4 Secrets to Creating Nutritional Habits for Life

5 min reading time

Hi friends!

My adventure with health and nutrition started in 2010 when I signed up for a Clinical Dietetics course at the University in Poland. 

As a student dietitian in placement, my consultations were offered to the patients as a part of their hospital treatment. I used to walk into their rooms buzzing with excitement and eagerness to share all that I knew about their condition and the best dietary approaches and, to my surprise, I was often met with resentment and many of the patients didn’t actually follow the advice. This often left me feeling frustrated. At the time, I couldn’t understand why people didn’t want to do the things that would clearly make them feel better.

As I was gaining more experience with my own clients, I realised that ‘providing information’ or ‘educating’ clearly wasn’t enough and that we all somewhat know what to do. It seems that turning the advice into everyday actions is the biggest challenge for many of us! This applies to any new goal and habit in life!

As I was eager to practise in the UK, I returned to study Nutritional Therapy a few years later. At the student clinic, I was assisting those who reached out for my help and they seemed to express more readiness for change than the hospital patients.

Since the beginning of the course I have learned much about the theories behind behaviour change, as well as useful tools and techniques; they all allowed me to put all the pieces together and to successfully support and motivate my clients on their journey to optimum health

It was an obvious choice for me to conduct a year-long study on behaviour change in nutrition for my MSc thesis, a subject that is very close to my heart. 

For the research, I have interviewed participants who have had at least 3 consultations with a nutritional therapist registered in the UK. The interviews were a mix of open-ended questions focusing on exploring the process of change from the perspective of the participant. I then compared them with existing research (and at that time most of it was focused on the efficacy and sustainability of weight loss approaches).

I’ve grouped the outcomes of the study into 4 secrets to creating nutritional habits for life:



Make your goals as specific as possible, agree on them at the beginning of the process (e.g., in the form of a written contract), and break them down into small steps over a longer period of time.

Make sure the pace and frequency of consultations are adjusted to your individual needs.  Working with an experienced Nutritional Therapist can help you explore and strengthen your motivation. They may also encourage your own observations with various progress tracking tools, as well as offer prompts and praise that may allow you to keep the momentum.



Acquire necessary skills related to food shopping, meal planning and cooking to help you gain confidence that you are able to make that change in how you cook and what you eat.

The more practical skills you have, the less challenges you will face along the way.



Find ways to manage stress and seek rewards in activities that do not involve eating.

A lot of our dietary choices are triggered by different emotions, such as sadness, anger, doubt, or lack of control. It’s particularly useful to remove the connections between these emotions and food or drinks, as that’s when we’re most vulnerable and likely to reach out for foods we wouldn’t consume when in a more balanced state. 



Find support within your immediate social environment or look for peer support groups.

Most people find it easier to learn new skills and habits when coupled up with someone they know and can trust. Knowing you’re not alone in the process and that other people face challenges too, can be reassuring and motivating for some. 


Taking all of the above into account, I find it particularly effective to see my clients regularly over the initial 3-4 months as these are very crucial in making those first steps towards healthy living.

I make sure we have plenty of time at the beginning to really get to know them in the context of their upbringing, beliefs around food, current habits and health issues.

We take time to specify health goals, find ways to manage expectations and discover what motivates them most – these reasons keep the clients going even if they’re met with some difficulties.

We also identify potential barriers, such as lack of time, a reluctance to cook, or a relationship with food that is shaped by dieting culture.

Finally, we name the skills and people that will support them on their journey to health. 

I consider these steps essential in getting prepared for making changes in the diet and lifestyle and, after 7 years of working with clients, I find this programme schedule to be very successful.