3 Steps to Regain Control of FoodDec 20, 2021
I have a confession...I LOVE frosting-rich donuts. In fact, just last week I enjoyed my all-time fav⎻ a maple-frosted Jack Frost Donut.
I share this because I want you to know that just because I’m a dietitian, doesn’t mean I’m a flawless eater. We all have our favorite imperfect foods, that’s what makes us human. What's yours? Chocolate chip cookies? Ice cream? Pizza? Whatever it is, remember, you control it, not the other way around.
I know it doesn't always feel like it, but trust me on this.
Donuts used to have an immense amount of control over me, until I discovered that I was looking at them all wrong. Instead of just seeing them as donuts, a tasty treat I enjoyed on occasion, they became objects of forbiddance. Because they're loaded with sugar and white flour, it felt natural to place them on the no-no list.
The only problem was, that strategy blew right up in my face and I developed a very unhealthy relationship with food, especially sweets.
If I wanted to regain control of my food, I had to change the way I looked at food. Donuts weren't falling off the face of the earth anytime soon, so calling a truce was my only option.
The following three step plan has been my saving grace for over 20 years. It is the key that unlocked my food prison door. Now I am free and in control.
This plan will work for you too...as long as you follow all of the steps and believe in them with all your heart.
Step 1: Remove the red X
Forbidding yourself of ____________ (insert imperfect food) only fuels your fire of desire for that very food. It’s like little Timmy in the checkout line who wants a candy bar but mom says no. Does Timmy forget about the candy? Heck no! Like gas on a fire, he roars louder!
What you resist, persists. So when you say no, your obsession with that food only screams louder and louder until it eventually shows up in your dreams. Remove the red X and believe you really are allowed to have that food.
Step 2: Redefine it
Instead of an imperfect food, see it as perfectly imperfect and include it as part of your plan. By inviting it in, you remove the guilt and any power it has over you. This means you call the shots...and that changes everything. How? Because if something is no longer forbidden, it loses its magnetic, got-to-have-it sex appeal.
Some people worry that making it part of the plan will only encourage unbalanced eating habits. But...I didn't say you had to actually eat it. Heck, you don't even have to have it in your house! Just make mental space for it.
As I said in step one, really believe you are allowed to have that food. The second piece of that equation is creating space for it.
Always remember that healthy eating does not mean 100% healthy. If you want to do this for the rest of your life (and I'm assuming you do), you must relax the rules.
Think of it like 80% wholesome food and 20% fun.
Step 3: Remember your “why”
How do I stop myself from eating another donut tomorrow? I have a very strong "why": to keep my body vibrant, healthy and free from disease. That’s why I work out, eat fruits and vegetables every day, drink plenty of water, and get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Simply put, eating a daily donut is incompatible with my why.
When your why is strong enough, you feel pulled to make healthier choices, rather than pushed. You eat veggies because you want to, not because you have to.
What is your “why”?
Why are you seeking to make healthier food and lifestyle choices? To reverse a health condition? To have more energy? To be around for your child's wedding? To watch your grandchildren grow?
Whatever your why, put it front and center. Then fill your day with an abundance of nutritious and delicious food, remembering that 20% is reserved for a little guilt-free fun...if and when you want it.
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