

Below are six reasons why you may not find success when working towards a better way of eating.

1. Wait Too Long to Eat

If you allow yourself to go more than four hours without eating, you are messing with your body’s natural ability to sustain a healthy level of food energy. Therefore, your energy levels will “crash” causing you to eat the first thing you grab, which is usually not the best choice. Crashing will also lead you to eat more than you would have normally eaten.

2. Expecting Miracles

Even though advertisements for diet pills, fitness programs or weight loss programs promise miracle body changes in just a few weeks, days, or even hours, you shouldn’t expect changes over night. Making unhealthy choices simply because you don’t instantly see “results” is a terrible reason to sabotage all the efforts you’ve already made. Plus, the results you are getting (and if you’re making good choices you are getting results) may just not be as obvious yet. They may just be internal results such as more energy, a healthier digestive system, or a primed body which is getting ready to adjust to its new, more effective fuel. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

3. Need a Fix

When stress comes into play, the brain good looking for a “feel good” endorphin release. Sugar sets off endorphins in the brain that for a brief period give your feel good centers a little boost. An orgasm, a good work out, or a great laugh also allow endorphins to release giving you a healthy feel good boost. They also give you the ability to handle stress or challenging situations more effectively with less negative impact on your body and mind. So, the next time you need a feel good boost, toss in a comedy DVD, reach for your partner, or jump on the elliptical. The feel good will last longer with no down side.

4. Have a negative relationship with food

Many people – overweight, underweight, and normal weight alike – have a terrible relationship with food. Just look at the language associated with food: diet, cheat, necessary evil…. What type of language do you use when you talk about food? Does food choice confuse you? Do you feel like you are at war with food or that it controls you? If so, then your relationship with food needs improvement. You should have a healthy love affair with food that makes you feel good, not guilty. Spending time to understand why your relationship with food isn’t healthy, will help put you on a road to better healthy and a happier life.

5. Fake Sugars

Just because the can says “diet” or “no sugar” does not mean it’s good for you. Fake sugars (or “artificial sweeteners” as they preferred to be called) such as Splenda, Aspartame, Sweet ‘n Low are chemicals known as neurotoxins-toxins that affect the brain and nervous system. Side affects from these chemicals vary from ADD/ADHD to Lupus to depression, auto-immune disorders, and many others. They also cause your brain to actually crave MORE sweets as the tongue may think it got its sweet tooth fixed, but the brain – more powerful than the tongue – knows the impostor it was a chemical and not a sweet causing the brain to continue the craving. And the cycle continues. If you have to have sweets, then reach for fruit. If you must have sugar, then reach for natural cane sugar or Stevia.

6. Too restrictive

Overly restrictive diets are often the culprit of overeating, poor food choices, and bingeing. If you want to start eating healthier, being too strict will often lead to boredom of choice, hunger, and longing for comfort foods. Rather than taking things out of your diet, it is often easier to add new food items INTO your diet. For example, rather than just eliminating sugar, it would be more effective to add more fruit into your day. Or, add fresh avocado onto a sandwich or salad to replace cheese as a choice. When you add, rather than eliminate, you will be have more success overall.

In the end, even if you fall of the wagon, give yourself a break. Even minor choices can make major differences when it comes to food and your overall health.