Let’s face it, when you get started on your journey to be a healthier, more vibrant, energetic you, the desire to eat yummy food just doesn’t go away. The commitment to make diet and lifestyle changes is exciting when you jump into action…yet after a while, you may feel stuck, discouraged when change doesn’t happen overnight, or you tire of the plan you’re on, especially if it is restrictive or boring. And, you may feel trapped, which happens when you strain yourself to stick to difficult ways of eating or being in overwhelm because you’re trying to change too much too fast. Diet plans are the perfect way to feel like a prisoner when it comes to enjoying your food.
Experts agree that diet plans can cause more harm than good because they are restrictive, setting us up for failure from the start. And when the diet plan fails you, you feel like a failure…and guilty for not being able to succeed.
Food guilt is a very real thing. We most often feel it, even when we’re not on a diet, after we eat those “forbidden foods” that we actually think are on the “definitely that’s a no” list.
What are your “forbidden” foods?
You know, the ones that make you feel guilty or regretful after you eat it?
When you eat it, do you automatically go into correction mode, thinking that tomorrow you’ll start your diet (again), start running extra laps (even when you aren’t a runner to begin with), or eat only salad or nothing at all to make up for it?
Do you beat yourself up for eating it and then beat yourself up for feeling guilty?
It’s time to ditch this forbidden foods – guilty eating – beating yourself up mentality!
Steps to a Guilt Free Mentality
1. Live by the 80-20 Rule
Set your health goals including dietary and lifestyle changes you know you need to make. Be real with yourself. Make your commitment with realistic target dates to track your progress. Start today – not tomorrow or next week. Last week’s newsletter – actually two of them covered the principles of the 80-20 Diet and Lifestyle Rule, especially around food. If you missed the emails, they’re worth a read and will help you get started on your guilt free path. If you can’t find your email, here’s the link to my blog: CLICK HERE
2. Eat mindfully
Enjoy your meals. By choosing to eat with few to no distractions, presenting your food a if you’re entertaining or making a plate for someone special, because YOU are, and eating more slowly, conscious of the colors, smell, taste, and texture of your food, you’ll usually find you’re full before you can finish your plate. Pair your entrée with a generous salad or a side of vegetables to keep your plate balanced. And, remember, gone is the premise that you have to eat everything on your plate.
When you do add dessert to your menu, choose guilt free desserts such as fruit. (If you need ideas, join my Facebook group “Guilt Free Desserts by asking to join here.) A bowl of raspberries or strawberries drizzled with chilled coconut milk and topped with shaved dark chocolate is decadent. If you have a special occasion, enjoy the special dessert, like lemon meringue pie or chocolate cake – and be sure to share it with someone!
3. Stop the competition and make “forbidden foods” treats, not cheats!
Often you feel peer pressure to eat or not eat. Racing your friends around the track is one thing, but competing among them when it comes to eating healthy has nothing to do with friends. Your health is all about you. For example, you’ve been laser focused on healthy food and lifestyle changes, have stayed away from choices that may not be the best for you, and are headed in the direction you want to go. Then, there’s an outing with friends to a restaurant, something you don’t do often, and one friend announces that they’re only ordering a small salad so they can stay on track. Guilt raises its ugly head and you feel you should order the same even though you decided to celebrate your progress.
But consider this: their choice should not impact your decision on what to order. You can slot this restaurant experience into your 20% rule, order what you want, and share the dessert that catches your attention. Being healthy isn’t about deprivation.
4. Don’t punish yourself at the gym
The truth is you would need to eat 3,500 calories MORE than your daily caloric limit (or a total of 5,000 calories) to gain a pound in one day, so tipping your caloric intake for a special occasion is not going to be that big of deal. Working out at the gym is great and, of course, a healthy lifestyle includes both cardio and resistance exercise. So, do include it regularly. But eating unhealthy food, too much of the wrong fats, too many carbs, too much sugar and processed foods, and adding an extra 500 calories day after day and then punishing yourself at the gym, isn’t going to get the results you really want. Remember, you can’t out exercise an unhealthy mindset.
Finding balance is key. Caving into a cupcake or eating more than you had planned can happen. When it does, forgive yourself. Remember, tomorrow is a new day. The key is finding your balance and when you slip up handle it with poise, set a new goal, and continue with the baby steps forward.
Lastly, remember that food isn’t the bad guy.
Find the friendliest foods that work for you. Discover the treats that work with you. Food is meant to nourish and be enjoyable! Savor every bite and you’ll find you’re less likely to go overboard because you’ll feel satisfied.
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