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Are you too busy to eat healthy?


I get it – you’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy. It’s almost as if the word ‘busy’ has become a badge of honor for us to feel like we’re important. But this busyness can be disastrous to your food decisions and your health.

Many of my clients come to me skipping breakfast, drinking loads of caffeine in the afternoon, and eating a much larger dinner than they should ... all because one thing is dictating their poor food decisions. I’m not talking about “willpower” or “discipline.” I’m talking about your schedule dictating what you eat.

Earlier this year, I was flying to my quarterly business training. I grabbed a few apples, a bag of pecans and three of my daughter’s fruit leathers. My connection ended up being unexpectedly short, which meant no time for lunch. So by the time I landed in Charlotte, I was starving! I couldn’t get off the plane fast enough. When I finally did, I walked right past a sandwich shop and straight to the pizza place where I ordered, you guessed it, pizza! Okay, a salad as well.

This wasn’t a horrible food choice, and there’s nothing wrong with a slice of pizza now and then. But the point is that my schedule and my low blood sugar made the choice for me, otherwise, a salad with some meat on top would have been satisfying. If your blood sugar is low, the likelihood of making a healthy choice is highly unlikely. That’s why, as a health coach, I know you probably aren’t going to have long-term success until I address your schedule and show you how to fit healthier options into it. If you set yourself up with a plan that works with your busy life – you win!

There’s a lot that goes into figuring this out. I get the following questions all the time: 1. Is it better to drink a shake or eat a hearty breakfast? 2. Is it better to have an afternoon snack or skip snacking all together? 3. Is it better to stop eating after dinner, or is it okay to have a little something?

The truth is that there’s no “perfect” answer to these questions because they all depend on your schedule and lifestyle. Factors like how much you’re sleeping, how active or sedentary you are, what time you wake up and go to bed and whether you spend your day in a relaxed (or intense, full-throttle Wall Street) environment.

If you’ve tried every diet, strategy and “next best thing,” and come up short in improving your health, think back as to whether it was the plan or your schedule that contributed more to the unsatisfying outcome. I’m betting it’s your schedule more than the plan that’s to blame. Don’t get me wrong, a sustainable plan is important, but it’s of little value until you address the time constraints and nuances of your busy schedule.

You can win with your nutrition and improve your health, but not until you figure out how healthy eating and habits fit into your life. Optimal health doesn’t come from a three-week crash diet; it comes from consistent healthy, baby steps over time.

Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition, which has offices in Durango and Bayfield. She can be reached at 444-2122 or fran@fransutherlin.com.