“I ate good” or “I ate bad”. “On the wagon” or “off the wagon”. When we are trying to “eat healthy”, lose weight, gain strength, or reach any other health goal, I hear those terms too often. But what if i told you there wasn’t a wagon, that taking pleasure in eating does not constitute as “bad”, and that weight lose should not be at the forefront to changing your lifestyle for the better.
It is easy to get caught up and think that healthy eating has to be black or white. Either you are being perfect, all the stars are aligning for you to stay on your meal plan, and you never treat yourself. Because if you gave into temptation and ate a cookie, then it would turn into downhill fall of over indulging, and no desire to go to the gym. How many of us have been trapped in the perpetual cycle of “clean eating” all week long, then over indulgence on the weekends out of sheer depervation. Then Monday comes, and we wake up feeling blah, physically and mentally, and then in order to “make up” for the weekend, we get back “on the wagon” of strict eating. I know I have been there. It is a hard cycle to break, mentally. But this cycle only makes us feel guilt and shame, two things that should never be associated with food.
But let me tell you a little secret I have learned through trial and error. Healthy living doesn’t have to be this hard. It doesn’t have to be something that is unattainable. Or miserable. Setting foods as either “good” or “bad”, “off limits” or “accetable” makes food into something that it should never be – punishment or rewards. Food should be looked at as fuel for our bodies, something we need to survive, and medicine to keep us healthy and active. BUT it is also something that should give us pleasure, something we should look foward to. Family meals should be enjoyable, not a time to stress out because you might not have the so called right foods to eat. Parties should be a time of celebration, not a time to worry if you have had too many unhealthy foods. So let’s try and change our minds about this healthy eating thing.
Healthy eating is black and white, with tons of grey area inbetween. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you. You had to stop and get fast food last night because you got home late and didn’t have time to cook. Oh well. Next meal you have, try and get more veggies in. Try to eat a little less fat. You had a green smoothie for lunch, but ate dessert for dinner. Who cares? All I am trying to say is don’t dwell on the not so healthy choices. Sometimes life gets in the way of perfectly healthy “instragram worthy” meals. Sometimes you give into cravings of not so healthy choices. But don’t let those times make you feel guilt. It just means you are living your life. And enjoying it!! Fuel your body nutritiously, then savor something that brings you joy. Guilt free! As long as you reaching for healthy choices most of the time, you will find balance. Then waking up on Monday, feeling bloated and ashamed will be a distant memory. The cycle will be broken.
This also brings me to my next point. Weight. It’s so easy to get caught up on the number on the scale. You have been working out, making healthier choices, getting enough sleep, water intake is on point. You are doing all the things that everyone tells you do in order to lose weight. You step on the scale, and it hasn’t budged. Usually this would make someone want to give up. I mean what’s the point of suffering through a workout and eating boring chicken and broccoli for dinner if you are not going to lose weight?
Stop looking at that number. Again, it brings guilt and shame.
Instead ask yourself one question. How are you feeling?
We are taught from an early age, especially women, that we should focus on THE NUMBER. But if the only thing we focus on is one goal that is meaningless, we are more likely to give up when we get unmotivated, or discouraged. Instead ask yourself how are you feeling. Because when we attach a feeling, or a purpose to what we are doing, that is where the magic happens. That is when we figure out our why. Why we are trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
Consider your why. Before you get give up. When you think about not coming to the gym again. When you think the process is going to slow. Consider your WHY.