Why You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty for Not Restricting Your Diet
By Theresa Bonner
Are you frustrated with all the headlines warning you to NEVER eat certain foods if you want to have a flat tummy? There are new articles informing us daily about the dangers of eating bread, pasta, bananas and orange juice, to name just a few.
While overindulging in any of these foods is not the best way to create a lean, healthy body, avoiding them altogether may do more harm than good.
“Forbidden Fruit” Is Often The Sweetest
When you force yourself to give up all of your favorite foods, putting them in the DO NOT TOUCH category, you are setting yourself up for failure. Quite often, those exact foods become all you can think about when trying to lose weight or create a healthier lifestyle. You may even feel stressed out about this, which raises cortisol, in turn holding onto fat.
You’ll work diligently to push through those cravings, only to find yourself binging on them when no one’s watching. Then, you’ll most likely end up feeling guilty and that you’ve failed yourself somehow. You’ve tried to be “good,” but you just couldn’t make it through the day without cheating. Sound familiar?
Instead, Crowd Out The Bad
Now, let’s look at things from a different angle. What if, instead of denying yourself some of your favorite foods, you added more of what you know are better choices to your diet? Drink more water so that you have less room for soda or sweet drinks. Leave the pasta or bread on your plate, just make the portion smaller to make plenty of room for fresh vegetables and some lean protein.
The key is to reach for that 80/20 ratio. Commit to 80 percent of your diet being whole nutritious foods so that the other 20 percent can be those “naughty” foods that you can’t (or won’t) live without. You are much more likely to stay on track when you don’t sacrifice life’s little pleasures.
Make Peace With Your Cravings
Understanding your cravings, making peace with them and even giving in to them on occasion may be the healthiest thing you could ever do for yourself. Your body craves things for many reasons. You could be lacking a nutrient, eating too much of one flavor or not enough of another or going through an emotional time.
So, when a craving hits, you have two choices: You can push the craving deep down inside of you, denying its hold on you, or you can ask yourself why you are craving that particular food.
By stopping to ask what your body is looking for and why, you are taking control of the craving in a more productive way. There may be a healthier option to indulge in than the food you originally thought of, or maybe there’s not. The point is, you are becoming more aware of your body and what it’s asking for and that’s a great step towards a healthier lifestyle.
Remove The Word “Cheat” From Your Vocabulary
Giving in to an occasional scrumptious morsel is not cheating – it is taking care of yourself in the most loving way. Stop beating yourself up over that brownie or bowl of chips. That is a disservice to your mental and emotional well-being. If you are giving yourself all the nutrients that your body needs on a regular basis, a little treat won’t hurt you!
Be kind to yourself by eliminating the word “cheat” from your vocabulary. You are not a terrible person for enjoying food that isn’t always the best for you. You are human. A cocktail with friends, a slice of birthday cake or a hotdog at the ball game is part of living that brings us happiness. Don’t spoil it with guilt. Guilt leads to stress, which is harder on your health than a bag of chips could ever be.
So, the next time you see an article telling you to NEVER eat a certain food again, keep scrolling. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Theresa Bonner is a Certified Health Coach that has received her training and education from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is certified with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches.
Before attending IIN, she was an avid health and nutrition researcher for 20 years. She specializes in educating her clients on how to make the healthiest choices for their individual needs. She guides her clients through setting and attaining the goals that will lead to life changing health and vitality.
When Theresa is not working with clients, she is constantly continuing her education in nutrition and coaching techniques. She is also a mother of two young sons who loves to cook, write, eat good food, sing, dance and get involved in her community. She is currently an active board member of the Somerville New Jersey Municipal Alliance and Youth Services Commission.
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