It seems that the most appealing foods are those that are bad for us: chocolate ice cream, cream cheese, french fries, steak, barbecue ribs, pancakes, dinner rolls, and of course bacon. Yum!!!
Of course, I love all of those things! But generally, they are not good for us.
And yet we love them so much.
How can this be? Why?
Why do all the tasty foods have to be so bad for us?
And why does all the good food have to take so much time to prepare? It’s not fair!
I’ve been known to say such things.
How do we get around this?
It is because I am just like you in that I love to eat all kinds of foods that are not so great for me that I have developed a long list of strategies to deal with this conundrum.
I think it helps to divide those strategies into two groups: environment and mindset.
In order to get through this and to be able to lose weight, be healthy, AND enjoy our food, we have to tackle both of these areas very carefully.
You won’t be successful if you try to deal with one and not the other.
They are symbiotic and mutually perpetuating.
Most of us set up our environment for failure.
It’s not like we do it on purpose but if we are not intentional about it, the environment will get us every time.
When it comes to environment and food we have two tasks. One is that we have to learn how to make healthy foods extremely appealing. The other is to remove temptations.
How do we make healthy foods appealing?
Well, first we have to stop thinking of foods as “good” or “bad”. Like just stop.
Either the food is a food or it’s junk.
There is a lot of junk out there.
If something is a whole food then it doesn’t matter if it’s baby-back ribs, bacon, real cheese, or a slice of whole wheat sourdough bread. These are all food! They are not good or bad.
Some foods may be bad for YOU or good for YOU. But that comes down to the individual.
Ultra-processed foods are generally not really “food”. We may be conditioned to think of them as food but really they are not. So, yes, they are all “bad”.
Does that mean you never eat them? Not if you live on this earth. But recognizing them for what they are is important.
The good news is that there are tons of super tasty and appealing whole foods for your eating pleasure.
Get lots of those and fill your fridge with them. Shop on the periphery of your grocery store or better yet, buy directly from farmers.
Your kitchen should be stocked with lots of whole foods. This will make it easy for you to eat them when you are hungry.
I know it seems basic but you need to remove the junky things or you will be tempted.
If you are having a craving (which we can get rid of) and all you have is fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs, whole-fat natural dairy, legumes, and whole grains in your house well guess what? You are stuck eating whole foods!
Keep in mind that every food you have in your house is a result of a decision you or someone you live with made.
In order to have the foods that are tasty and healthy, you have to make the right decision at the right time.
And believe me, shopping at 6 PM after a long day of work or stress is NOT the right time.
Planning is key for setting up your environment for success. This means making your list ahead of time and when you are feeling positive and energized, not when you are tired or grumpy.
The same goes for shopping.
Don’t ever shop if you are tired, grumpy, overwhelmed, stressed, or drunk. (if you can avoid it). If you are any of those things just buy the bare minimum of what you need at the moment.
Save the big shopping trips for when you are at your best. And therefore you will make the best decisions.
If you are struggling to lose weight and want to discuss how to incorporate these strategies into your life, please set up a strategy call with me by clicking below.
The main thing that I want you to know about mindset, for now, is that we need to understand and embrace our human nature first.
Almost all diets fight against our nature.
They try to fit a round peg in a square hole. It just doesn’t work.
We do not want to suffer.
We do not want to be restricted or feel deprived.
We want our freedom.
We will gladly do things that we “want” to do but when we feel we “have” to do something we start to rebel.
We are resilient but we have to have a damn good reason for staying the course.
We are fickle creatures and we like shiny new objects but we will gladly stick with something if we are adequately motivated to do so.
We thrive on community and social interaction and we want so badly to be accepted. We do not want to be the weirdo in the corner munching on wheat bran or carrots.
So the best thing you can do to be successful is to work WITH your own human nature rather than against it.
If a way of eating requires that you are deprived, suffering, or feel restricted it is doomed for failure in most cases. At least for the long term (and that is where the real change happens).
If you are not sufficiently motivated wild horses can’t make you “eat healthy” or whatever else you are trying to do.
We, humans, crave excitement. We desire to be in that sweet spot just between danger and boredom. A boring diet just doesn’t cut it for most of us.
Not to say consistency is not important. We do crave rhythms and consistency. We are designed to be habitual creatures. But throwing in some surprise on a regular basis will keep us from being bored and therefore wanting to binge on Cheetos.
Sometimes we should eat Cheetos (or whatever junk that you desire sometimes). That way we keep it exciting. But we need to do so with intention. We can plan for making things exciting and different.
There is so much more I can say about mindset but the overarching wisdom is to follow your nature and to stop trying to work against it.
To help I have a few other blog posts I have done around mindset. All of them are ultimately ways to work WITH your human nature, thereby facilitating long-term success and sustainability.
Those are just a few to get you started.
Mindset is a biggie!
If you want to explore this further, we can chat.
I love strategizing around how to make weight loss doable, enjoyable, sustainable, and fun. Set up a call by clicking below.