We all know that exercise and eating right helps take care of our bodies, which help us navigate life in the way we hope to experience it. And we all know that there are foods that are better for us than others. Yeah, yeah. Old news. But you know what else I know?
I don’t believe in Food Shame.
Shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress from the consciousness of foolish behavior.” Hardly a motivating state of mind. So why go there?! I mean, really. We already know the foods we shouldn’t be eating. But they’re THERE. Right in front of us. Taunting us. Begging us to indulge. So, my suggestion? Have some! SOME – NOT ALL. You already know it’s not wise to eat a piece of cake the size you could eat when you were 12 years old, when your body could burn it off in less than 3 minutes. Those Doritos? They don’t count as part of the Grains food group either. And by the way, the Food Pyramid we knew growing up has essentially been turned upside down, so there’s that….
Listen, even us trainers indulge. Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly do. My weakness? Chocolate chip cookies. But here are some things that make healthy eating easier:
· Take a bite. Or two. That may be all you need to satisfy a sweet tooth.
· Want a larger serving? Try a healthier way to make an old favorite.
· Focus on eating food from the fridge, rather than the pantry. This helps us increase the consumption of natural foods.
· Don’t want to eat it? Don’t buy it at the grocery.
· Figure out what is satisfying when you are eating your snacks. Is it the crunch? Is it the texture?
· Identify the healthy foods that you like, that make you feel full, and eat more of it. Hint: protein and fiber are good options.
· Eating smaller portions more often helps your body consistently feel more satisfied. This helps avoid the “I’m so freaking hungry I could eat this whole box of cheezits” mindset.
· And the better you eat? The more you crave healthy food. It’s crazy, but just like a clean house, once your body gets “clean”, it wants to keep it that way. And just like what used to be a clean house, it doesn’t long for it to fall into messy habits again.
· Surrounding ourselves with people who share similar goals helps us reinforce healthy practices.
· A great visual image of how to fill your plate at a meal is MyPlate.
· And my personal favorite? LOG YOUR FOOD. It’s not fun getting started, but it’s so helpful.
Try it just for a week at first. Allow yourself a couple days to get into the routine of entering everything you eat (yes, everything) and find out how many calories you consume. Let’s be honest. It’s absolutely awful to see that the foods you love are packing on the empty calories. But it’s absolutely WONDERFUL to see how easy it could be to find an alternative food configuration and still feel satisfied. Check out Fitbit or My Fitness Pal.
You’ll fall off the wagon. We all do. So what are you waiting on? Get back on! The sooner you do, the better off you will be. With every snack, you start again. Through it all? No Food Shame. Just get up, brush yourself off, and get back at it.
Real. Positive. Change. - Judi