How many miserable, restrictive diets have you been on? Too many to count? Yeah, me too. It is so exhausting and frustrating being a yo-yo dieter. You’re either feeling miserable and restricted, unable to enjoy your life, but feeling like you’re making progress. Or you’re living your life, throwing caution to the wind, eating whatever you want, but feeling like you’re losing control of your body. Diets are restrictive. They feel temporary. They feel like all or nothing. They feel like you either have to be totally committed or totally not. There’s no happy, healthy medium. We starve, then we binge. We restrict, then we splurge. We lose, then we gain. We feel great about ourselves, then we feel like crap. Who wants to live like that? And how can we ever truly make progress towards having the healthy body of our dreams? We can’t. Here’s my philosophy that’s so crazy it just might work (okay, it does totally work): Make healthy eating a lifestyle. When healthy eating becomes a permanent fixture in our lives, we become more relaxed with our approach. Yeah, you can ruin a super restrictive temporary diet with a piece of cake, but you can’t ruin your life with it.
How many times have you “cheated” on your diet, said “oh well my day/week/whatever is ruined now so I might as well really go for it!”, and then totally pigged out? Too many to count, I’m sure. It’s the whole “if your car had one flat tire, would you slash the other three?” scenario. And, no, we wouldn’t slash the other three on our car, but we do metaphorically on our diets all the time.
By making healthy eating a lifestyle, you eliminate there being something temporary that you can ruin. If you eat something unhealthy, you’re more likely to go back to eating healthy again because you don’t feel like you’ve sabotaged anything and like you might as well continue that poor eating. For me, having struggled with Binge Eating Disorder (BED), it eliminates the feeling of being restricted and like I CAN’T have whatever I want whenever I want it that ultimately results in my binging on a ton of what I tell myself I can’t have. By making it a lifestyle, I tell myself that I CAN have whatever I want whenever I want it, but I CHOOSE to be primarily healthy. Now when I eat something unhealthy, I have a smaller amount than I would have if I was on a diet and I move on with my day without any guilt or beating myself up over it.
My number one rule when deciding what to eat is: eat what you love, but make sure it loves you back. The world is your oyster and nothing is off-limits. But, you should find the high-protein, nutrient-dense unprocessed foods that you actually enjoy eating and make them 90% of your diet. There’s no need to suffer eating healthy food that you hate. There’s a whole wonderful world out there of natural foods that are great for your body and you’re bound to love some of them. Make the other 10% foods/drinks that are not so healthy for you (my favorites are froyo, chocolate, and alcohol) but that you love to eat and you’ll have a healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable and will actually give you the results you want.
Here are some of the foods I love that love me back:
Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter Packets
Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Zucchini Noodles In A Meat Sauce
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Shrimp Stir Fry