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Habits That Sabotage And Undermine Nutrition Plans

By Camille Gallinger, CN

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

This implication of this saying is that no matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.  I was thinking of this last week when a client said “Help. My supplements aren’t working anymore!”

She was complaining of anxiety-related chest pains, fatigue, and non-stop cravings for comfort food that did not line up with the eating style she had been faithfully following.  She had crashed and couldn’t understand why.  But one thing she felt sure about… the supplements didn’t work for her anymore.     I asked her to tell me more about what had been happening in their lives the last few weeks, even the last couple of months, especially regarding the way she handled stress.  I heard statements such as:

“I’ve been really stressed out about my job performance, so I took my mind off of it with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream…lots of it.”

“I had a ton of fires to put out at the business”

“I tossed and turned until after midnight; my joints and muscles hurt so much.”

“Since I couldn’t go back to sleep I grabbed my iPhone started answering emails.”

“I spent the weekend listening to my friend’s problems; she’s going through a lot…again.”

“I didn’t realize it but I’ve been forgetting to take my multivitamins.”

This was all absolutely understandable, but all the stress and chronic responses to stress were working against her efforts to recover and maintain her energy and physical well-being.  Because of all the overwhelm and chaos, it was difficult for her to understand that what she interpreted as “supplements not working any longer’’ was more likely the unhealthy responses of worry and anxiety, lack of sleep and nighttime blue light exposure from digital devices, taking on the problems of another while excessively fatigued and having little to no self-recovery time.  It was an opportunity to speak about stress care, better perspectives and the importance of giving one’s self extra support and latitude during times of heavy stress.  Nutrition in isolation is not enough.  Mental and emotional well-being should be considered.  Not even the very best eating style and the most appropriate supplements can withstand a barrage of unsupportive habits and responses.   When writing Nutrition Summary Notes, I usually insert a section called Lifestyle Strategies – this covers “suggestions” that encourage behaviors for self-care while your body is being supported with better foods and supplements.  It might include ideas such as: 

  • Take some time to quiet your mind and center yourself in the morning rather than going straight to the noise of the internet and immediately putting yourself into a reactive state.
  • Put away the digital devices at bedtime; or don’t distract yourself with social media, try *this* instead
  • Consider getting advice on delegating and getting help at work if you are overwhelmed with obligations, responsibilities and people
  • Don’t use alcohol to help you sleep at night; research shows it doesn’t  improve sleep
  • Use physical reminders to help you remember your supplements 

It is most effective to take on a mindset of accountability for yourself, your perspective and your behaviors and courageously look at those behaviors that may have changed and why?  Health and vitality are hardly ever attained by nutrition in isolation but rather a lifestyle gives attention and consideration to your thought patterns, relationships, exercise and habits. 

Note:  I will be sending out a letter called the Vitality Exchange Community News. This letter will highlight a new food find or healthy product for a healthier you.  Be on the lookout for it!


Wisdom Source: “A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). 

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