I had a time in my life where I almost felt desperate. I was doing everything “right” yet stuck in this diet cycle. And it wasn’t just the perfect eating and endless workouts, it was the unhappiness, stress, guilt and overwhelming amount of mental energy that went alone with it.
It almost felt like my life was missing some type of higher purpose, some types of great meaning and fulfillment. And looking back, I understand why. I was focusing on my time and energy on simply what my body looked like, no matter what else was going on in life.
It dulled and clouded my perspective on life. And with all the stress and effort, my body was staying exactly the same. It felt like I didn’t care if my body was the exact same if I could just alleviate the stress and negative emotion around it all.
I wish I had someone at the time to help guide me towards a different way of thinking.
I was making some major mistakes in relation to food and it didn’t have to do with anything I was eating. It was my perception around food. I had to learn that the answer was not a another diet or period of restriction.
Because that is exactly what kept me struggling. I had to do a little self reflection but I gathered 3 food mistakes I use to make and see others commonly make when it comes to food and eating. Do you?
Ignoring portion sizes.
Its kinda ironic because we tend to think if we eat healthy foods, low fat, low calorie, sugar free that we have permission to eat as much as want. I get it. We all do it.
But a free for all, even with healthy food, can hinder our goals as well. Because it keeps us from listening to our bodies. I started to realize this over the last couple years on vacation. I wouldn’t have access to as “healthy” foods as normal so I would eat more bread, burgers and things I just normally wouldn’t eat.
Because I didn’t deem them as healthy in my head, I would be really conscious of keeping my portions smaller and not going back for seconds if I wasn’t truly hungry. You know what started to happen? I would come back from vacation feeling leaner than when I left!!!
My point is that I was listening to my body and eating until I was 80% full. How do you know you are 80% full? You feel like you could have another bite or too. And this is flippin hard!! Because this is where the true practice comes in. Saying no when you feel satisfied but you feel like you could have a little bit more.
Setting foods as off limits.
Starting today, don’t label any food, meal or macronutrient off limits. Protein will not make you bulky, carbs are not bad for you, fat will not make you fat. Bread, chocolate, wine? Don’t label it good or bad, just label it as food.
Our first solution for body changes always seems to be restricting certain foods. But have you ever noticed that when you set a food as off limits you seem to want it more. There is actually research on this concept in one of my favorite books called The Willpower Instinct. And essentially, the more you try not to think about something, the more you think about it.
The author Kelly McGongial states, “Whatever fear of desire you try to push away will become more convincing and compelling. When you stop try to control unwanted thoughts and emotions they stop controlling you.”
Whats the answer? Let yourself feel what you need to feel and try not to feel like you have to act on it. If you are thinking you shouldn’t have bread, let yourself have that thought but also let yourself have that piece of bread.
I use having chocolate everyday as a way to take away the power. Now when holidays come around I could cared less about the little appropriate colored foil candies surrounding me. In fact, I don’t even want them!
Practicing the scarcity mindset.
Using the scarcity mindset when it comes to food keeps us in a state of lacking. We fear if we don’t have this cookie, glass of white, plate of nachos we won’t ever be able to have it again. Because the truth is food will always be available to you.
If late time snacking calls your name, remember you can have that food tomorrow. Just because it is Halloween doesn’t mean candy won’t be in the store after it is over. Just because you say no to ice cream right now doesn’t mean there will not be another opportunity.
I think this perspective intensifies itself because we commit to eating perfecting, doing a diet, being on a meal plan, etc. When we do those things we create scarcity with food, because we “can’t” have it. But we can, we just have to focus on making smarter, more conscious choices and just not be so greedy when it comes to our food. How lucky are we to be able to have food WHENEVER we want it!?!
Practice having an abundance mindset when it comes to food. We have enough, we are enough, we will be enough. Practice not needing food whenever you want it and in turn food will lessen its power and control on you.