I’ve seen people wage all-out wars with their food. They cut out anything and everything from their diet that brings them happiness.
They think there has to be some degree of suffering if they want to succeed at losing weight.
They slash calories to low levels and attempt to be perfect with their diet – feeling frustrated and resentful any time they have to turn down foods that bring them joy.
Through the use of sheer willpower most people can maintain this sabotaging mindset for a few weeks so long as they are losing weight. But if you see a higher number on the scale just one time your motivation and will to continue is zapped.
So what do you do?
Calories are There to Help, Not Hurt You
First things first – calories are not bad. They are there to help you with your weight loss. They are also there to help fuel your workouts, fuel your brain, and fuel your mental health.
Without calories you die. This may seem obvious, but so many people are walking around in a prolonged controlled starvation diet.
Their personality changes, they become more irritable, they become more lethargic, and they create an unhealthy relationship with food.
Hunger Shouldn’t Be the Underlying Feeling of Your Program
People get hungry. Hunger is a very natural signal that it’s time to eat. Yet people have become out of touch with their own hunger signals.
They eat when they aren’t hungry and they forego eating when they’re starving. As a result they gain weight because they overeat, and they lose no weight because their body has become extremely efficient with the limited calories it’s getting.
If you’ve ever wondered why someone can eat 1,000 calories/day and work out 6 days/week and not lose weight, that’s why. Your body will down-regulate its metabolism in an effort to conserve energy (fat).
Your might not want the fat on you, but your body does. And starving your body of calories is only going to make your body hold onto those energy reserves even stronger.
You have to feed the fat loss.
Eat For Fuel AND Pleasure
I used to believe that food was meant to be used as fuel for your body, and that was it. Eating for pleasure was a huge no-no and resulted in being overweight.
Waging this kind of war on food did nothing but create a binge-eating disorder.
Sure, I had my periods where I’d eat extremely clean – eating for nothing other than to fuel my body. But those periods would always be broken up by periods of bingeing.
Leaving pleasure out of my eating made me feel deprived. That deprivation was a spring that was just waiting to be let loose. And when it did, I made up for all the pleasure I withheld from myself.
You MUST find pleasure in your eating. It is one of the most important ingredients for creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
It’s what will create that instant gratification that’s necessary for fueling motivation. It’s what will help you create good eating habits for life.
If you don’t enjoy your food, change it. I don’t mean eating a bunch of garbage. Sure, fun foods can be included every day in small quantities. But the underlying theme of your diet should be delicious whole foods.
Get out there and experiment with new foods and recipes. I challenge my email subscribers to try one new food a week. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
Get back to loving healthy food because it makes you feel good. Get back to loving healthy food because it brings you pleasure.
Once you stop treating food as your enemy, you’re going to have a new best friend for life – one that will bring you health and happiness, and a body that reflects how you feel.