So how did last week go? Did you have an easy or a hard time incorporating more whole foods into your diet?
I know that for me, when I’m on the run, it can be more difficult. So I ALWAYS make leftovers and then night before the next day I pack my lunch, I include my piece of fruit, my vegetables and some sort of protein and snacks (if I pack them) are structured the same way: Greek yogurt, nuts, Quest Protein bar. 🙂
Today’s tip might come as a bit of a shock, or at the very least seem somewhat backwards, but stay with me on this. This week’s habit changer is:
Habit-Changing Tip #5: Eat What you Want, what you really want.
I know I know, it sounds backwards, right? Isn’t that what got you to where you are in the first place? Maybe, maybe not. It seems that more often and not, not only have we forgotten our hunger cues and we don’t understand when we’re really hungry, we’ve also been conditioned to eat according to someone else’s rules:
- Eat every 3-4 hours
- Eat only after noon, in an 8 hour window
- Carbs are bad! Stay away from carbs, eat only fats and proteins
- Fat is bad! Eat a low-fat diet, throw away those egg yolks, have your salad plain and your toast dry
- Too much protein will damage your kidneys, stay away from protein!
- Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day,you need lots of carbs for breakfast!
- Stay away from sweets! If you eat ice cream you’ll get fat! Step away from that brownie!
- To lose weight you HAVE to be on a diet
- All things in moderation….(what???)
And on and on and on it goes. We have been conditioned, over the years to have no idea what our bodies are telling us it needs, or what we really want. Sooooo many times I have found that when I listen to my body, and calm down for a second, I can hear my body tell me what it wants “yes, chicken sounds nice, nah not in the mood for beef or fish. I don’t think I really want rice, that would be heavy right now, but a sweet potato sounds heavenly…oh oh oh! and Green beans please!”
When was the last time you heard THAT conversation?
More than likely your last conversation with your body over food went something like this:
“I REAAAALLY want that brownie. No, no I don’t. I don’t need it, it will make me fat, I should eat vegetables. I like vegetables, I like how they make me feel…..but they aren’t sweet. Maybe I can have just a bite, just one, just a piece…NO! If I do, I can’t stop! I know myself I do’nt have willpower! I SHOULD eat CLEAN. I should eat chicken breast and Brussels sprouts, with no oil, because oil is bad….but that would taste dry, like cardboard. I should listen to what I really want, what do I really want? I want a brownie. Yes, yes I do……”
And on and on THAT goes. More often than not, when I step back from that internal dialogue and ask myself “do I really want a brownie”? If the answer is yes, I’ll ask “am I hungry still?” If not, it usually means I’m trying to meet a need with food.
But won’t I get fat if I eat what I want?
Geneen Roth writes some EXCELLENT books on this subject (that’s all another tip for another week), I highly recommend her books if you even suspect you have food issues.
Truth is, you can only eat so much cookie dough before you get sick of it, even if you eat it every day. And you know what, eventually your body starts screaming at you what it really wants, because hey, you say “I want_____” and you go eat ______ and then what? You find out if that really satisfied you or not.
The point is, if you are having food issues and any food is “off limits” what do you think you crave? THAT FOOD. Have no forbidden foods.
I mean this with all my heart. I am so sick of hearing “I can’t have it in the house! I’ll eat it all!” So do it. Will it kill you? No. Will a junk food bender kill you in a week? No. You might feel like crap but I guarantee you’ll get sick of it. I speak from experience.
What is your forbidden food? The food you LOVE but can’t have it near you or you’ll eat the whole bag? Go get lots of bags of it. Pretty soon, you’ll realize it’s always there, you won’t run out and you can have it whenever you want it. Sometimes, just knowing you CAN have it whenever you want it takes the craving away.
Make no mistake, this takes a lot of courage. But what you are doing is staring your demons in the face and saying “I know best for me. No one can tell me how to eat better than myself. No one knows me like I do. I know what I should eat”.
You’re not a toddler anymore getting spoon-fed carrots. You can make your own decisions and eat what you want.
This gets into a lot of psychology but I can tell you from experience, this works.The next few tips, I’m going to go ahead and give them to you in a sneak peak because they make this easier:
- Stop eating when you are truly satisfied. Not stuffed, satisfied. And if that food doesn’t satisfy you, eat what does.
- Figure out if you’re eating to meet hunger or an emotional need.
You CAN have that brownie/cookie/doughnut, etc. but ask yourself this, am I hungry? If the answer is no, more than likely you’re trying to meet an emotional need with food.
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order. Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!