Eating Healthy In a Way You Can Stick With It
The holidays will soon be upon us, and that can wreak havoc on our diet and eating healthy habits! Have you ever decided to eat healthier—“This year is going to be different”? A typical scenario might look something like this: You know it is important to watch your diet and weight. You choose a super-strict regimen which then takes all the pleasure out of eating. This forces you to avoid social opportunities because you know you’ll blow it. How well does that work? Probably not very well.
“Weight management really should be about focusing on eating healthy foods that you like, rather than trying to stay away from foods that you like,” says Katie Rickel, PhD, clinical psychologist and weight-loss expert in Durham, North Carolina. A diet that will work must contain both foods that are healthy for us and foods that we enjoy eating. The secret is knowing when you can indulge, and when it is time to stop.1
- Rather than choosing a rigid diet that is focusing on the foods you cannot eat, instead focus on foods that you will. According to Vanessa Patrick, PhD (University of Houston), “’I can’t’ signals deprivation, which makes you more likely to cave, whereas ‘I don’t’ signals determination and empowerment, making your refusal more effective.”
- You need guidelines, but allow flexibility within those guidelines. Don’t be too specific, as in “I’m going to eat 3 oz. of Brussels sprouts every night.” Instead think of what those foods have—antioxidants, vitamins, etc. What else also has those same nutrients that your body needs?
- Only eat at meal times or at planned snack times.
- Forgive yourself when you slip.
- If your foods of choice are not available, find the closest substitute that will fill you up–and enjoy the meal.
What are your biggest challenges to weight loss or weight management? Please share any comments below.