"You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think."
~ Walter Anderson
I’ve been talking a lot lately about the role that our mindset plays in sabotaging our ability to lose weight, keep it off and in creating freedom and joy in our relationship with food. In fact, without the right mindset your attempt to lose weight will never be sustainable. Today I am revising an older article that addresses just one aspect of our thinking which if not changed, makes it impossible to have a happy and healthy relationship with food and permanent weight loss. I have also included some practical culinary tips to more easily act on this change. I hope you find it helpful.
Most diets and weight lose plans have us thinking about what we “should” and “shouldn’t” be eating. Whether you are counting calories, carbs, fat grams or on an organized plan, you are typically left living in a mindset of deprivation.
Nobody likes deprivation. It just puts us in a bad mood. It causes resentment. When we think about being deprived of our favorite foods, it usually stands in the way of our success every time we try to eat differently. If it doesn’t stand in the way of our success, it definitely stands in the way of our happiness and sometimes, it even prevents us from getting started. This type of mindset also leads to feelings of guilt (which in my opinion should be mutually exclusive from food) and negative-self talk which while a very important aspect to address, is beyond the scope of this particular article.
Unless we are seriously motivated by something like fitting into a certain pair of pants for a certain occasion, getting ready for an athletic event or knowing that eating something specific will make us immediately sick; feeling deprived often sabotages us. And when we are motivated by these extraordinary factors, the results are often short lived and/or limited. While it may be great in the moment and shows us we can do it, it’s rarely a lasting lifestyle change.
Does this sound at all familiar to you? Have you ever thought that you’d like to change the way you’re eating? Maybe lose some pounds to change your appearance or your health and keep them off? Maybe you’re just feeling like you need more energy or don’t like the fact that you eat sugary snacks every afternoon. But you just can’t wrap your brain around living a life that seems to require deprivation?
Well let’s look at it from I different angle. Let’s adopt a point of view that may actually allow you to change things permanently. Let me help you change your thinking about this right now!!!
Like you, I love food. I love it in its raw form and I love cooking it. I love being around it. I love sharing it with people. I love talking about it, writing about it and eating it. I love hearing and seeing what food means to people. In fact, I am admittedly food obsessed and I am very happy with my relationship with food and the choices that I make daily. I haven’t been on a diet for over 13 years since I learned to change my thinking.
I also don’t like deprivation. In fact, little saddens me more than when people feel deprived either because they are counting carbs, calories or fat grams, trying to stick to a dictated eating plan or think that they “shouldn’t” be eating certain foods. I believe that food should give us pleasure. And little angers me more than people buying into the myth that eating food that will support your health means a boring, bland diet of grilled chicken with steamed vegetables or plain tofu and brown rice. Eating in a way that supports the way you want to look and feel doesn’t mean that you have to live with deprivation forever or that you can’t eat delicious food that you truly love.
So what’s the solution to deprivation if you want to improve your diet permanently? Change your focus. That’s right, change your mindset. Stop thinking about what makes you fat or thin and start think about what nourishes you.
Don’t fixate on what you can’t eat. Instead learn to eat new foods; real, whole foods. Get rid of the overly-refined “diet” foods that you may have been eating.
Start adding delicious and interesting produce, condiments and cooking techniques to the way you eat. Things like sweet beets drizzled with a little roasted walnut oil, creamy mashed sweet potatoes perhaps with a dash of cinnamon or ginger and crunchy kale chips made with sea salt. How about some spicy mustard greens sautéed with some sweet onions, leeks or garlic and a fresh wild arugula salad with sweet juicy pear, crunchy walnuts and salty Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dressed with a truffle vinaigrette. Sound interesting?
These kinds of foods will nourish your body, satisfy your palate and ultimately when you start eating these foods regularly instead of the overly- refined and chemically processed diet foods, you will also begin to lose your food cravings.
Be creative in the kitchen and don’t be afraid to make a mistake; add 1 or 2 new ingredients each week, and look to the best of nature for inspiration. Add texture to your dishes by adding nuts and seeds. Snack on a sweet and juicy mango or mash an avocado with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some sea salt as a dipping sauce for shrimp cocktail. Have fun with it. It isn’t difficult and you will benefit by feeling better, looking better and I am also willing to bet that you’ll be eating better tasting food than you can even imagine today.
Do you see how this one mindset shift (combined with some practical culinary tips) could make a difference in changing your permanent eating habits, ability to lose weight, keep it off and change your relationship with food for life?
Once you learn to think this way and begin to eat for nourishment, focusing on all the delicious foods you can eat, rather than what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat your changes will be lasting. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying eat beets and pumpkin seeds when you really want a cupcake, what I am saying is once you begin to THINK DIFFERENTLY and begin to eat beets and pumpkin seeds more often, you may find yourself wanting fewer cupcakes.
This is just one aspect of changing your thinking that can get you on the road to maintaining a healthy weight and creating the relationship that you want with food for the rest of your life. If you want to learn more send me an email and we can set up at time to talk OR consider joining me in my group program http://theconsciousplate.com/thinkyourselfthin where we will be looking at many more aspects of our thinking that sabotage our ability to lose and maintain weight and learning the tools to change them as well many practical tips for a life-long healthy and happy relationship with food.