I just ate a greasy grass-fed organic cheeseburger and fries followed by a bowl of the nationally famous Portland Salt and Straw ice-cream, and man oh man, I couldn’t be happier.
But I remember a time when this kind of meal would have sent me on a spiral of self-loathing and fearful desperation.
Back when I was a chronic dieter I didn’t enjoy eating these foods for fear that they’d make my belly, thighs, and face blow up the next day.
Would I be able to fit into my jeans in the morning? Probably.
Ok, definitely. But I sure didn’t see it that way.
I thought that in order to look healthy and attractive, sacrifices had to be made, and I was willing to make them if it meant I’d look good.
According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year.
As a country we spend a whopping total of $33 billion annually on weight loss products.
Given these numbers you would think that we’d be a group of lean and healthy individuals, but instead nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
There’s a good chance you’re part of the dieting crowd.
Surely, you think, one day in the near future you’ll finally start a diet and stick to it. No more of this yo-yo nonsense.
But the thing is, although you might try dozens of diets, the results never really seem to last, do they?
And you’re left shaking your head, wondering where you went wrong, every. single. time.
First off, I just want to take a moment to recognize how awesome you are for trying to take charge of your health.
Even if most of your attempts haven’t worked out as well as you hoped they would, the fact that you’re trying at all shows that you know that you can do this, and you believe that you are worth more.
Which is great, because there is, and you are.
You’re just going about this whole health thing the wrong way.
The key to having a healthy diet is not about what foods you stop eating.
For most of us it’s not even about eating less.
In fact, having a healthy diet doesn’t have much to do with willpower at all.
The reason why most diets fail is that they’re only working with the surface facts.
The old myth is that the number of calories we take in should be balanced with the number of calories we use every day. If we take more calories in than we use, then we gain weight. If we take in less, then we lose weight.
But as it turns out, metabolism is a whole lot deeper and more complicated than that.
Unfortunately for dieters, as with most things in regarding our bodies we can’t just whittle the information down to a linear equation.
If you want a diet to be successful it has to give you more than calories.
Food is a primary source of comfort, nourishment, and satisfaction.
This is a truth that holds true for all people everywhere throughout all of history.
We need to get all three of these aspects from our food if we want to live happy, healthy, and vibrant lives, but when you go on a diet you diminish all three.
By restricting certain foods you automatically add stress to your meals.
After all, it’s tricky and can be very time-consuming to find foods that you can eat when you’re on a diet.
This makes the whole process of how you eat the exact opposite of comforting.
And if you eat when you’re stressed out your hormones get out of whack, preventing your body from processing absorbing the nutrients it needs.
So even if you’re eating the most nutrient dense foods in the world, you’re getting a whole lot less out of them than you would if you weren’t on a diet.
Finally, when you on a diet you hardly ever get satisfaction from your food.
Cravings are pretty much a built in part of any diet, leaving you in a deprivation frenzy, dreaming day and night about the foods you can’t have.
You become so obsessed thinking about forbidden foods that you can’t even thoroughly enjoy the food you are able to eat, so you’re left feeling empty and dissatisfied after every meal.
This is exactly the kind of situation that causes people to binge eat and then feel horrid about themselves afterward.
So what should you do instead?
Eat meals in ways that optimize comfort, nourishment, and satisfaction.
Here are a couple of easy techniques you can use to get started:
First, instead of cutting things out of your diet, start getting excited about adding healthy things in.
The more healthy things you add in, the less room there is for the not-so great stuff.
But if when you do choose to eat a chocolate bar, for goodness sake, really enjoy it! It’s delicious!
Which brings me to my second point.
Be present with your food and how it makes you feel while you eat it.
When you’re present with your food you turn off your stress response letting your blood rushes back into your digestive organs.
This makes you feel more comfortable while you eat, and also helps you absorb all of the nutrients more efficiently.
Plus, when you pay attention to how your food looks, smells, tastes, and feels you get a whole lot more satisfaction than you would if you wolfed it down mindlessly, making you less likely to reach for more than you need.
I can’t tell you what a huge impact these strategies have made in my life, and I hope they help you too.
But knowing what to do is useless without action, so I want you to put this advice to use today.
In the comments below tell me one healthy ingredient you’re going to add to your next meal. And what steps are you going to take to be more present with your food?
As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing this post. Your participation and enthusiasm is inspiring to me and everyone else in the Della Terra Wellness community!
P.S. If you want to know more you should check out Your Healthy New Look, our free 3-part training series that will show you how to look and feel more vibrant without going on a restrictive diet or joining a gym. Click here to learn more...