I believe that you should not have to give up on food you love when trying to lose weight. Instead of depriving yourself, think moderation or even just improving your favorites with healthy swaps! I guarantee that if your mindset is in the right place then you will improve your daily choices instead of struggling over a diet.
So what does this change in daily habits entail?
The basic difference between a diet and daily habits is your mindset or, better yet your perspective on food, exercise, nutrition, etc. It makes your goals achievable, and if you are truly dedicated to a healthy lifestyle you really won’t miss out on anything at all. The best part about this transformation is that it is not temporary, like dieting.
A diet is all about numbers—the number on the scale and the number of calories you eat and burn. Success is defined in terms of how well you stick to your numbers.
Changing your daily habits is all about you. It’s about lining up your eating and activity with your real desires. Success is defined in terms of how these changes make you feel about yourself.
A diet assumes that reaching a certain weight is the key to finding happiness and solving other problems. That’s why messing up the numbers on any given day can be so upsetting—it means you’ve failed.
A lifestyle approach assumes that being overweight is usually the result of other problems, not the cause. Addressing these problems directly is the best way to solve both the problems themselves and your weight issues.
Going on a diet involves obsessing over your exterior self and making a temporary change to your eating habits. You start counting and measuring, and you stop eating some foods and substitute others, based on the rules of whatever diet plan you are using. Maybe you throw in some exercise but that might just be so you can eat a few extra calories. You assume that it’s the technique – not you – that produces the results.
The results of a diet are external; if you’re lucky, you may change on the outside—but not on the inside. Once you reach your goal weight, you don’t need the technique anymore, and things gradually go back to “normal.” But then so does your weight—and then some. And, of course, all the problems you hoped the weight loss would solve are still there!
Changing your daily habits involves looking inward and making permanent changes in how you relate to food, eating, and physical activity. You recognize that the primary problem isn’t what you eat, or even how much you eat, but how and why you eat. Eating mindlessly and impulsively (without intention or awareness) and/or using food to manage your emotions and distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts—this is what really needs to change.
Learning to take good care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually—so that you don’t want to use food to solve problems it really can’t—is a lifelong learning process that is constantly changing as your needs and circumstances change.
Start this new attitude today by looking away from the mirror and looking into what really matters and what you can control. Soon you’ll notice a healthier, happier self!