I truly believe that food should never be a punishment. Since this year began I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my diet. Diet. I even cringe at the word. I always associate diet with some sort of punishment. All of these fads that demand strict calorie counting, over the top restrictions, and unrealistic expectations. The truth is there is no cookie cutter diet out there that will suit all of your needs anyway, so what’s the point in punishing yourself?
Food should be enjoyable. Not decadent, not greasy, not overpowered by butter and salt. Just enjoyable. Nature has done a pretty good job of coming up with some ridiculously delicious flavors. My challenge to myself and to you is to stop dieting. Stop turning meal time into a chore and a negative experience. The challenge is to once again enjoy a positive relationship with food.
There are several habits that need to be broken in order to free yourself from the prison of dieting. It’s tough, but I’ve started on this road and I’m beginning to see a positive change both physically and emotionally when it comes to my relationship with food.
1 Stop Counting Calories!
I’ve fallen so far into calorie counting in the past that I’ve eaten a donut instead of an avocado because of the caloric value. Calories can be really deceptive that way. If you’re eating whole foods you don’t have to worry so much about calories. Your body will use them as fuel. Instead of calorie counting, I’ve tried to shift my focus to healthy portions.
2 No More Fad Diets
Paleo, the Whole 30, the GM, and all the others just don’t work for me. A negative relationship with food is simply a negative relationship with food no matter which way you slice it. Choosing your meals should not be a chore and it should never, NEVER cause anxiety. Any successful diet should be easy and enjoyable.
3 Spice Up Your Life
Flavoring food is an art. My default is always salt and butter. That’s certainly not the healthiest choice and as it turn out, it’s not always the tastiest choice either. There are so many amazing spices out there that actually enhance the natural flavors of your foods and have their own unique nutritional benefits as well. Win/Win! Don’t be afraid to try out recipes that call for a pinch of a spice you never use. The deliciousness might shock you.
4 Look for Healthy Alternatives
Ok. So it’s called comfort food for a reason. Cravings are real, y’all. I love mac & cheese, and I could probably eat a pan of it in one sitting. Sometimes it’s like that. Whatever your comfort food cravings happen to be, there’s always a healthy alternative. I’m not saying that you should grab an apple when you really want pizza. What I am saying is that you can find healthier recipes for your favorite comfort foods that don’t hold back on the yummy.
This year is all about realistic goals! Do you think I’m on the right track? Also, I’d love to hear about your goals and how month 1 has been treating you!