It’s Monday. Maybe this past weekend you “let yourself go” or you “cheated” a lot and now you’re wanting to get back on track.
First of all, I am all for fresh starts. They can be so refreshing and exciting! But I think it’s important to point out that a healthy eating pattern shouldn’t cause you to “cheat.” So if that is how you feel, we should look at your current nutrition beliefs…
Your body cannot gain 10 pounds in one weekend because you went “overboard.” It’s okay to not eat 110% clean. And indulging (even overindulging) on food is not a morality problem. It’s not even a willpower or discipline problem. Overeating can be related to restricting certain foods, stress, tiredness, meal skipping, distractions, or lack of satisfaction. Also, there’s no quick diet fix for a healthy body, there are only lifestyle changes that are sustainable for a lifetime. Proper nutrition does not exclude whole food groups. And lastly, a healthful eating pattern allows for flexibility and freedom.
As you begin your journey, make healthy choices, please keep in mind that mistakes are just a teachable moment and that no one is perfect. One of my favorite RD’s, Tammy Beasley, compares developing a healthy relationship with food to a construction zone – rather than an all or nothing racetrack. So, go easy on yourself, roll with the punches, and learn from your mistakes. Let’s get this construction zone started and get you back on track.
How to make changes with your nutrition:
- Start with one, small goal.
Pick a goal somewhere in the middle range of hardness.
Maybe you eat out every day at work (this is just an example, nothing is inherently wrong with eating out every day). Set a goal to pack your lunch two days a week. When that goal is met, try packing your lunch three days a week.
Set one new and attainable goal and you are likely to reach it (rather than implementing 20947198 new goals at once). You’ll then feel more confident and set another goal. It may feel like you are starting too slow, but slow and steady truly wins the race when it comes to establishing long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
If you realize the first goal you set was a bit too challenging, take a step back. It’s better to step back than to fall on your booty!
- If you can’t do it for the rest of your life, then don’t do it now.
Quick fix diet changes can be great for about a couple of weeks (at most…).
Giving up gluten or sugar is a quick fix. Cooking meals at home and then sitting down with your family to enjoy it (again, just an example) is a healthy lifestyle change. Habits create consistency and studies show that consistency is needed to maintain long-term healthy weight loss.
- Gaining health is more important than losing weight
Keep your focus on caring for your body rather than just losing weight. Last year in London, my family visited the Churchill War Rooms. It was the best museum I have been to. And like any old museum, you walk through the gift shop at the end. I found a postcard with an old propaganda instructing people how to use food during a ration.
I really love what this postcard has to say about food (the point about wheat and meat is simply saying to eat more plants). Its message is to be thoughtful with your food and by doing so health with follow. I bought it without hesitation and it now hangs on my fridge!
Nutrition isn’t an exact science, but it is simple…care for yourself and the rest will follow.
Go ahead and hit the refresh button on your current diet. Not with a quick fix, but with wholesome lifestyle changes. Consider cooking and eating at home more often. Think about starting each day with a walk around the block. Try incorporating a vegetable or fruit into your afternoon snack. Venture to decrease your screen time. These changes are sustainable ones that encourage overall wellness. So what are you waiting for?! Set a goal for yourself today that encourages wellness – not necessarily weight loss. Your body will thank you for caring for it so well.
Have a great rest of your week! Please let me know what goal you want to set and how it will help you care for yourself!