The relationship we have with food, determines how far we can go with our goals. The way we perceive food, the way we approach our nutrition plan, determines if we have results or if we are constantly spinning in an enchanted circle. Our attachments, determine our behavior and our choices, and in turn they determine our lifestyle.
We all go through this – we go on a diet that has a deadline. Something like a patch in our present lifestyle. We aren’t satisfied with how we look and how we feel about ourselves and we decide that we will go on a diet. We approach it as an exam – we need to follow the rules and allow no mistakes. We need to follow the template and if we change something, we feel as everything has gone to waste and that we haven’t passed the test. We approach diets as a recipe, where if you add another pinch of salt or pepper, or if you remove the butter, the result will never be tasty and satisfying. We program our mind, that we need to eat strict amounts of food, in a particular combination and if we do not do it, then we do not have enough will and we feel guilty, that we do not possess what we need in order to succeed.
I work with a lot of people and sometimes, when they happen to eat something that doesn’t count as healthy – either it is gonna be 5-10 fries, a piece of cake, or a couple bonbons and so forth, I usually receive a message that they are feeling ashamed or that they have failed the plan.
Women, often write how this week they have eaten foods they are not supposed to, because it is the time around their menstrual cycle and that they are mad that the monthly cycle coincides with the period when I am tracking their diet.
Other people say that it is just a period with more birthdays and that cakes and bonbons, as well as the frequent dinners in a restaurant are due to the celebrations and that they will be strict from Monday.
When I receive messages like that, I take the time to explain people my point of view and then I write down what they’ve shared, because I am well aware that a lot of people have a similar mindset. I know that a lot of people go through the same challenges.
A successful diet, can be achieved only when we realize that birthdays, our menstrual cycle, long working days, traveling, weekends, going out with friends are not a sporadic events, but a normal part of life. These are not events that rarely happen, but a part of our every day. For me, a successful diet plan is not the one that places you in “sterile conditions”, where you do not have any social contacts, where you are always in control of what you eat, where you do not leave the city, because you fear you are gonna blow the diet. The nutrition plan doesn’t start when your monthly cycle is over or when there is a month when no family member has a birthday.
The successful diet is when you do not follow a template but when you learn to understand better. When you know what are the things that make your body feel good and the things that help you progress and what are the things that always drag you back and bother your health and wellbeing.
Your goals could be achieved not when you aim to be perfect for a certain amount of time, that you will later compensate with binging and swimming with the current of emotions like guilt, shame and disappointment, but when you learn that sometimes you are gonna eat more and you will eat foods that you do not eat on a daily basis. They are not a sign of failing your diet. They are just temptations that everybody deserves to have from time to time. It is a part of life and it doesn’t stop you from achieving your goals. It becomes an obstacle, when it becomes your daily life, instead of an exception.
The successful diet plan is created, when words like “cheating”, “diversion”, “diet sin” are removed and are instead being substituted by “a choice”. We shouldn’t program our minds that there are good or bad foods. There are just foods that we choose most of the time, because we know that they make us feel good and foods that we choose sometimes with the knowledge and consciousness that the dose makes the poison.
Menstrual cycle, birthdays, unplanned social gatherings, traveling are just a part of life and a better strategy is to take the time to understand in which situations, what are the needs of the body and how we could provide the resources. Many women share that they have a stronger appetite the week before their menstrual cycle. Instead of listening to their bodies and increasing the portion sizes, they usually do the opposite – they limit the food intake even more and resist the body’s needs. This usually ends up in the supermarket, with a stroller full of chocolate and biscuits. If we approach the situation differently and if we know that every month, during the same time, the body needs more food, we could plan that. We could plan bigger portions and the increase could be from quality food, which will neither harm our goals, nor it is gonna push us into extremes.
In the other case, if we know that in certain situations, we have a stronger appetite for carbs and sweets, instead of resisting it and waiting to eat cakes and chocolate again, we could prepare a healthy dessert. A dessert that is still sweet, has a cocoa taste, but in the same time it contains enough protein and moderate amount of calories.
Going out with friends and having business meetings, are also not an exception but a daily part of life. Instead of starting a new nutrition plan from Monday ( every week), we could create the habit of choosing the foods on the menu, that allow us to go out with people, while still sticking to healthier options.
The successful diet is not the perfect diet, but the optimal one. In life, in every area, people succeed, when they manage to be flexible and when they adapt to changes – not when they try to impose their static model, to the ever changing environment.
Evolution proves it – it is only those that adapt the most, who finally survive. It is true for the nutrition plan. If you want to free your mind from starting over again and always being on a diet, yet never achieving anything, allow yourself to not be perfect. Observe your body and it will show you what it needs. The states of the body repeat and usually have the same cyclist nature. Track it and see on which stage what is it that you need to change in your nutrition – to increase the quantity; add more animal fats or to increase your carbs. These are the gentle settings and if you apply them on time, you won’t go into extremes.