There are a lot of diets and eating plans and programs that can be very difficult. I’m not here to pull or pick apart any of them. I do want to encourage you to seek advice from a medical professional such as a registered dietician if you are feeling unsure or confused about what you should be eating.
I think about how I eat today and past self would have been horrified. Seriously. I eat dessert about once a week, avoid dairy, and adore a meal that is at least half fruits and vegetables. And this is just normal for me. In my mind I am not on a restrictive diet. I’m eating food that I love in a way that makes my body feel energetic and supported.
There is a huge difference between eating a healthy diet and eating a restrictive diet. Want to know what that difference is? It’s all in your head. Let me show you.
1. Understand Your Reasons
When I talk to women on a health journey, it feels like 9 out of 10 will say they are doing it to lose weight. That's it. In their minds it is all about a number on the scale. They are trying to squeeze some macros or calories out of their diet so that the numbers will fall. However, guess who wins? You guessed it, the women who change their diets based on how it makes them feel and how it fits into their lifestyle not only see the weight come off, they also don’t feel like they are in diet prison. They feel liberated and loved AND they can keep doing it indefinitely because even when the weight is off, they will still enjoy the way their body feels and be able to sustain those habits since they fit with their lifestyle and family.
2. Be Reasonable
I just mentioned diets that work with your lifestyle but what does that really mean? Well, consider your life right now: Do you love making home-cooked meals or do you spend a few evenings a week at your kids’ basketball games? Do you like to eat out with friends or do you find cozy meals with your loved ones at home the way you roll? Do you pack meals to work? Etc.
These are important questions. Sometimes women can pick up a diet plan and then place blinders on their head. Everything becomes black and white. The diet said to cook these recipes, eat these foods, eat at these times and on and on. Then, you blame it on lack of willpower when you fall off that precarious wagon.
I love to consider my day and be honest about what fits into my life. Now that I’m back to teaching, I don’t bother to do anything but heat up leftovers for the girls and I after school. I try to cook more on the weekend to compensate and have a list of go-to meals I can make in just few minutes (Yes to quesadillas & chicken nuggets). I keep things in my freezer like steamable rice cauliflower and other veggies to support our healthy eating on those days. Another way I keep things reasonable is planning that weekly desert. I mean, I love it. It is often a cooking project for the girls and I or something my husband loves. I know from experience that planning for these things helps me stick to healthy choices.
2. What You Say to Yourself Matters
The way you talk to yourself about what you are eating is important. The more you say things like, “We can’t eat that.” “Oh, I wish I could have that.” “I would die to eat that.” Etc. You get the drift, the more you reinforce the idea that this diet is difficult and even painful. However, if you tell yourself things like, “I don’t need that.” “That makes me feel awful when I eat it. Why would I have that?” “We can have that tomorrow when we plan for it. No problem.” Then your eating choices no longer feel restrictive but supportive.
I distinctly remember eating food items that I didn’t even actually like, but ate them because I was having a “cheat day” and wanted to get in all the off-plan food as possible. Now I don’t have cheat days. I love the food I eat everyday. I love the way my body feels and have begun to firmly believe that there are many foods that just aren’t worth it. They have no power over me.
3. Listen to Your Body
Your body is so ready to talk to you about what you are eating. It isn’t quiet or submissive about it, either. If you want honesty about your food choices then start to tune into the discomfort your body feels whenever you eat certain food choices. Some ways your body lets you know is through gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, water retention, and lethargy. On the flip side, your body will congratulate supportive food choices with an increase in energy and a lightness.
For example, more than two days of deserts and my body becomes easily exhausted and way more prone to bloating and inflammation. On the flip side, when my meals have been heavy on the veggies and light on the processed foods, I have an increase in energy. It’s so cool. God designed our bodies in such an amazing way, right?
Okay, my dear. I’m not sure what journey you are on right now, but I hope you can take these four pointers and make some changes that not only have you going in the right direction, but keep you there for many years to come. Just as a reminder, the four tips are:
Now, before we part ways today, take a moment and pick one person you would love to encourage today in their weight loss journey and share this episode with them. It can really make the difference and turn the tide in their permanent weight loss.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.