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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Making Healthy Habits Sustainable

Mar 31, 2022 08:00PM ● By Chelsea Kazmierczak-Goethel


Nearly 50 million Americans go on a diet each year. The “my diet starts on Monday” mindset has become rampant in today’s modern society. It is no surprise that the top New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions for adding long-term healthy habits, roughly 66 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.

Ask almost anyone and they will agree that diets do not work. Motivation often fades after the initial victories decline or when life gets stressful. Plus, as the body loses weight, its metabolism slows down. This may lead to feelings of failure and the return of old habits. 

Now that is not at all to say that dietary changes are not of paramount importance when it comes to creating a state of health and well-being. Food is the most powerful medicine available. Adopting a whole, unprocessed food eating style is the key to sustaining the wellness of the human body as well as creating a more sustainable food system. 

For those looking to improve their health, here are a few simple ideas. Choose protein-rich foods over dessert-style breakfast options in the morning. Reach for real food snacks of nuts, fruits or vegetables in lieu of packaged snack foods. Consider using anti-inflammatory oils like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil in place of inflammatory omega-6 rich oils such as soybean, canola and corn oil.

Even with such a wealth of knowledge on healthy eating available, Americans are sicker now than ever before. Sometimes simply knowing what to do is not enough. One must consider their mindset and release the idea of short-term quick fixes. To reach any goal and maintain positive outcomes, a mindset of life-long sustainable lifestyle changes is key.

A change in eating style is only as beneficial as its longevity. Luckily, the world of nutritional psychology has much advice to offer when it comes to making healthy dietary habits truly sustainable. Of key importance is the establishment of the reason behind a health goal or dietary change. If a person chooses to try a new diet for weight loss because they do not like their body, the success rate will be lower than if they were to come from a place of self-love and compassion. A journey focused on nourishing and loving oneself will result in habits that feel good beyond the short term.

Another important foundational component of life-long wellness habits is the establishment of a support system. The power of community and connection cannot be underestimated in regard to adopting new behaviors. Making changes with others is more successful than going it alone. Friends, family members, online communities and other groups create a space for support, accountability and camaraderie.

Stepping away from a high-stress approach to health that comes with unrealistic expectations is an additional piece of the puzzle. The physiological state of stress that has become the norm does not allow the body to properly digest and utilize even the best foods. Relax and aim to let go of perfectionism. When it comes to the physical act of eating, it is critical to destress and slow down. Eating too quickly, or in a distracted state, can have a negative effect on digestion. Focus on the task of eating while finding gratitude for the nourishment the food provides.

Lastly, one can set themselves up for success by preparing their environment and routine. Create a kitchen that is primarily full of whole foods by curating a grocery list that doesn’t include processed items. Leave trigger food out and aim to have ample alternatives at-the-ready. Schedule other healthy habits, such as relaxation and exercise, into the daily calendar. This helps make healthy choices an easy priority.


MetroEast Natural Healing Center, in Oakdale, uses a targeted approach to assess states of malnutrition, toxicity and other causes of ill health. Their highly trained and experienced nutrition practitioners specialize in creating customized dietary and supplemental plans to improve the health of their patients. From minor symptoms to serious health concerns, the expertise of their holistic practitioners can make a major difference in reaching one's health goals.

 Chelsea Kazmierczak-Goethel, MSACN, is a holistic practitioner at MetroEast Natural Healing Center, in Oakdale. She is advanced clinically trained in Nutrition Response Testing, holds a bachelor's degree in Human Physiology, and a master of science in Applied Clinical Nutrition. Her own health issues brought her into the natural health care world, but the return of joy and optimum health to her patients happily fuels her every day. She is grateful to have been a part of the healing journey of so many patients over the past five years. For more information, visit

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