As I've been gearing up for my Real Food Challenge (<--- go sign up!), I've been crafting some messages and videos to the participants and have been thinking about my own path to eating real foods and living a more natural lifestyle. 

I provide a lot of information on what I do and how to do it, but I want everyone to know that although I preach the benefits of eating real food and cutting out the junk, I am nowhere near perfect and there are many times where I'm not walking the walk. 

Knowing what to do and how to do it is one thing, but actually doing it is a whole other challenge. 

Like, I know I should be getting more exercise, but I haven't made it a priority. And that girl on Instagram always makes the most delicious looking veggie bowls, and I love veggies, but I just want Little Caesars tonight, OK? And yeah, I definitely eat more donuts than I should, but I love them and life's too short. And yes, I want to be able to do that amazing yoga pose, but I also can't devote 2 hours a day to practice. 

Malisa Lieser Planning | spiralizing zoodles

Over the last 5+ years, I've read hundreds of articles/blog posts and a few books on real food, chemicals, toxins and all around health and wellness, so I like to think that I'm pretty aware, but that doesn't mean that my entire life of eating and living before then just magically disappeared and my mindset completely shifted. I still have my struggles, whether it's binge eating, sugar addiction, body image issues, guilt over not working out, and more. These mindsets aren't going to vanish just because you are armed with more knowledge; they are deeply rooted feelings and beliefs that will probably always be lingering. 

Again, knowing the information is much different than taking action on it. 

There are some people who learn information and apply it without looking back. I think that number is very small. Especially in the health & wellness space, the amount of information is astounding and overwhelming. How do you know who to trust, and how do you decide what makes sense for you without buying a bunch of stuff and doing experiments? 

For me, certain things stuck really quickly, such as avoiding fake sugar (other than the occasional DC!), and not eating chemical-filled frozen or shelf-stable foods. I have no idea why those two things stuck for me, because there are many that haven't, even 5 years later. We've slowly made other changes that have stuck and I'm happy when I make one more small change for my (and my family's) health. 

Malisa Lieser Planning | Spaghetti Squash Boats

For most of us, it takes repeated exposure to messages, and for something to happen in our lives personally to make information click. Even after reading the terrible effects of sugar, I still eat sugar. Why? Well, because it's nearly impossible to cut it out completely (and that sounds like a ton of work) and because, BALANCE (and, you all know I'm not going to give up my donuts). Also, other than the occasional day where I over indulge in sugar, I haven't necessarily felt the extreme affects it can bring on, so I haven't personally been impacted enough to give it up completely.

I also haven't switched over to organic food for the most part because I keep hearing people say it's better, but I haven't done the research myself (I'm just starting to get to that point). 

 My husband made this paleo cheesecake a few years ago, and I need it back in my life soon!&nbsp;

My husband made this paleo cheesecake a few years ago, and I need it back in my life soon! 

I think we all owe it to ourselves to learn more about what's going into and onto our bodies, which is part of the reason I started this blog. I want to inspire people to take small, actionable steps to improve their health and wellness.

That being said, I don't want people to rush out and do everything I write about just because I said it's healthy. Everyone needs to advocate for themselves and their family and choose the things that work for them.

KNOW the information, but DO what works for you. 

I'm also really trying to focus on balance right now. Yes, I brew my kombucha and use my hippie homemade products, but I also eat Little Caesars, put sugary creamer in my coffee every day and eat my husband's tasty breakfast treats like homemade cinnamon rolls or pancakes every weekend. I like to make home made meals for my family that are nutritious and delicious, but I like to eat junk food sometimes, too. 

Malisa Lieser Planning | homemade cinnamon rolls

Health and wellness doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing, and striving for "perfect" eating just isn't going to work for most of us. I think finding a balance that makes you feel good physically and mentally is the key, and that will look different for everyone. 

Phew! It feels good to get that off my chest. I really want to be transparent about how I do my life. Just because the title of my website is 'real food meal planning and natural living,' doesn't mean I do those things 100% of the time. I want to be relatable as a working mom of two young kids that doesn't have a lot of time but is doing my best and what works for my family. What I do might not look like what you do, but in the end, we're all doing our best!