How I Stopped Dieting and Started Living
Do you ever notice others justifying what they are eating “oh I’m being bad I’ll have a cookie, or I’m so full I’m starting a diet tomorrow, or my favorite well I already ruined my diet so I might as well just get the pasta” It’s not something I actively seek out, but it’s definitely something I’ve noticed since transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. People feel the need to explain the way they eat when they should just eat the food they want WITHOUT feeling BAD about it! This is something I dealt with all the time until I decided to make a change.
If you’ve followed my journey for a while you understand by now that eating has always been a struggle for me. I honestly LOVE food and for a long time I didn’t get that you could still eat the things you enjoy and reach your goals at the same time. I really thought it had to be all or nothing. I started to analyze why I couldn’t stick to a “diet” and started to realize that all my failed attempts were stemming from a bad relationship with food.
I always took a very strict, all or nothing approach that left me feeling deprived and even worse a massive amount of guilt. I would eat so clean that I’d have a list of foods I couldn’t wait to eat come the weekend like bagels, Frappuccino’s, ice cream, cereal, pizza, pancakes, sushi, you name it because I was so deprived and created such specific “guidelines” to follow that were not sustainable. I didn’t really realize the unintentional roller coaster I was creating. I would be strict, lose weight, celebrate by rewarding myself with “off limit” foods, binge eat, feel bad, go on a clean spree of all “good” foods, and start all over. Looking back, it was NOT healthy!
If I was depriving my body all the time and yearning for foods that were off limits how was I ever going to be satisfied? I was always left wanting more or over eating and hating myself for it.
Before you can go on a diet I’m a firm believer that you must create a healthy relationship with food. You’re probably wondering how can one do this? Here are a few tips which helped me overcome my struggles with food:
1. Do not count calories, macros, whole 30, keto, weight watchers, intermittent fasting, etc. until you’ve established healthy habits
· in the beginning we really need to work on the relationship with food vs. only eating foods high in fat, timing our meals etc.
· The goal is to establish a “I can eat this” attitude before you move onto tracking your food or only eating foods that fit keto, whole 30, etc. — I do macros, but it also took lots of practice and intuitive eating to get here before I could even think about it!
2. Stop labeling foods as good or bad – have a 90/10 rule
· Ever since we were kids we’ve labeled things as “good” and “bad”
· The moment we decide we want fries over fruit were all the sudden being “bad” when in reality if you want a few fries you should be able to have them without regret. Also, just because you want fries doesn’t mean you have to get a jumbo size you can always have a few and call it a day
· Aim to fill your meals with protein, fruits, veggies, healthy carbs, and fats which will help get your cravings in check and give you room for that 10% where you get your Froyo, chocolate, etc
3. Eat enough calories so you are in control and satiated
· I was never eating enough therefore I always had cravings, felt deprived, etc. so anything sounded good where as now my cravings are few and far between bc I actually eat enough to be satisfied
4. Eat before you go on social outings, parties, etc.
· I used to “save up” calories for dinners with my girlfriends, drinks, parties, etc. so I would get there and eat all the chips, dips and things that did not fill me up and were easy to keep eating vs if I ate before the party I would show up content and eat whatever sounded best vs. just grabbing food to eat
5. Eat frequently
· I used to go too long without eating that when it came time to eat I was SO hungry!! I couldn’t make a wise decision when it came to food so I would grab anything, or get fast food which ended up ruining my goals or left me feeling sick – eating every 2-3 hours is key for me
6. When in doubt think protein, carb, fat
· When I’m filling up my plate I always think is there some form of protein, carb, or fat
· Here’s some ideas --- grilled chicken (protein), sweet potatoes (carbs), all the veggies(carbs) , and some avocado (fat) or egg whites (protein) with chicken sausage (protein/fat) and fruit (carbs). It’s as simple as thinking like this that can help you in getting a better relationship with food
7. Is there an alternative?
· I’ve found there’s always a way to make the things I LOVE a lil bit healthier meaning maybe I get a burger, but do I need the pretzel bun or could I get it wrapped in lettuce with all the toppings, or if I get the bun do I need the fries? It’s these baby changes that will get you in the habit of making healthier decisions
8. Stop losing weight for events
· I used to put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to fit in a size 4 dress for my birthday, or a trip I had coming up and when I didn’t attain the goal I’d say “eff it” and get discouraged which then spiraled
· I’m all for goal setting, but you need to be realistic
9. High volume always wins
· I don’t know how I used to think I’d be satisfied with an apple as a snack – honestly that just sounds like torture
· Your snacks/meals need substance – a quick fix to this would be an apple with 2TBS of almond butter or instead of just an 80-calorie yogurt how about throwing in some berries or 1/3 cup granola
· Your snacks don’t need to be an obscene number of calories but they do need to fill you up!
10. Food doesn’t have to be the reward
· I always used to “reward” myself with food when I lost weight … like yay I can FINALLY have a milkshake … when it should probably be buying yourself a new workout bra, outfit, or something that will make you feel confident for accomplishing your goal not bad for eating it
I’m opening up about my struggles with food, because I know I’m not alone. Eating is so HARD and majority of people want to lose weight, but sometimes it seems the only way we can is to suffer, which is totally not the case! I firmly believe if you can change your relationship with food you can ultimately create a lifestyle that is realistic, balanced, and sustainable! I hope this resonates with many of you and sending you the best vibes!